Holidays have always been my favorite time of year. Gathered with siblings, parents, nieces, and nephews eating our favorite traditional foods, watching football, visiting with family you haven’t seen in a year, and sometimes simply doing absolutely nothing together. It’s a comfort you don’t realize you take for granted until life changes. What happens when “gathering around the turkey” looks different? What if work gets in the way or you had to move away from family? Life can get in the way of things being “traditional.” But like the old adage states: life is what you make of it. Even seasons that could feel lacking or different have beautiful opportunity hidden inside them. Therein lies the Friendsgiving. Here are a few tips to get you started on the right foot.

  1. First, find friends. Chances are there are other people you know who are on their own this Thanksgiving. Neighbors are always great to invite too!
  2. Plan out your meal. Make sure it’s age appropriate: baby boomers want those casseroles; the 30+ group wants that free-range, farm-raised turkey; millennials need those vegan, sugar-free, gluten-free, soy-free, hormone-free, MSG-free dishes; and for everyone else, you can never go wrong with mac and cheese.
  3. Be sure your Costco or Sam’s Club membership is up to date for that hefty shopping list.
  4. Plan the dinner time around the golden hour for the best natural light and perfect Instagram photo of your dinner spread.
  5. Be sure your dinner attire includes a flexible waistband for the extra pumpkin pie you may devour.
  6. Set the mood for your guests with a great playlist.
  7. Have a list of engaging questions prepared for your guests to stimulate conversation. This is especially great for guests you may not know very well. Just don’t ask them while they have a mouthful of potatoes.
  8. Make sure you have games ready for your competitive guests who are inexplicably still awake after all that turkey.
  9. Turn on the Dallas Cowboys game for your hopelessly optimistic friends.
  10. Last but not least, post those dinner photos on social media! Tag friends to remember the good times, and don’t forget those hashtags. #blessed #sograteful #friendsgiving #goodtimes

Take the opportunity this holiday season to be intentional, and be the family, fun, and comfort to someone else and invite them into a new tradition!