How to throw the perfect ‘Friendsgiving’

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Friendsgiving is an attractive alternative for BYU students who are unable to go home to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Friendsgiving is a term that describes the gathering of friends to celebrate Thanksgiving, according to yourdictionary.com. Students may find this to be a creative replacement to the traditional family – celebrated holiday.

Social media has shown this to be a trendy Turkey Day option.

BYU senior Kevin Ung said Friendsgiving provides an opportunity for everyone to celebrate the holiday even when their families are not around and traveling home is not an option.

Kevin Ung and Emma Ogzewalla prepare a Friendsgiving meal in 2015. (Kevin Ung)
Kevin Ung and Emma Ogzewalla prepare a Friendsgiving meal in 2015. (Kevin Ung)

Ung and some of his friends decided to stay in Provo to have Friendsgiving together last year.

“Some students feel really awkward and like a burden when they go home with friends for the holidays,” Ung said. “I wanted to create an environment where friends could come together and not have to worry.”

Ung could not help but smile as he reflected on his past Friendsgiving experience.

“That was my first time cooking a turkey and it went really well,” Ung said. “We actually went and delivered these meals to others who were home alone. Everything went perfectly.”

He suggested putting adequate preparation into cooking the food and the event as a whole for those who want to throw their own Friendsgiving dinners.

Making the food

Planning a large meal is often viewed as a cumbersome task, according to BYU student and author of food blog ‘Sourdough Sunday‘ Gretta Warner.

“Making a meal honestly does not need to be stressful,” Warner said. “Just get everything prepared ahead of time and you will be totally fine.”

Warner said there are multiple ways to simplify traditional Thanksgiving recipes to make them more casual and easy for the average college student.

“I think a traditional thanksgiving meal usually includes turkey, potatoes, gravy and pie. Definitely pie,” Warner said.

Gretta Warner prepares a thanksgiving dish. (Gretta Warner)
Gretta Warner prepares a thanksgiving turkey in a crockpot. She said this is an easy way for students to make a Friendsgiving turkey. (Gretta Warner)

Warner developed three fool-proof recipes for slow cooker turkey, simple gravy and five ingredient pumpkin pie in an effort to help students have more successful Friendsgivings.

“My number one cooking tip when preparing food for guests is to taste everything as you’re making it,” Warner said. “Read the recipe all the way through before beginning, time everything out and most importantly have fun in the kitchen.”

Preparation and decoration

Missy Ogwin and Tessa Roberts of Sage and Thistle Events, an event planning company in Provo, said one of the most important parts of Friendsgiving is the planning.

“You need to know how many people are coming and plan your space accordingly,” Roberts said. “Think about if people will be standing, sitting or eating, because each of these activities take up different amounts of space.”

Ogwin also said it is very important to have guests RSVP a few days before the event so the host can know what to expect.

Roberts said the next step is planning what the guests are to do after food and space has been attended to.

“You don’t want people getting bored partway through the event,” Roberts said. “I suggest that you divide things up ahead of time and have some guests bring games so that everyone can get to know one another. This will take some of the stress off you and keep everyone occupied.”

Ogwin suggests finding natural elements such as branches or leaves to to use as a centerpiece to add another touch of home to Friendsgiving. While candles are a Thanksgiving classic, Ogwin recommends adding more to the table to spice it up.

Ung said the most successful part of Friendsgiving is providing an opportunity for everyone to belong.

“It is not fun to be by yourself for Thanksgiving,” Ung said. “This way everyone gets to celebrate the holiday.”

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