This year we’ve been talking a lot about navigating the holidays in more traditional or conventional settings. Given that the world continues to change considerably and the 1950s vision of a nuclear family applies less and less, we thought we’d also try and make a blog addressing other groups. A reality for many millennials and younger generations is that being working professionals in this current cultural climate means they are cut off from family during the holidays, sometimes in another major city than where they grew up. We’re talking about the people who are away from family and have orphan Thanksgivings… or Friendsgiving as the kids call it. So! Grab a grocery store pumpkin pie and some affordable Prosecco, ‘cause we’re a bunch of wayward professionals and bohemian types banding together for one of the most fun Thanksgivings imaginable!
Let’s assume you’re not hosting the festivities. Bring something. Check with the host and see what they don’t have covered and bring it. Part of the charm of Friendsgiving is that people who are not bound by blood can band together to recreate a warm meal. This means everyone does a little that adds up to a lot. And remember, the host is not your mom or your grandma, they are your friend who has no obligation to like you if you act like an ungrateful freeloader. Even if it’s a close friend. Even if this person considers you found family. Even if they told you they had all the food covered, bring something. Don’t need any more food dishes? Bring alcohol! Nobody else drinks (that seems unlikely, but let’s say there are no drinkers in this motley crew)? Bring cookies or giftbags of candy or something! Even if it’s unnecessary, bring something for your own peace of mind. Also, there is totally a list of Leaner Creamer cocktail recipes in another blog entry… just sayin’!
This goes a long way to recreating a family/holiday atmosphere. It can be a traditional board game, or charades, or something on Jackbox. It can also be one of those vulgar adult card games that are actually kind of designed for this crowd. You could also watch a movie. Or you could just chill out and talk and enjoy everyone’s company. Totally fine. You can always bring an activity and not use.
- If you drink, don’t drive
This one seems obvious, but it also bears repeating this time of year. If you drink, don’t drive. There are also lots of options and ways to plan this out so that you don’t. You can have a designated driver. You can arrange it with the host to sleep on their floor or couch. The rise of rideshare apps have also given you a plethora of backup options. There are lots of ways to avoid doing it and at the end of the day, regardless of the cost of an Uber, it’s worth it compared to the risk of getting behind the wheel when you shouldn’t.
- Remember to stay on track… maybe
We at Leaner Creamer are very big on the whole healthy living thing. This is yet another holiday occasion in which you will be tempted to overindulge. That’s not always a great call if you’re trying to maintain health goals, but in some ways this isn’t the worst time to eat or drink a little too much. Often when we get into ruts of overindulgence over the holidays it is because we are in places we don’t live where we are not tied into our usual routines. If you’re doing a Friendsgiving and going to work on Monday as usual, it might not take much to get you back into your “business as usual” routine where you maintain yourself and your fitness goals. This, as usual, is subjective and will depend on your own personal limits, but it’s certainly worth keeping in mind.
So, we’re taking the stance that Friendsgiving is a great time and this is how to make it better. That can be true a lot of the time, but this can also be a rough time of the year for many. Maybe the host is stressed out from planning a big meal. Maybe one of your friends is feeling homesick since they usually spend this time of year with family. Maybe somebody’s relationship with their parents is so fraught they can’t go home for the holidays and this time of year always reopens that wound for them. There are all sorts of reasons your friends who you are spending Friendsgiving with might not be having the best of times; try to respect that and offer them support if you can. So, often a kind gesture like that, however small, can be the thing that changes a person in someone’s eyes from friend to family.