It’s go time everyone. We are finally in one of the best and most festive times of year.
I absolutely love this time of year. I have a huge extended family (5 sets of aunts and uncles, each with 2-6 kids and now those kids having their own kids… you get the picture) and we would always, ALWAYS gather for thanksgiving and Christmas at my grandparents’ house. It was complete chaos and it was amazing. As all of the grandchildren and great grandchildren have started to grow up, there have been less and less around the table each year, myself included. This was mostly due to family moving away and needing to split time with significant others. I was lucky enough to be able to go home for Thanksgiving and Christmas during college in Rochester due to the hefty amounts of time given in between quarters and the proximity to my parents’ home (about a 4 hour drive which was incredibly manageable).
When I moved to NYC about 3 years ago (and thus increasing travel time to a 7 hour drive or an expensive plane ticket where my parents would then have to drive another 3 hours away just to pick me up just for a few days), time with family came to a screeching halt. I was now in my first full time job out of college and while I got Thanksgiving off, I had to be back into work the next morning 9am no exceptions.
Long story short, I wasn’t able to go home and ended up eating a nice dinner with a friend in the city. When Christmas rolled around, I was able to go home for a very few precious days. As you might have guessed, I’m an extrovert who thrives on the chaos of 30 people crammed into a tiny house. For me, the city began to feel like a very cold and lonely place amplified by the massive holiday cheer and families out celebrating with each other. It began to feel like a constant reminder of everything I had given up to follow my dreams and become successful in one of the greatest cities in the world.
I started to notice that more and more of my friends who had also relocated to the city weren’t able to go home either due to time or money constraints as well and having similar thoughts and feelings. As I consider most of these people to be extremely close friends (even family) I knew that something had to be done and it was time to pick up the planner and start organizing.
A date is chosen every year so that it will work with as many friends schedules as possible. Anyone and everyone who is looking for some holiday festivities are welcomed (friends of friends too!). The only requirement of Friendsgiving/Friendsmas is to bring a side and beverage to share with the group. The main course (usually roast) and some beverages are provided by the hosts which rotates every year (typically between myself and another who lives in Manhattan). The rotation of apartments usually benefits both the hosts (cleaning can be a pain) and the attendees. We have friends in 4 of the 5 boroughs (and a few outside of the city) and getting from Brooklyn to Manhattan might take 40 mins, getting from Brooklyn to Queens could take upwards of an hour.
While waiting for people to arrive, we get the tree out and decorate and share holiday traditions. The whole event usually lasts between 5-8 hours and no one is required to show up on time or leave late. There have even been a few events where we have gone out to bars after clean up (to be honest, this is not recommended the older you and your friend group gets… the two day hangover is real people).
This year, we are able separate the two events into Friendsgiving and Friendsmas because of timing, coordination and wanting everyone from out of town to participate in at least one event. I can barely contain my excitement. While we had a great turnout last year, this year we are expecting to have at least double (if not triple) the group we had last year! My biggest priority is that my friends in and around the city know they have a family to celebrate the holidays with.
Do you celebrate Friendsgiving?
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