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Finding Friendsgiving

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For many people, Thanksgiving is a beloved tradition. It's a chance to come together with our families and express our gratitude for the good things in our lives. It's also a chance to jam as much delicious food into our faces as we can.

But while Thanksgiving is usually about being surrounded by relatives, what about our chosen family? What about those people who we have welcomed into our worlds of our own volition, those people whose presence we have deliberately sought out over the years?

Well that's why we have Friendsgiving.

Friendsgiving or whatever you might choose to call it is all about finding a time to gather with our friends to celebrate the same things that we share with our families on Thanksgiving. Maybe it's a group of people whose circumstances prevent them from spending the holiday at home. Or maybe it's just a bunch of folks who want to take advantage of the celebratory spirit in the presence of their friends before/after they do the family thing.

Every Friendsgiving is different. Some choose to put forth the traditional spread. Others opt for more of a potluck situation. Still others celebrate by packing up the leftovers from their familial Thanksgiving and come together to share them with friends. There's no wrong way to do it if you're coming together to enjoy one another, you've nailed it.

Another of the many joys of Friendsgiving is that it offers a chance to see those friends who have ventured farther afield. Seeing those still-familiar faces for the first time in a long timewell, that's what Friendsgiving is all about. In this age of ubiquitous social media, we all stay connected to a certain extent, but there's nothing like hugging an old friend and hearing how they're doing in their own voice. As we get older, life carries us in differing directions; sometimes, we need an excuse to gather Friendsgiving is the perfect such excuse.

And if you can't come together, wellso what?

I myself won't actually be participating in any Friendsgiving festivities this year. My wife and I are doing two separate Thanksgivings one on the day itself and one two days later but circumstances have left us without a Friendsgiving to attend this year. It's not a huge deal it certainly doesn't diminish my affection for the tradition. If anything, the opposite is true. I'll have plenty of opportunity to give thanks over the course of this segment of the season, but a part of me will definitely miss the eating-drinking-merriment that comes with Friendsgiving.

Not that I'll let that stop me from finding some way to celebrate, and nor should you. Even if there's no physical location devoted to a Friendsgiving gathering, you can still find ways to embrace the spirit of the thing. For instance, some of my friends who won't be around this year should probably expect a few mashed potato-smeared photos or a rambling voicemail rendered incomprehensible by a combination of drink and a mouth jammed full of stuffing.

Family means different things to different people. Heck, sometimes it can mean different things to the same person. For many of us, our friends are just as much our family as anyone with whom we share blood. In the end, one thing is for certain - in the season of giving thanks, there are few things that warrant that thankfulness as much as friendship.

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