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The joy of Friendsgiving

November 19, 2014
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For many of us, 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.

For instance, my friends Thom and Kate have hosted an annual Friendsgiving celebration at their home for the past several years. The standard modus operandi is to cook a pair of enormous turkeys and outsource the rest of the spread to the guests. Thanks to an invite list of considerable size, the end result is a well-stocked, well-rounded feast that features plenty of traditional Thanksgiving favorites (as well as the occasional surprise).

And then? Why, we eat, drink and make merry.

I can't really say just how many people attended this most recent soiree I wouldn't be at all surprised to learn that 50 or more made appearances over the course of the evening but I can say that as always, it was a wonderful mix. Friends and friends of friends and their friends as well; all of us coming together to enjoy one another.

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. Thom and Kate once again gave us that excuse.

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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