A Feast for Friends—Host a Thanksgiving Meal of Your Own

The only thing more uncomfortable than drinking alone may be dining alone. Perhaps a quiet meal all by your lonesome is a treat every once in a while. But most of the time it’s the company that brings out the flavor in your food. With the upcoming holidays we’ve turned our attention to what may be the most difficult meal to eat alone: this week’s Thanksgiving feast.

Thanksgiving is traditionally a meal shared between families. But for many people a trip home isn’t financially possible. Or maybe it sounds like a complete nightmare. Finally: for some, friends are the only family they’ve got.

That’s why we thought it appropriate for the lonesome diners in our midst to toss up a white flag—or a napkin—and join their friends for Thanksgiving.

Partner up with your pals if you don’t have dinner plans this Thursday. Host a Friendsgiving that will make each of your dining partners thankful.

Off-Kilter Cooking
The best part about Friendsgiving is that it’s a nontraditional take on a distinctly traditional holiday. Since you’re hosting an unusual group of diners for the Thanksgiving meal, serve unusual food too. Try a bold theme featuring Mexican or Italian flavors and your guests won’t think twice about missing home.

Food Fear
May we make a little suggestion? Back away from the stove on your first stint as a Friendsgiving host. Each of your dining partners has a different idea of their favorite meal, and everyone associates different food with the family members they miss. So instead of stuffing a turkey in your teensy tiny apartment oven—go out on the town together.

Or, if you’d rather stay in so you can serve the food on your grandmother’s china, cater your Thanksgiving meal. You’ll escape the risk of cooking for a crowd with high expectations and you’ll all eat well. Sounds like a happy Thanksgiving to us.

Go Set the Table
The beauty of trusting a chef to cook the Meal of the Year for you and your Friendsgiving guests is that it frees you up to concentrate on the rest of the party. If you’re staying in, put some effort into your pad. Create place settings with small pumpkins or gourds your guests can take home as a favor. A vase filled with branches, acorns or pinecones will make a beautifully seasonal and inexpensive centerpiece. Light candles, iron cloth napkins and polish your best silverware.

As for the names on your place cards, invite whomever you suspect doesn’t have Thanksgiving plans. Don’t hesitate to mix people you know from different places. Think classmates, neighbors in your building and even the barista who casually mentioned he was new in town (couldn’t hurt). The people at your Thanksgiving party will be grateful for new friends and new traditions made on their first Friendsgiving.