Friendsgiving tradition sparks strong bond among friend groups

Student prepares donuts to bring to Friendsgiving celebration. Kenneth Prabhakar | Photographer

By Lily Nussbaum | Staff Writer

Whether students plan on traveling home or staying in Waco for a week of food and football, Friendsgiving dinners provide an opportunity to celebrate and share a meal with loved ones.

According to a Delish article, the term Friendsgiving dates back to 2007, but its popularity may be attributed to the TV show “Friends.” Either way, it’s an unofficial holiday meant to celebrate Thanksgiving with friends before the actual holiday is spent with family members.

College Station sophomore Hannah Brick said her celebration of Friendsgiving has varied from year to year. Since her group lived in a residence hall last year, they decided to eat at a restaurant. This year, since they are living in an apartment, she said she is excited to make her own food and host a traditional dinner.

“I think it just shows a different kind of level of love almost,” Brick said. “I am sacrificing my time for you because I love you and I care about you.”

When planning her Friendsgiving, Brick said there are some essentials: “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving,” mismatched plates and cutlery, Sister Schubert’s yeast rolls and The Mix Cafe mango Sprite, endearingly described as the “house drink.” She said all of these aspects create the perfect atmosphere for camaraderie.

“Especially being in college, I have come to be very thankful of friends,” Brick said. “I really, really want to make sure that the people that I love know that I love them and know that they are cared for.”

Houston junior Maali LaFrance said she sees cooking as an outlet to show her friends how much she cares for them. Since the Super Bowl in February, she said she has cooked meals for her friend group every Sunday.

“My kind of love language is acts of service, and one of the things I do love to do to destress and get away from pre-med is to cook,” LaFrance said. “It combines two of my favorite things.”

Because of her love for serving others through cooking, LaFrance said she took on all of Friendsgiving dinner by herself last year. However, she said she is expecting a bigger turnout this year.

LaFrance said she decided to enlist others to bring food items, but she has staked a claim on a particular dish: macaroni and cheese. Her mother developed the recipe when she moved to the United States from Kenya. She said she gets to share a piece of traditional southern African-American Thanksgiving with her friends through the dish.

“They are like connected to a piece of me that they probably wouldn’t ever been exposed to,” LaFrance said. “It just feels nice knowing that I’m sharing something people wouldn’t be able to get otherwise.”

Oxford, Md., sophomore Olivia Hershey said she is an avid partaker in the holiday and plans on contributing her own special dish. She said she has taken her recipe — cheesy potato casserole — from one of her hometown friends.

“It’s kind of like a full-circle moment,” Hershey said. “I get to share it will all of my friends together, even though they don’t know each other.”

In addition to sharing a meal, Hershey said her friend group plans to have a theme to guide their outfits: “cheugy 2017.” She said this new tradition will continue for years to come.

When creating her Evite, Brick said it is essential to get it on people’s calendars early. Those who will be attending and bringing something need a headcount to determine how much of their dish they need and when to block out time for the event.

“Getting to know one another better just is something that can be really hard without setting aside designated time,” Brick said. “I like the idea of making friendship important.”