Everyone goes home for Turkey Day -- it's like a law, right? Well, if you're an urban-area transplant, that's become less and less the norm. Airfare's expensive. The economy's in the tank, and with people getting married later and later in life, we're spending more years without in-law obligations.
But just because you're not going home doesn't mean you should spend Thanksgiving on the couch with a Hot Pocket. What many people will do this year is celebrate a "Friendsgiving" -- a holiday meal with assorted pals who are in the same situation.
"In big cities especially, friends become a supplemental family," says Paul Dobransky, M.D., author of "The Power of Female Friendship
: How Your Circle of Friends Shapes Your Life." "It can be comforting and non-stressful to spend holidays with them."
If you don't have a Friendsgiving meal lined up, just follow our simple tips for throwing a kickass holiday event.
Invite Anyone and Everyone
"Two years ago, I spent the day totally alone watching the parade and drinking wine. So last year I invited a boatload of people, and it made for such a warm, fun day," says Sarah, 29. Put the word out that you're hosting dinner at your place, and extend invitations to everyone -- from your BFF to the neighbor who you're on really good terms with to the co-workers you talk to all day. Not only will it be more lively, you'll make so many people feel happy and loved.
Click here for more fun Turkey Day tips.Delegate Tasks
It's not fun if you're stressed about cooking. So tell guests you'll make (or buy) the turkey, and assign everyone else something to bring, from side dishes to dessert. Put the non-cooks in charge of things like paper plates, rolls, soda and alcohol. "Every year, my guy friends throw what we call 'Funksgiving.' I live near an amazing bakery, so they put me in charge of pie. And my boyfriend sucks in the kitchen, so he brings plastic silverware and cups," says Stephanie, 25. Make It Your Own
Since you're not in your mom's house, you don't have to follow her rules -- like dressing up or wearing your hair a certain way. So start your own cool ritual, like providing frosting for people to decorate their own sugar cookies or buying a huge white tablecloth and having everyone sign it with Sharpies. Or take a cue from Kate, 32: "Since everyone eats so damn much, we decided to make it a rule that everyone has to wear pajamas. That way we don't feel constricted by dressy clothing and can go back for second and third helpings of food."
Set Your Own Menu
Another bonus to skipping the family to-do -- you don't have to eat, say, cranberry sauce if you freaking hate it. Set your own menu that uses elements of T-Day classics in a way all can enjoy: think Wild Turkey cocktails, pumpkin ravioli, turkey tacos, etc.Keep Some Traditions
Since some guests will likely be a bit bummed that they're not with family, make an effort to incorporate some sort of holiday tradition into your own feast. For example, try what Lisa, 26 does: "Growing up, we always played flag football in the yard after eating. So, I organized a trip to a park near my apartment so my friends and I could do the same." Invite everyone attending to bring a ritual they'd like to keep alive, whether it's a traditional dish or saying a prayer before the meal.Tell us!
Leave a comment to tell us how you and your pals make Friendsgiving special.