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Friendsgiving: Where friends are like family

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Courtesy Tribune News Service

By Mike Balmer – Collegiate Staff

The holidays each year, beginning with Thanksgiving, are a time to gather together with loved ones.

For many, the holidays are a great way to escape the pressures of too-busy lives, if only for an afternoon. For others, the holidays are a stressful time, full of travel and responsibilities.

In 2010, my parents moved from Michigan, to the state of Wyoming, which drastically changed the way that I spend holidays. Growing up, my family was very holiday oriented. We would gather together every year, cooking food and generally spending time as a family. After my parents moved, my holidays became very different. I was no longer able to make the trip to see my parents, and more often than not, I would find a friend whose family would welcome me into their celebrations. While it was never the same as being with my family, I would often find myself overwhelmed by the welcoming nature of my friends and their family, and I always had a great time.

There are a lot of students like me, with families that live in different states, or even countries. While I am fortunate, and will be able to make the trip this year, that hasn’t been the case in the past. Distance presents a problem for quite a few students, and on top of that, more and more businesses are asking employees to work the holidays. Obstacles such as these, and more, can get in the way of making it to those annual family celebrations.

Enter Friendsgiving. Friendsgiving is a new type of holiday, that has grown in popularity and become tradition to many. Friendsgiving, or as my friends say Thanksfriendsmas, is a holiday party for friends. It’s a perfect holiday for those of us whose families are made up of more than flesh and blood relations.

Organizing a Friendsgiving party is a great way to gather together, in a stress-free environment, with friends that mean the most. It can be as easy as finding a time that works for everyone (it doesn’t have to be on the holiday), deciding a host, and finally assigning a dish for each guest to bring.

In my group of friends, we usually find a date between Thanksgiving and Christmas, which is why we call our party Thanksfriendsmas. Combining holidays creates even more opportunity for fun. We bring together a feast, drink eggnog, and do a white elephant gift exchange.

If you have a hard time making it to your family’s holiday celebrations, or if you just want to have an excuse to eat another holiday meal, talk to your friends about making Friendsgiving a part of your holiday plans.