We've all been there: Up to your ears in midterms and papers that you have no motivation left for, you’re counting down the days, hours and minutes until Thanksgiving break. It’s time to abandon this seemingly endless countdown, because you can throw a Friendsgiving in your dorm right now to get yourself into the holiday spirit.
Considering the wide variety of dorm room types—from the summer camp-esque Gonzaga forced triple to a spacious Mod—what works for one Friendsgiving may not work for the others. So the first tip is this: If you are in a double or a triple, find a friend who lives in a six- or eight-man to host the Friendsgiving, because the only thing you’ll be able to fit in your double is a turkey sandwich. If that.
Those of you in a dorm with a kitchenette are probably going to need to find a friend with an oven. Make use of a communal kitchen somewhere on campus (shout-out to the Shaw House) or rely on Jell-O, salads and other things you can prepare without an oven. Never forget that takeout is always a fallback option.
If you are one of the lucky ones with an oven, you first have to decide on what type of Friendsgiving you want to hold. If you’re going with the most traditional of celebrations, someone will have to cook a turkey. If you have the time, money and expertise to prepare a turkey, you are above and beyond what is expected of any college Friendsgiving already.
Can’t (or don’t want to) cook a turkey? No problem at all, as your friends will be eating their weight in turkey at their family Thanksgivings in less than a week. You also have the option of buying pre-cooked cuts of turkey at Whole Foods—though they may be pricey, they're foolproof.
A simpler version of Friendsgiving is to cook something less complicated, like a chicken. Or even less complicated, like spaghetti. Or even less complicated, like takeout. As you likely know, time and cooking skills are in short supply around here, and there is no shame in relying on a quick and simple meal to enjoy with your friends in preparation for the food marathon of the next week.
If you do go with an actual home cooked meal, such as a chicken, the key is to make it potluck style rather than one person doing everything. One person can attend to the chicken, one person can prepare the potatoes, one person can make the salad, one can cook the rolls and the rest can bring the desserts.
Lots of desserts are crucial to a good Friendsgiving spread, because it is doubtful that you novice college chefs will be able to pull off turkey/chicken/potatoes at a quality that holds up to Grandma’s standards. Pies are a general favorite at Thanksgiving and Friendsgiving alike, but White Mountain and Mike’s Pastries are always acceptable substitutes.
Remember to spread the responsibilities throughout the friend group. This division of food and labor is crucial so that no one person does too much work and no one person bears too much of the financial burden. This will only breed resentment, and there is no place for resentment in your Friendsgiving atmosphere.
Atmosphere brings me into the next aspect of the perfect Friendsgiving: the decor. If you’ve got the time and the will, you can go all out with the cornucopia, turkey figurines, etc., but these fancy decorations can be expensive and time consuming. Some colored leaves from the yard of your mod will work just as well to brighten up the display, and if the food is good enough no one will give a second thought to the fact that there are dead leaves scattered across the dinner table.
If you and your roommates are feeling really artsy, you can trace your hands and make them into turkeys like you did back in the first grade. If you’ve still got some pumpkins lying around from the Halloween season, throw those on the table as well, and you’re well on your way to the perfect Friendsgiving atmosphere.
More good news about atmosphere-building is that you don’t have to dress up. If you and your friends are very ambitious, of course you can all agree to throw on your Sunday best, but there is no obligation to do so. No disapproving aunts are here to judge and no grandmas will be let down if you show up in a t-shirt. Your friends have seen you at your worst, so they’re used to your unshowered-in-sweatpants style. And besides, you all know that you can eat more Friendsgiving dinner in your sweatpants than in your jeans. It’s just science.
The last component of the perfect Friendsgiving atmosphere is the friends part. As you all sit down to the delicious chicken and mashed potatoes that you collectively slaved over (or the food from Eagle’s Deli that you resorted to to spare your sanity), be sure to take in the full fun of the holiday. After all, it is the only Thanksgiving you will get to attend this year where no one asks you about what you’re doing after graduation, how your grades are or why you didn’t bring a significant other along, so embrace it. Put your phone away (not to sound like your disapproving family members who "don't get" technology), and be sure to enjoy the full company of those you have been so lucky to find here at BC.
Whatever you do, do not forget the tradition of going around the table and saying something that you’re thankful for. Of all the suggestions in this article, this one is by far the most important, as gratitude is the essence of Friendsgiving. Well, gratitude and overeating.
It doesn’t have to be anything big or impressive. It can be as simple as "I'm thankful for elevators so I don’t have to take the Million Dollar Stairs," or "I'm thankful that ResLife has yet to find my contraband mattress topper." If you’re feeling really sentimental, you can tell the people gathered around the table that you’re thankful for them, too. Friendsgiving is the one time that you set aside the mounting pile of stressors and focus on the things you are lucky to have in your life, starting with your friends.
So remember: Keep it simple and soak up the moments of relaxing friend time before the panic of finals is upon you. Remember to be present, remember to be grateful and remember to call for delivery food if all else fails.