Three fun ways to celebrate Friendsgiving

By HANNAH MELTON | November 10, 2016

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BRENNA VIA FLICKR cc-by-2.0 Few things can beat a dinner shared with friends, whether it’s home-cooked or out on the town.

Thanksgiving break is fast approaching. With many students leaving the Thursday or Friday before, this weekend is likely your best shot at doing a “Friendsgiving” before everyone scatters to the winds. Here, we give you some suggestions on how to build the perfect Friendsgiving based on your personal #squadgoals.

For the DIY types:

You’re authentic. You love homemade jams, frequent the farmers’ market every weekend and cannot WAIT to bake that newest Pinterest pie recipe. Maybe you’re into building things or making cards or just really love quirky antique shops where you can buy old decor that needs a bit of sprucing.

You’re in luck — Friendsgiving is the perfect opportunity to tell your pals you’re grateful to them for putting up with your incessant watching of Tasty videos on YouTube and insistence that everyone dress up for high tea.

Start by building your menu. The New York Times food section offers an incredible array of holiday recipes, and their “Build Your Feast” option lets you pull together mains, sides and pies to match the culinary needs of your guests, making it easy to feed that vegetarian friend well this holiday.

The NYT knows you could use a refresher (or just plain lesson) on how to best roast brussels sprouts or make cranberry sauce. The “Cooking Guide” videos at the bottom of the site are invaluable. Find these and more at cooking.nytimes.com/thanksgiving.

After you’ve picked the perfect dishes, design your table. Harken back to the days of juvenile bliss with paper chains in warm leaf colors or cut out a few turkeys you made by tracing your hand. Need a table cloth? Hit up Goodwill. Some holiday hokey or heavily laced cloth will do.

Place markers are key to a classy affair: Design some small autumnal table tents with your guests’ names on them. Want to get really into it? Pick up some twine or pretty ribbon to tie it around wine (or sparkling cider) glasses. And, of course, don’t forget a few strategically placed candles for ambiance. Your friends will sing your praises even at their family Thanksgiving dinner.

For the atypical types:

You’re progressive, tend to question authority and hate cheesy holidays. Sick of the old turkey-and-pie routine, the one thing you’re really looking forward to over break is not having to do your laundry and catching up on Netflix documentaries you’ve missed. Never fret: You too can enjoy a nice Friendsgiving, sans-squash and all.

There are a few ways you can approach this depending on A) how much money you want to spend, B) how much time you have and C) how big your stomach is. For those on a bit more of a budget, create a list of restaurants with cuisine you’ve never tried: Malaysian, Ethiopian, Polish, Greek, Peruvian or Thai; whatever sounds weird and exciting. From there, use a random number generator to pick which one you’ll feast at with friends.

If money is no issue (or you just want to #treatyoself), pick several places. Go to one for apps and a drink for the 21+ crowd, the next for your mains and the final for a dessert destination. You’ll see a lot of the city and enjoy some unique new foods with great friends. It’s a lovely way to show you’re thankful for them putting up with your constant complaints about the lack of variety on St. Paul Street.

For the altruistic ones: 

You go to a good school and you know it. Thanksgiving is one of your favorite times of year because you really are thankful for everything you have. You tend to spend part of the holiday volunteering with your family, friends, church group or scout troop and would love to share this experience with your Hopkins squad.

Gather the team one morning and head out for a day of giving back. Baltimore has many volunteer opportunities across the city. Places like Manna House, Beans & Bread and Our Daily Bread are constantly looking for extra hands.

Our Daily Bread is especially in need of volunteers during their weekday breakfast shifts. No Friday class? All it takes to get involved is a simple email sent to volunteerodbec@cc-md.org.

Religious institutions not your style? Don’t fret. The Maryland Food Bank is also seeking help and offers a simple web application for individuals and groups to sign up for volunteer slots. Simply search “MD Food Bank Baltimore Volunteer” or email volunteer@mdfoodbank.org for more information.

However you spend Friendsgiving, whether up to your elbows in casseroles, exploring exciting new eateries, serving hot food at a soup kitchen or just hanging out, enjoy some time this weekend with those who make Hopkins feel like home.

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