June 24, 2019 | 72° F

A college student's guide to planning a fun, wallet-friendly Friendsgiving

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The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of “Friendsgiving” is how successfully the “Friends” cast members executed their Thanksgiving celebration year after year in their shared New York City apartment. As the “Friends” gang demonstrates, reflecting on how much you enjoy each other’s company is the ultimate goal when planning a Friendsgiving. 

It is a chance to have Thanksgiving with all the friends you love and are thankful for while sitting around the table sharing laughs and memories. If your friends are back home from their colleges, this is a great time to catch up on each other’s lives and to share the memories you created while at Rutgers.

A successful Friendsgiving can be accomplished by following a few easy steps. Check out the guide below for inspiration on how to create the perfect, college budget-friendly Friendsgiving. Whether you are staying in your dorm or heading home for the holiday, this should be an affordable, stress-free celebration.

  1. Make it a potluck dinner. Having the pressure of buying multiple ingredients and creating dishes that everyone will enjoy is stressful. It is also time consuming since most of us have classes, clubs or jobs to attend. By letting each person create their own dish, it creates a diverse and unique Friendsgiving meal. 
  2. Do not forget to DIY. College is a time when everyone is on a budget, which can make buying seasonal decorations that will only be used once seem like a chore. Try making things with items around your house or dorm and draw pictures and signs that you can hang up on the wall. This will provide a welcoming vibe in your space. 
  3. Use nature. Rutgers in the fall is a great place to get some fresh air. If you want accessible and free decorations, try going outside and collecting colorful leaves. With the help of Mother Nature, you can create a decorative wall piece that will look like it cost $20, yet actually costs nothing.
  4. Do not worry about the turkey. Instead, try replacing turkey with a different meat such as chicken. The fun part about Friendsgiving is that it's separate from the traditional holiday spent with family, so it's not necessary to conform to classic Thanksgiving dishes such as turkey. If you are feeling daring, maybe do an “Around the World” Friendsgiving that includes menu items that reflect each person's heritage. Not only is this a great way to get to know each other, it's also a reason to try out amazing cuisines from different cultures.
  5. If you are more of the traditional type, the classic mashed potatoes and stuffing are essential to a Friendsgiving dinner. If you're staying on campus for your crew's celebration, finding these items may be hard if you do not know where to look. If you are willing spend some money, there are various supermarkets right off of Route 1 such as Trader Joe's and Target, both of which often have great holiday deals.
  6. Dessert is everyone's favorite part of a holiday meal. Even if you feel stuffed, there is always room for a warm cookie or a slice of pumpkin pie. There are many easy ways to create fun desserts with just a few items in your dorm or home. For example, baking cupcakes can be easily done if you have an oven in your apartment or lounge. If you have some chocolate, you can create unique DIYS with different types of candy and snacks. Or, you can easily take an Uber to the store and buy a classic apple pie. 
  7. Don't back out of hosting a Friendsgiving if the after-dinner clean up seems intimidating. Paper plates and plastic utensils are ideal for group dinners as they minimize the cleaning process and will help create a stress-free Friendsgiving. 
  8. What's a gathering with your friends if there is no music? Creating the ultimate playlist is a great way to set the mood for the occasion and will make your guests excited to come and celebrate knowing you have good music to dance to. 

Friendsgiving should not be stressful like Thanksgiving sometimes can be — it's a social gathering where you get the excuse to eat not once, but twice. By keeping it casual and laidback, your Friendsgiving will be a fun way to reflect on how grateful you are for your friends. One more thing — do not forget to save the leftovers. 

Elizabeth Leoce

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