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How to Make Friendsgiving Feel Extra Special This Year

Create a meal with your friends that feels just as festive as a family gathering.

While tradition dictates spending Thanksgiving with your family, not all of us are able to do that every year. Enter Friendsgiving, an increasingly popular trend. Instead of gathering with kin, many people will be celebrating Turkey Day with close friends. But whether you're gearing up for your first Friendsgiving or you've been partaking in this tradition for years, it can sometimes feel challenging to make the festivities seem up to par with a more traditional Thanksgiving. To help, we got insight from experts on what you can do to enhance the experience. Read on to discover how to make your Friendsgiving feel extra special this year.

RELATED: 39 Thanksgiving Facts to Share With Friends and Family.

Only invite people you like.

Friends arriving at a house for a social gathering. They are greeting each other at the front door.

Milosz Krasinski, the managing director at Chilli Fruit Web Consulting, tells Best Life he has celebrated Friendsgiving since he moved away from home at 18. His best piece of advice? "Only invite the people you actually like," he says.

According to Krasinski, this is the biggest issue people run into when trying to celebrate Friendsgiving.

"If you want your Friendsgiving to feel like Thanksgiving at home, you need to have people you care for there. People who you're thankful for," he advises. "It is cheesy, yes. But at the end of the day, if you don't feel at home in the company of these people, it'll feel just like cooking lunch."

Create a meaningful atmosphere.

Food and drinks served on table with empty chairs at home

If you're the one hosting Friendsgiving, Stacey Huffman, relationship coach and founder of Attraction Expert, says ensuring the right environment is crucial to making the event feel festive and memorable.

"Create a meaningful atmosphere," she recommends. "This can be done by setting up a cozy space, playing festive music, and decorating with meaningful items."

RELATED: 8 Common Myths About Thanksgiving You Probably Still Believe.

Get everyone in on the cooking.

Two female friends preparing food in domestic kitchen for thanksgiving celebration

Friendsgiving is all about people choosing to come together, so even if you're hosting, don't take on all the cooking by yourself. Instead ask each of your guests to bring a dish, drink, or dessert that they love, or that represents their culture or background, in order to make it a "collaborative and inclusive event," says Ketan Parmar, MD, psychiatrist and mental health expert at ClinicSpots.

"This way, you can share the workload and the joy of cooking, and also enjoy a variety of flavors and cuisines," he shares.

Set a tradition together.

A group of friends celebrating Thanksgiving dinner together in a home.

Through his work as a habit coach, Niklas Göke, certified life and habit coach and founder of Four Minute Books, says he has discovered how rituals play a "crucial role in bonding." With that in mind, he advises people to set a tradition together at their Friendsgiving gathering that they can continue in the future.

"Create a Friendsgiving ritual, be it a gratitude circle or a toast, that everyone looks forward to each year," he says. "This establishes a tradition that everyone can relate to and anticipate."

RELATED: 11 Retro Thanksgiving Traditions That Have Become Obsolete.

Plan activities.

Multi-ethnic group of young people playing guessing game while sitting at table during dinner party in dark room, copy space

Don't just make your Friendsgiving about eating. Huffman says it is also important to "create a sense of togetherness" by planning other activities.

"Have everyone participate in something, such as playing games or watching a movie together," she suggests.

You can further emphasize personal connections by "organizing activities that encourage storytelling or sharing personal experiences," according to Göke.

"This not only fosters a deeper understanding among friends, but also creates a warm, inclusive atmosphere," he explains. "Remember, the goal is to make everyone feel valued and heard."

Incorporate traditional Thanksgiving elements.

iStock / bhofack2

For many, Friendsgiving is how they spend their actual Thanksgiving holiday. But whether it's on Thursday or over the weekend, it's a good idea to tie in some parts of a traditional Thanksgiving to make your Friendsgiving feel just as special, according to Kasey Rogers, relationship expert and editor-in-chief at

"Make sure to include traditional Thanksgiving elements such as a turkey, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie," she advises.

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Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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