What it’s like celebrating your first Friendsgiving

Because traditional Thanksgiving is overrated anyway

“You have taken the land which is rightfully ours. Years from now my people will be forced to live in mobile homes on reservations…My people will have pain and degradation. Your people will have stick shifts. The gods of my tribe have spoken. They have said, “Do not trust the Pilgrims, especially Sarah Miller.””,

This is the extent of my exposure to the tradition of Thanksgiving, Wednesday Addams revolting against the Pilgrims in Addams Family Values. So when I hear the question, “what does thanksgiving mean to you?” I think of Pilgrims slaughtering the Native Americans. Is that completely contradictory to the jolliness and festivity of winter?

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If so, one other thing comes to mind when I think Thanksgiving and that’s food. I have plenty of American friends in London who celebrate Thanksgiving but I have never experienced it for myself. I remember being nonplussed but also amazed that marshmallows on sweet potato is a traditional Thanksgiving dish and have great memories of my friend coming into school with pumpkin whoopee pies for us poor English folk. The typical thanksgiving menu seems to be a perfect mix of Christmas dinner combined with the novelties of American cuisine.

So it’s a mile stone, albeit a minor one, that this year I will be celebrating my first Thanksgiving dinner. With just under a week to go, I am reflecting on my life devoid of this alien celebration before I come back with my opinion on the matter…

11/22/16

Friendsgiving was definitely an experience. A note to self is not to arrive early, as I did. It is at this point that you realize the jolliness of thanksgiving dinner only materializes after the food is cooked and the hosts feel like they can breathe once more. Still, it is no mean feat to feed and water twenty people while also providing a Photobooth and table games.

After my first rookie error, everything was amazing. I hadn’t had a home-cooked meal since August and even though this was à la Whole Foods, the mere fact that the turkey came out of an oven made me forget I was at university and made me feel civilized for the first time in a while. While there were no marshmallows on the sweet potato there was pumpkin pie and pecan pie and I made sure I had a slice of each, accompanied by brownies and ice cream. At this point some people were already passed out and I was justifying my excessive consumption of pastry with the excuse of sobering up – it was not yet 9 pm.

This might not be the way a traditional Thanksgiving with family pans out but I’m pretty sure table-games are central to any holiday season dinner – and they were my favorite part. This was not only my first thanksgiving celebration but was also my first mannequin challenge and I doubt it will be surpassed any time soon. To sum it up here is a video of 20 inebriated people standing stock still for 30 seconds:

I didn’t have the traditional Thanksgiving. Instead of family dinner I ate with people whom, for the most part, I barely knew or had just met. Nonetheless, I can’t think of a better situation in which to have met them. So now that I can actually say I have experienced Thanksgiving, in some shape or form, I can finally answer the question:

What am I thankful for?

I’m thankful for escaping campus for a few days but I’m also eternally grateful for coming to a college where people are so eager to welcome you, whether it’s for friendsgiving dinner or at NSO. It might be cliché but things are cliché for a reason, right?

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