Want to make this Friendsgiving a magical night that everyone will remember as a time of happy bellies and meaningful connection for years to come?
Save the mashed potatoes and polite discourse for your dinner with Uncle Bill, and shake things up with these five tips to make your Friendsgiving special.
1. Set the scene.
Creating a fall-inspired, cozy atmosphere with decorations and accent pieces will make your guests feel immediately at home and in the Friendsgiving spirit. Reds, oranges, and yellows all stir the feelings of changing seasons and abundant harvests. Blankets, pillows, and soft candles create a warm atmosphere for people to cozy up and enjoy each other’s company. Games and activities scattered throughout the space offer alternative forms of socialization and connection. Consider how you want your special day to feel, and create from that place of inspiration!
2. Open with a land ritual and acknowledgment.
For millennia, people have gathered to share traditions and rituals in community. Starting with a humble offering to the land you reside on is a meaningful way to open your Friendsgiving. It’s also a simple way to bring a group together around a shared purpose, fostering an immediate sense of togetherness to set the stage for a truly impactful Friendsgiving.
There are countless ways to create a land ritual, so get creative, knowing you can tailor this based on the values and principles most important to you and your friends. This can be joyful, solemn, or a little bit of both depending on your intentions.
If you’re looking for ideas, you can research the people who walked and tended the land before you using the Native Land website. Explore authentic ways to honor their legacy and stories. You can also prepare a plate and offer it to the land before you eat, which is something that Indigenous people from around the world have done and continue to do to show gratitude and reverence for the earth that provides for us in so many ways. You can find more inspiration for land- and history-based rituals here.
3. Share your harvests.
Thanksgiving marks the end of harvest season for growers. What are you harvesting in your life at this time? How did the generous and open hearts of others contribute to your harvest today? Reflecting on these questions—or ones you create—is a beautiful way to show gratitude, connect more deeply, and make this a special Friendsgiving.
In the first celebration of Thanksgiving, the Wampanoag tribe provided the food for the feast and the life-saving teachings on agriculture and hunting to European settlers. They also provided the foundational philosophy of giving without expecting anything in return. We know this is not how the story ends, and that huge injustices and genocide soon followed.
Gratitude will not right the atrocious wrongs against the Indigenous people of America. But it is one small step forward in integrating a more Indigenous approach to celebrating Earth’s resources, showing gratitude in community, and marking transitional times throughout the year, in this case, from fall into winter.
4. Create an abundance altar together.
Have time to spare while all those unique Friendsgiving recipes are simmering and baking? Consider organizing a collective, hands-on project to tap into the spirit of the holiday’s true essence: celebrating abundance with others. Abundance comes in many forms—in laughter, good food, and clean water.
What forms of abundance are you celebrating this Friendsgiving? Gather items, photos, or pieces of nature that reflect this, and work together to arrange them in a display somewhere in your gathering space. If the word “altar” doesn’t resonate with you, fret not! You can call it an abundance display, a Friendsgiving arrangement—whatever feels right to you!
5. Shake things up with unique Friendsgiving recipes that tell a story.
Are you ready to reimagine the Friendsgiving feast? What if, instead of mashed potatoes and canned beans, your table was decked in fragrant dishes made from heirloom recipes from around the world? GlobalGiving’s nonprofit partners generously shared how to make some of their most beloved dishes so you can enjoy new and inspiring Friendsgiving recipes with your friends this year.
Imagine this: You begin the feast by sipping the warming Mountain Mushroom Soup from the nonprofit Charitable Incorporated Community Organization Uganda. The decedent soup pairs perfectly with Fluffy Holiday Rolls that families in Romania have been baking for generations. The recipe from our partners at Fundatia Motivation Romania is loved by all for its refreshing use of citrus.
Your friend lovingly prepares the main course, the Pakora Kadhi, from the Association for Humanitarian Development in Pakistan. A delicious side of Jollof Rice from Develop Africa in Sierra Leone and Ayote and Mora Pupusas from the Mangrove Association in El Salvador are the perfect sides for this special Friendsgiving feast.
And who doesn’t want a delicious chai to end the night? The recipe from Dharamsala Animal Rescue will be a guaranteed crowd-pleaser for any autumn night. You can find these recipes and many more in the GlobalGiving Cookbook, “From Community To Kitchen: Food From Around The World.”
But these recipes do more than just fill hungry bellies—they tell powerful stories about change happening in our world right now. From Uganda to Pakistan, the nonprofits that lovingly curated these recipes wanted to connect people like you with the stories of their communities through food.