Categories
Holidays

Why Friendsgiving is better than Thanksgiving.

Let’s be real. Any occasion that gives me a pass to pig out on tons of delicious food and to see family members is fantastic, but there’s just something that’s extra special about surrounding myself with my friends and making a new tradition with them. These people in my life don’t come to the Friendsgivings I host by obligation; they actively choose to take the time out of their own hectic and ridiculous schedules to eat, drink, and be thankful alongside my family. There’s something really meaningful to me behind that.

I also like to open my home to those who don’t have anywhere to go during the holidays. Not everyone has a place to celebrate, and this alone can be depressing during a time where everyone is expressing gratitude for their families, significant others, etc.

It’s important for people to feel like they can be welcome and belong somewhere. 

So, what exactly is Friendsgiving?

At its core, it’s a gathering of close friends sometime before or after Thanksgiving. It’s like an extension of the holiday to include friends and other people who you wouldn’t think of inviting to a family event. Since the origins of Thanksgiving came from a place of fellowship and thankfulness, wouldn’t it be fair to extend that kind of celebration to include both family and friends?

According to Urban Dictionary, the term “Friendsgiving” officially became a thing in 2009 and has been celebrated by many since then. Since most people in their 20s and 30s nowadays are waiting later in life to have families of their own and delaying things like marriage and mortgages (because expensive), Friendsgiving is another way to create a sense of community and unity, and frankly gives us another reason to party, relieve holiday stress, and eat more delicious food.

Friendsgiving is also a great way to reinvent things. Who says we need to have turkey with all of the fixings? Who says anyone needs to spend hours slaving over a stove to bring a dish to the occasion? It’s definitely more casual than your average American Thanksgiving, flexible too. Some of us need to work on the holiday, and/or may not be able to make it to the actual event. Or maybe we just like parties. Any of these are valid reasons to hold one of our own.

In my group of friends, I don’t think anyone would be opposed to ordering a bunch of pizza and picking up some drinks for the occasion. Hell, some grocery store sushi as a side dish could also be a strong possibility. There are no rules, bring what you want, come as you are. The whole point is to kick off your shoes, relax, and stuff your face with no judgment.

(Personally, I think I would definitely get some weird looks if I brought some sushi to my family’s more traditional Thanksgiving meetups.)

My friends and I also like to play games. Card games, video games, whatever we’ve got available to have a good time. We aren’t the sports-y type (unless it’s League of Legends or something else nerdy) and the TV is only used for music purposes, or streaming a binge session of Breaking Bad or Letterkenny near the end of the night.

We also don’t care about how well dressed we are, either. Wanna go all out and dress up? No problem. Wanna wear your comfy pants? Fine with me. You do you, boo-boo.

And this may not look like a Friendsgiving that you may have attended in the past. Every meetup is different depending on the people you get with. Since it’s a relatively new thing, everyone’s got their own take on the occasion. Maggie from thekitchn.com writes in her 10 commandments of Friendsgiving to avoid paper plates and fold-up tables if possible, and to bring your A-game by providing legitimate place settings for each guest with real plates and silverware. Emily from Buzzfeed recommends securing a veggie dish that isn’t smothered in a casserole. Even some workplaces like Google have adopted the Friendsgiving shenanigans in place of their Thanksgiving potlucks of the past.

After some quick research, and by this, I mean maybe a dozen of Google searches on how to go about hosting a Friendsgiving, the three main rules of thumb seem to be these:

  • The host cooks the turkey and gravy (or whatever main dish).
  • The host delegates or makes a signup sheet for the side dishes.
  • Remember about friends with allergies while cooking.

I think the thing I like most about it is that the whole affair is intentionally low-key, no matter how you decide to have it. There’s so much stress during the holidays, so it’s nice to just not give a f*ck about traditional expectations once in a while. During a time when the weather sucks, work becomes hectic (service/retail, I’m looking at you!), and when you may have to deal with some family drama, there’s at least a way to unwind from it all while venting to your friends about everything. Usually, they’re in a similar situation and don’t mind lending a sympathetic ear.

Do you celebrate Friendsgiving? Share with us how you celebrate!

Categories
Holidays Life

To those who are having a rough holiday season.

This is for you. I see you. I know the holidays can be nothing but an annoying and painful reminder that life is not always “merry and bright”.

Fun fact, did you know that Christmas Music may take a toll on your mental health?

I’m sure it has nothing to do with hearing the same song on repeat over and over while dealing with people who are filled with anything but the holiday spirit. Which may involve said people throwing temper tantrums and cussing like sailors when they don’t get what they want, almost every single day. (Can I get an amen from everyone in the retail/service industries? You guys are superstars.)

When all of these songs are about joy, peace, and love, it can get pounded into your head that you are supposed to be feeling all of these things and that you’re to be happy about it. I don’t know about you, but I do not like the cold. I picked the wrong area to be in during the wintertime in the US, I’ll tell you that. It is hard for me to remain bubbly and happy when I have to get out of a warm and toasty bed to go scrape ice off of my car and lose feeling in my face and hands in below zero temperatures.

Don’t forget the gift giving. Oh, how I loathe the gift giving.

*Queues favorite holiday song – You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch*

Everyone seems to be in a financial struggle these days. Gift giving can just make for more awkwardness and disappointment for already distant relationships with extended family members. I didn’t even have the time or energy this year to send out Christmas cards, let alone afford my bills this month. I’m thankful for those who know me and my situation well enough to not expect anything from me until the financials are in better standing, but it has been difficult. I would love to be able to afford presents, but when it is currently zero degrees where I live, it is more important to keep the heat on. I’m so glad the people I know get this.

 

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PJ’s first Christmas was both busy and tiring! We were all ready for a nap.

 

Dealing with people can be exhausting too, no matter how much you love them. All of the family get-togethers and closeness can be draining to some people. Happen to be hosting the holiday festivities this year? Great! You get to do most if not all of the cooking, cleaning, preparing, and more cleaning… Some people like that stuff. Props to them! I am not one of those people who are able to do that on a regular basis.

So in a world where excessive joy and happiness becomes the norm, it often turns our reality into a dystopia that can take a toll on one’s sanity. When you look on the phone or the computer, you can just see the happiness oozing out of the screen. Looking through social media with all of the group photos, the smiles and hugs between families, significant others, and even their dogs/cats dressed up for the occasion. Everyone on Earth appears to be happy right about now, except for you. Especially when this may be your first, third, or even the eleventh Christmas without a loved one or a friend. My heart goes out to these guys. The pain from this kind of loss can be unbearable, even with all of the support and condolences you get. It is never the same, and you have to slowly find your new normal without them.

Guys, do me a favor and let out your Grinch. It’s okay to feel this way. Take extra care of yourself this season and try not to let the happy police get to you. Have a good cry, break things (safely), embrace these feelings and then make like Elsa from Frozen and let them go. Then come January, you can have a go at trying it all over again. I’m right there with you.

Now excuse me while I go pick up a constipated, teething little girl from her nap. She hasn’t been happy the last few days, either. Luckily, we will both get to have the chance for a better Christmas next year.

Love you guys!

 

Categories
Life Uncategorized

No more mommy guilt.

I literally only have three wrapped presents under the Christmas tree for PJ. Her first Christmas is coming up, and I feel like I am a horrible person for only getting her three things, and two of those things are just re-gifted hand-me downs. But still, I’m thankful that after this rough year there are even any presents under our Christmas tree.

PJ is definitely still too young to understand what this holiday is even about or how it is celebrated, but I definitely have my work cut out for me when she DOES understand what is going on. I remember my Christmases fondly when I was younger – my mom (with the help of Santa, or course) made sure there was a huge mountain of presents waiting for both my sister and I on Christmas morning. Those were some of the most exciting days of my childhood.

But why am I feeling like the world’s worst mom right now?

Maybe it’s all of the things I ended up doing to get by this month. Dropping her off at my mother-in-law’s has become a weekly thing. Am I not spending enough quality time with her? Or maybe it was the one time last week we got McDonald’s and I ended up giving PJ some of my cheeseburger and fries. So much for having a healthy baby. Even the TV has become a babysitter in a pinch. I needed to dust off my resume, so I sat her down in front of Little Einsteins for an hour or so to prepare for an interview. But the American Academy of Pediatrics says to avoid screen time for children under age 2. How can I help that if she is already trying to grab my phone from me? All she knows is that its a pretty bunch of lights coming out of a flat, square-looking thing.

It’s difficult, especially with parenting abilities easily judged these days from keyboard warriors behind the screens of the Internet, trying to reinforce the fact that you aren’t doing enough for your kid, or you aren’t doing something the right way. (Have you ever googled ‘sleep training’? Just don’t.)

Did these guys even have kids? Or did they forget what it was like?

I’m so grateful to have a small group of moms (including my own) in my life that can easily say “been there, done that” and remind me that I am not so horrible after all. It may seem silly to others, but someone randomly coming up to me to tell me that I am doing okay is always refreshing to me and it is definitely needed. Especially when moms like us fall in the trap of comparing ourselves to other moms out there, it’s really easy to get discouraged and feel like we are not living up to the ideal standards that are out there today.

Today is one of those days where I feel like a sub-par mom, but I know that these feelings are temporary and they will pass. Especially now that PJ is awake from her nap. As soon as I walk into the room and she sees me, the smile she gives me is enough to melt all of those thoughts about being a bad mom away. And I’m so thankful for that.