The holiday season is upon us, and we kick it off with Thanksgiving! The seasonal fun fall activities really get everyone in the festive mood, then on the big day, Turkey Trots are held all across the nation as runners prep for the big dinner, and the Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade airs in living rooms from New York to California. Then, there’s all the food you can eat, drinks galore, and quality time with family. These are just some of the reasons that many Americans favor this holiday above the rest.
So, what about when you live far away from home, in a city with no family nearby? A city like New York, full of dreamers, doers, and everything in between? That’s when your friends become your family.
It can be hard to get home for the holidays when living in any large city, especially NYC. And yes, you saved big by leasing with Bedly. You avoided the stress of broker fees, crazy unreachable landlords that are MIA during the holiday season, avoided paying for any and all furniture and got a sick space in an amazing neighborhood. But unless money truly isn’t an issue, you still gotta work to make rent, am I right?!
I had my first ever Thanksgiving away from home when I moved to New York and quickly learned that I actually preferred a “Friendsgiving” to the traditional holiday spent with family. Don’t get me wrong – Christmas with the fam is my fave! But give me all the food and drinks with friends on Thanksgiving.
I have a friend who once said, “We were all just a bunch of misfits who found each other”, and she wasn’t wrong. I am beyond grateful for my New York friends because it can be a pretty lonely city otherwise. Your friends and community are what makes living in New York so amazing.
So if you find yourself unable to take the time off work, or maybe flights are too expensive to get home, consider hosting a Friendsgiving for you and your “misfit” friends who can’t make it home, either. There are some especially fun ways to make your Friendsgiving memorable!
Host the dinner potluck style. Chances are, you’ve leased from Bedly and saved some bomb cash, but you’re probably not in a position to host a 5-course meal. A pot-luck dinner is an amazing way to save cash! You can even take advantage of some NYC bougie services totally acceptable as a time and money saver, like ordering your groceries or getting your apartment professionally cleaned before having guests over.
If you’re hosting, maybe you provide the turkey (or split the cost amongst guests), but be sure to ask everyone to bring a different side dish. It’s also so much less stressful than spending the whole day in the kitchen, and you’ll get a variety of family favorites. This is also an amazing way to account for any food allergies amongst the group. Your gluten-free friend can bring her own Trader Joe’s cauliflower stuffing, and your roommate’s vegan partner can bring their own Tofurkey and still partake in the festive fun.
BYOB. Or decide on drinks beforehand and split everything! Stock up on red wine, champagne, seasonal pumpkin or Oktoberfest beer, or maybe a cranberry specialty cocktail. It’s fun to get festive with the drinks, and you can split the cost evenly for affordability.
Tablescaping and decorating. I had so. much. fun. collecting materials and getting crafty! There are plenty of ideas on Pinterest, but I’ve followed tips from this blog post when hosting the past few years. It was so easy to find everything at an affordable price, and made our apartment cozy and welcoming for all our friends!
First, choose some colors to theme out your table. Bronze or rose gold, burnt orange, and white are some of my favorites! Next, pick up some pumpkins and gourds to place on the table and around the living room. The minis are pretty freaking adorable and fit nicely on a small table space. Be sure to pick up a bouquet of flowers for your centerpiece, and you can also place some in mason jars, too. A cheap pack of tea candles is a perfect use for mason jars as well. Scatter them throughout the space to add warmth to the living room! You can find these as well as cheap chargers for plates at your local dollar store. A fun little personal touch I enjoyed adding was a plastic champagne flute with each person’s name on one (straight from the blog post!). We were easily able to keep track of whose drink was whose that way!
Ambiance. Light some candles and get some homemade potpourri going on the stove! There are so many different ways to get your apartment ready for fall, try some out while hosting Friendsgiving!
Games. Board games, cards, or otherwise, combining games with drinks will bring out the merriment like no other. Heads Up – the game by Ellen Degeneres – is a sure way to get everyone laughing so hard they find themselves rolling on the floor!
If you can’t make it home, check in with your friends and see what everyone’s up to for the holiday. Chances are, in a city like New York, considered to be the melting pot of the world, there’s a lot of people sticking around for Turkey Day. So make the most of it, bring friends together from all over, and start a new holiday tradition!
Photo credits in order of appearance: Thought Catalog, Territory NRI, Food Network, Tone It Up, Live It At Home, Seda College