By Assia Angelini
Thanksgiving, as we all know, is a time for meditating on things for which we are truly grateful. This season’s tradition of generosity started in 1621 when the Native American Wampanoag people shared their harvest feast with the impotent pilgrims of Plymouth. Their initial be- nevolence has inspired us for centuries to take a moment to step back and look at all we have and realize that there are people out there that sacrifice so much of their time and effort for us. Many times, we feel a yearning to go back to these people who have contributed to our growth and have helped nurture us, whether it be friends or family. It is all part of this season of giving.
For a lot of us, one of the first separations from home happens when we first go to college. Whether one leaves the state or just their house, the distance becomes real. For many, this only highlights how important and meaningful it is to go back home for the holidays. However, once we leave it’s not always easy to return. There are many factors that keep us from going back, one of which includes becoming more independent and learning to make a life for oneself. Also, it can be hard to return to our stomping grounds when the distance is too large. We don’t have the time, money or means. Or, even if we can go back, there are new connections and new support systems we have made in college that hold a special meaning that is different than what we can find at home.
But, this season, lets dig closer to the roots of Thanksgiving and consider making time for both family and friends. While there are people who can’t make it back to their families, there are also people who just would prefer not to and would rather enjoy communion with friends. We all know that with Thanksgiving comes annoying family members that we dread seeing. Sometimes it’s not worth the stress. So this year, why not make some new traditions. I propose the idea of an intermediate holiday, a Friendsgiving.
Friendsgiving is a way to express gratitude and spend quality time with people you have handpicked to care about. How often, really, does one sit down to a home cooked meal with friends that has the abundance of a ban- quet dinner and the charm of a quilt blanket? This makeshift holiday can also act as an opportunity to temporarily blend family cultures. Every family has their hallmark dish, no two families necessarily make their turkey the same, and stuffing comes in a variety of styles. It can be just as fascinating and refreshing to go outside of your personal bubble and experience a piece of another person’s holiday, and maybe bring it home to incorporate into your own.
Before or after Thanksgiving, small and intimate or big and busy, this is a personal potluck tailored to your friendship circle. Whether everyone spends all day cook- ing together, or brings back helpings of leftovers, as long as one takes the time to look around and truly reflect on the bounty of their personal relationships, that is when the true meaning of Thanksgiving is fulfilled.