Friendsgiving..When Friends Are Your Holiday Fr-amily on Thanksgiving

A very Happy Thanksgiving to all my readers out there! I’m giving thanks for many things this year. One thing I am definitely thankful for is the connection that I’ve made with some of you. Who would’ve thought this mama would connect with so many different people all over the world? I am grateful for our time together and it something that I will definitely celebrate this year.

Speaking of things I’m grateful for and celebrations I want to talk to you today about one of my new favorite holidays-Friendsgiving (Thanksgiving with friends) . I know that many of you will be sitting down for large lovely meals with your families this holiday and I think that’s wonderful! I grew up having the same big beautiful Thanksgiving surrounded by my large extended family. My extended family is so massive that I would have more than one Thanksgiving every year! It’s our time to enjoy being together with grandparents, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins. I can almost smell my grandma’s famous noodles all the way across the country as I write this.

I have the best memories of growing up spending these Thanksgivings with my 40+ cousins and all of my aunts and uncles and of course my wonderful grandparents. We would load up the car with food and my parents, brother and I would head to whoever’s house that was hosting that year (usually my grandparents) to spend the whole day surrounded by noise and food and laughter and fun. All kids should grow up with these kind of memories, it was just awesome.

Fast forward to being a grown-up myself now with kids of my own. For the first few years of my kid’s lives we continued the tradition that I had as a kid. We would load up the kids and food and head over to celebrate full bellies and big families with my extended family. But 4 years ago we moved across the country and Thanksgiving took on a new tradition, one that fills my heart in other ways.

Family is not always something that you’re born into, family can be a group of cherished friends too-your fr-amily. My dear friends know this word well because we call each other Friendship comes first, followed but close friendship followed by more than the word friend can hold. My family is lucky to a have a group that fits this description to a T. Theses are my Florida people, my Florida family.

None of us in this group have relatives who live close, or even in the same state we do. (Or even the same country we do in my husband’s case). For a multitude of reasons none of us travel to where our families are at Thanksgiving..maybe we’re going to see them at Christmas, maybe family will visiting us (this is Florida, we don’t lack for guests), some have work obligations etc. It has become our tradition to spend holidays together and I absolutely want to say today that I am grateful for this tradition.

The first holiday we ever spent together in this group was in fact Thanksgiving. Our lovely friends host this particular holiday every year and do an absolutely spectacular job of it! We have a home to go to with people that we love that is full of food and laughter and celebration. There is the noise of happy kids, plenty of adult conversation and quite a lot of laughter and merriment. After starting with this holiday we have since spent many of the major holidays with this group of lovely friends. Sometimes it’s only a few of us at Christmas or just a couple of us at Easter. Sometimes more people than we can imagine on the Fourth of July or a huge end of the summer party on Labor Day. We know that our holidays are covered!

So I say to you that if you’re in a position where you’ve just recently moved somewhere new or don’t have family nearby but a great group of friends that you adore…start your own Friendsgiving this year! Make it a potluck, let everyone contribute something. I like to contribute, for example, a staple that I grew up with in Indiana-green bean casserole. It reminds me of hometown and of my family that is there celebrating. It keeps a part of them with me on this holiday and allows me to share one of my family’s traditions with my friends. You can keep the traditions no matter where you are even while starting new ones.

I want to say that I’m grateful for all my friends old and new. The ones that are family by blood, the ones that are family by choice and the ones that have just joined my circle this year. I have made some great new friends both because of this blog and because of chance encounters.

The pilgrims and Indians started this holiday by sharing a meal and becoming friends according to the stories we’ve been hearing since we were young. Now it’s our turn to share these meals too! Who’s to say you can’t spend a holiday with family and still have a celebration with friends later that day or a different day? Isn’t it great to say thank you for being in my life? Thank you for being there for me this year. Thank you for making me laugh a bazillion times and making memories with me? Thanksgiving is friendship! It’s about being thankful!!

One last thing if you’ll indulge me…To our family all over the US (Indiana, Michigan, South Carolina just to name a few) and our British family: I have talked today about new traditions but this doesn’t mean I don’t miss you and love you to bits! Big love to all of you-cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, parents and my bro. You are my memories, you are my support, you are my family and our bond defies distance and time apart. Happy Thanksgiving from Florida!! Janet

Dedicated to L & S, S & J, C & J and our little turkeys. We are lucky to share your lives and your table!