As a first-timer to the American Thanksgiving scene, I’m pretty clueless. I imagine Thanksgiving here is similar to what Canadians enjoy in early October, where a sprawling turkey dinner takes center stage, to be shared among relatives. Little did I know that a new tradition has started to emerge here in the US, something called “Friendsgiving.” I obviously have a lot to learn.
Last week I had the pleasure of spending an afternoon with the fashionable and talented singer Vanessa Hudgens, who is more than accustomed to visiting family for the holidays. Friendsgiving has recently joined her list of holiday traditions as a bonus meal fest where, she says, “you get more control over who comes to dinner.” Well, I’m sold. So how do you throw a memorable Friendsgiving? Just Dance 2017 and Vanessa Hudgens showed me the ropes. Here are a few steps to planning the perfect Friendsgiving event:
Step one: Give your guests plenty to Instagram
This part doesn’t have to be fancy. Gold balloons, simple yet elegant place settings and printable menu cards and photo props really take things to the next level.
Step two: Add entertainment that’ll warm up your appetites
Vanessa and friends love incorporating Just Dance into their get-togethers. “It’s so much fun,” she said. “I just love being able to celebrate life and be a kid, and when you’re playing this game it’s like nothing else matters.” Telling by how quickly she mastered the moves, her favorite song by far is “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on it)” by Beyoncé.
Step three: Getting creative with your Friendsgiving menu is totally cool
Traditionally, you know what to expect with Thanksgiving dinner – your mom makes her favorite turnip or sweet potato dish, grandma brings her famous red cabbage, and your uncle turns up with the legendary family stuffing recipe. Knowing you’ll already be “stuffing” your face with these classics soon means you can take some liberties with the Friendsgiving menu. Vanessa’s menu included potato cakes, skewers, grape salad, and pumpkin-infused gazpacho and risotto, mostly of the vegan and gluten-free variety. Turkey is a must, obviously, but Friendsgiving means you can start new food traditions too.
Step four: Eat, drink, and be merry!
Nothing brings people together more than a shared dining experience. Some of my favorite lifetime memories include a table overflowing with food and surrounded by friends. So, if you plan to celebrate Thanksgiving with family this year, consider also planning a Friendsgiving. This twist on the traditional holiday is perfect for those of us with international family, and I’m totally fine with doubling up on the turkey. Any excuse to eat, drink, and dance with friends in the name of a holiday is one we should all make!
Just Dance 2017 is currently available on all major platforms, including Xbox One, PS4, and Wii U. For more information, check out our previous coverage: