For many college students, the holiday season is a time to reconnect with family while enjoying a traditional, festive home-cooked meal. But for those who stay on campus for Thanksgiving, it’s an opportunity to create fun memories with friends who feel like family.
So, with this season of gratitude just around the corner, here are five unique Friendsgiving ideas to try that’ll make the occasion unforgettable on campus:
Invite your friends to compete in a seasonal culinary showdown. Assign an iconic Thanksgiving dish to each contestant (think mashed potatoes, cranberry relish, cornbread muffins, or green bean casserole), then enlist other friends to serve as your panel of judges. Everyone will have a certain amount of time to finish their recipes, then the judges will taste the results and choose a winner. Afterward, everyone can sit down to an enticing, multi-course feast!
Gratitude Sharing Jar
The best Friendsgiving ideas are both enjoyable and meaningful. This time of year is all about remembering to cultivate gratitude, so why not make it part of the festivities? Fill an empty mason jar with Post-it notes and pens, then encourage all your friends to list what they’re grateful for. After dinner, ask each person to reach into the jar and grab a Post-it note, and then all of you can take turns reading each message out loud. This group activity will create space for reflection and conversation.
Who says a Thanksgiving meal has to feature just the American classics? If you have friends from various cultural backgrounds, ask if they’ll share some of the traditional cuisine they grew up with. This will turn the holiday table into a multicultural potluck, brimming with vibrant colors and flavors from across the globe. With each bite, everyone can learn more about each other’s diverse stories, customs, and experiences, strengthening their friendship bonds.
DIY Crafting Station
Unleashing your creative juices is a fun, hands-on way to manage holiday stress. Set up a craft corner at your Friendsgiving celebration with art supplies for everyone to make festive decorations. From DIY centerpieces and custom place cards to cute hand turkeys and painted pumpkins, this is an opportunity for all your friends to leave their personal mark on the holiday table. You could also search for homemade seasonal gift ideas on Pinterest and gather the materials to make unique, thrifty DIY presents.
Want to end the occasion on an upbeat, memorable note? Host an interactive Friendsgiving awards ceremony. Create a list of quirky categories such as “Most Likely to Become the Next MasterChef,” “Most Likely to Carve the Best Turkey,” “Most Likely to Fall Asleep During the Football Game,” or “Most Likely to Be a Future Performer in the Macy’s Parade.” As you give out each award, offer a few silly or sincere words about your friends’ unique talents. This will make everyone laugh—and feel appreciated, too.
Embrace the Holiday Season with these Friendsgiving Ideas
Not only will these Friendsgiving ideas put your own unique, creative twist on classic seasonal traditions, but they’ll deepen your sense of gratitude for the friendships you’ve built in college. After all, Thanksgiving is not just about the food—it’s also a time to share laughter, reflections, stories, experiences, and memories you’ll cherish for years.