13 Ways to Celebrate Friendsgiving Even the CDC Would Approve Of

Thanksgiving is going to look a little different this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a safe way to celebrate with your chosen family.

Get Creative This Holiday Season

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Ways to Celebrate Friendsgiving That Even the CDC Would Approve Of

It’s been a challenging year, to say the least, and as Thanksgiving approaches, gratitude may not be the first thing on everyone’s mind. While it’s easy to become discouraged about the loss of time-honored traditions in 2020, there are still ways to spend time safely with your loved ones—albeit in perhaps more unconventional ways. Here are some tips and ideas to help you plan the perfect CDC-approved Friendsgiving. Who knows? You may discover a new holiday tradition to enjoy for years to come!

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Stay Close to Home

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Stay Close to Home

Every year, approximately 55 million Americans hit the road (and the skies) to celebrate Thanksgiving. The CDC, however, discourages traveling this holiday season because it increases your chances of contracting Covid-19 and spreading it to others. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself, your household, and other members of your community. But even though you may not be hopping on a plane to head to your hometown, there are still plenty of ways you can celebrate with your friends.

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Host a Virtual Dinner

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Host a Virtual Dinner

The safest way to celebrate Friendsgiving this year is to make your get-together a virtual one. The key to a successful “gathering” is getting organized ahead of time. It can be a bit chaotic trying to video chat with friends from across the country when everyone is at a different stage of meal prep. Instead, set a time for everyone to sit down to eat so you can enjoy each other’s company with minimal distractions.

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Get Dressed Up

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Get Dressed Up

Over the last few months, we’ve all become accustomed to wearing comfy clothes with elastic waistbands. But if your friend group usually puts on their best outfits for Friendsgiving, keep up the tradition, even though you may see each other only from the waist up. Don’t feel guilty about changing back into those elastic-waist pants once you’ve finished your second—or third—helping of turkey, though!

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Synchronize Your Menus

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Synchronize Your Menus

For many of us, making and sharing traditional family recipes is one of the great joys of Friendsgiving. This year, however, it’s time to get innovative: Have members of your friend group share their favorite recipes digitally before the big day, so everyone has time to gather ingredients and make some of the same dishes.

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Cook Together—Even if You’re Apart

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Cook Together—Even if You’re Apart

One of the best parts of Friendsgiving is spending an afternoon hanging out in the kitchen with your closest friends, drinking wine while you wait for the turkey to reach 165 degrees. While it may not be safe to gather in person this year, you can replicate the experience by cooking together while video chatting. This could be even more fun if you try to make the same recipes.

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Organize a Socially Distanced Potluck

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Organize a Socially Distanced Potluck

Potluck dinners are a Friendsgiving staple. While you may not be comfortable organizing an in-person potluck this year, a distanced potluck is still an option. Assign a dish or two to each participating household, which will then make a large quantity of each dish to be portioned out and delivered to the other members of the group.

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Make Food Deliveries

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Make Food Deliveries

If you’re the one who usually takes charge in the kitchen and you relish spending the weekend cooking for your friend group, prepare meals for those who live locally and arrange for pickup or delivery. That way you can carry on the tradition of serving your favorite dishes to the people you love. If making an entire meal seems intimidating, as an alternative consider baking some autumnal treats that are easy to package and deliver.

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Give Thanks Virtually

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Give Thanks Virtually

For many friend groups, it’s a tradition to go around the table and have everyone share something they’re thankful for. Don’t abandon this practice just because you can’t get together in person. Plan ahead and set aside a time, either before or after dinner, to give everyone a chance to express their gratitude and focus on the positive and rewarding moments of this difficult year.

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Host a Socially Distanced Outdoor Gathering

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Host a Socially Distanced Outdoor Gathering

The CDC considers outdoor dinners to be moderate risk activities, but to make your backyard gathering as safe as possible, ensure that guests stay 6 feet apart unless they are members of the same household. For added security, encourage everyone to wear masks when not eating or drinking.

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Offer Individual Portions

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Offer Individual Portions

Sharing food increases the risk of spreading germs, so the safest option is to have guests bring their own food and beverages. If, however, you would prefer to provide a feast for your friends, skip the buffet table and don’t put the food out family-style. Instead, dish up individual portions to avoid contamination from shared serving utensils, and designate one person to be the server to cut down on the number of people handling food and utensils.

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Serve Warm Beverages

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Serve Warm Beverages

If you live in a colder climate, the idea of hosting an outdoor event in November may seem somewhat crazy. To ensure your guests stay cozy and comfortable even if the day’s a tad nippy, encourage them to dress appropriately and consider serving warm beverages like tea, coffee, cocoa, mulled wine, or hot apple cider.

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Embrace Outdoor Cooking

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Embrace Outdoor Cooking

While you may be accustomed to toiling over a hot stove all day to prepare your Friendsgiving feast, this year you may want to consider preparing some of your food outdoors so you can spend more time with your guests. Cook your turkey on the barbecue for a change, or even try assembling a DIY smoker. Rely on make-ahead sides that can be served cold or at room temperature to minimize trips in and out of the house.

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Plan Outdoor Entertainment

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Plan Outdoor Entertainment

If you usually get together to watch football or screen a marathon of Thanksgiving-themed episodes of your favorite TV shows, consider investing in a projector, or try making one yourself. Set up chairs or blankets 6 feet apart so everyone can enjoy this tradition from a safe distance. It’s probably also a good idea to avoid that annual touch football game this year. Instead, try hikes, scavenger hunts, croquet, or other outdoor games better suited to social distancing.

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