friendsgiving

friendsgiving 2018 by Haley Russell

You guys, this year, I made a turkey. For someone who has seen flames while making spaghetti and opts to bring ice cream to potlucks, I went big this Thanksgiving. I mean, 18 pounds of big. After my first apartment, I was determined to make this one feel like home and be more intentional about hospitality. I tend to be a bit of a hermit and really just would rather be at home on my couch by myself (or with, like, one friend) watching Parks and Rec (the best, honestly). But, this year, I’ve been working really hard about opening my home. I have a sweet little welcome mat that says “all are welcome here” that reminds me we’re all in this together.

So this year, I decided to host Friendsgiving. When my sisters and I all lived at home, we really just ordered pizza and called it a day, so we’ve been hosting for years. But, this year I wanted to do a more traditional Thanksgiving meal, potluck style!

friendsgiving 2018

Some things on Friends + Thanksgiving

There’s always something to be thankful for.

Keeping this mindset has been really tough for me over the last few years. I’ve been in a weird limbo in several areas of my life, and so it’s been difficult to remember thankfulness. This year, though, so many things seem to be changing in my life and my friends’ lives. We didn’t play any games, nor did we sign a sheet that said what we’re thankful for, but I was glad to just be near them all. Simplicity in the madness. It was beautiful, guys. At first, I was really nervous to host almost eighteen people in my one-bedroom apartment, but we made it work. We covered the coffee table with a tablecloth and ate on the floor. And we loved it.

Carry your traditions.

On my mom’s side, my grandma has always been the one to make the turkey. She preps it, while we stand in the corner cowering and gagging at the sight of turkey insides. When I told her I wanted to make a turkey, she was so excited. We talked for DAYS about this plan. She walked me through every. single. step. of the process. And when I finally got the dang bird made, we FaceTimed. These traditions are so fun and becoming even sweeter as my sisters and I are all getting older and able to participate even more.

Less is more - and better.

I love to plan a good party. I’ve done so much event planning in my professional life, that the details and pretty things make my heart pitter patter. When planning, I had grandiose ideas of buying tables and chairs, updating my sliding glass door, and buying all kinds of extras we didn’t really, well, need. Finally, I just decided I wasn’t going to buy anything I wouldn’t continue to use. No pillar candles, no new curtains. We spent a few dollars on a table runner I knew I wanted for everyday, cloth napkins we’ll use forever, some eucalyptus from Trader Joes that’s currently hanging in my shower, and dug in our party boxes for tea lights. It was literally perfect. It’s also amazing what you can do with a good charcuterie. Inspo from Gathered Living + Pinterest (pinned allll the party ideas here). Everything on the board was from Trader Joes except the apple butter my uncle makes. :)

Friendsgiving 2018
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Love the planet.

I’m slowly but surely trying to eliminate plastic in my life. Literally, it’s so dang hard. But, these sweet little bamboo plates, forks, and knives are 100% biodegradable and compostable. Hellooooo.

There’s a lot coming up in my life - I just got butterflies thinking about it. It’s so easy to forget to love on your people. But I’m super glad we didn’t this year.

friendsgiving inspiration
friendsgiving 2018

This is also one of my favorite photos from the night. Summer suggested taking the photo from another angle so we didn’t show the rings on the table, but I loved it. This table was my grandmothers, who later gave it to my mom, who later gave it to me. It’s been in our family for more than fifty years. These circles represent use, family meetings, laughter, and memories. I wouldn’t trade it.

I hope you guys had the best Thanksgiving ever. :)

PS - I relied heavily on A Beautiful Mess for inspo and recipes (here is their Friendsgiving archive - they’ve been hosting for something like seven years). I’ve followed them for so, so many years and their Friendsgivings are always swoon-worthy. I also fell on Rebekah Lyons’s Friendsgiving guide (free download here!), which was a literal lifesaver and so. dang. cute. I used her turkey recipe, and it turned out SO well!

PPS - Summer took all of these photos, which makes me love them even more.