Friendsgiving on a college-friendly budget

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As the leaves begin to show their autumn colors, and crisp, fall weather is in the air, there is one thing all college students know: Thanksgiving break is near.

 Giddy to trade in the cafeteria food for mom’s homemade stuffing and their twin XL beds for the warmth of their own home, many college students anticipate this brief relief from campus life. 

Not all students rush home to enjoy the holiday festivities. With many opting out of the seasonal travel home and others simply wanting to celebrate the holiday with their newfound family, the lauded tradition of “friendsgiving” is nothing new to college campuses. 

Orlando native Brandon Hazelton-Glen is well-versed in how to properly celebrate “friendsgiving.”

“Friendsgiving is actually very common for me since I’ve arrived here on the hill,” Hazelton-Glen said. “This year will be my third year having a friendsgiving. I don’t go back home because I’m usually working for the holidays or I can’t simply afford to travel during this time of year.” 

For students in this dilemma, “friendsgiving” is the best gathering to celebrate the season of gratitude with the squad, but it is still sometimes tricky to plan. 

Bustling class schedules and frequent doses of college procrastination can make it difficult to have free time to plan, — leaving a well-executed event out of sight. 

The perfect “friendsgiving” this year starts with planning a few weeks in advance. This leaves the perfect amount of time to casually push the event planning aside a few times, while still eventually getting it done. 

Treasure Gaines, a second year RA at Gibbs Hall, advises residents who will be planning their own ‘dormsgiving’ to throw their party potluck style to alleviate the laborious culinary work from a single host.

 “Make sure it is about the friends having a good time, and not necessarily one person overworking to bring everything together,” Gaines said. 

The key for this to work lies in delegation of dishes. Assigning each dish to a guest avoids having extra helpings of stuffing. Or worse, an umpteen amount of silverware and napkins from the guests who love to avoid contributions that require any effort. 

When it comes to the main-course of every Thanksgiving dinner table, it’s best to leave turkey out of the delegated dishes. No matter how much any of us have watched our mother perfect the heralded family recipe, no one really wants to go through the hassle of brining and basting a turkey. 

William Johnson is the resident director of Sampson Hall. In his 23 years of serving in university housing, Johnson has noticed that pitching in to purchase a ready-to-eat meat is the best option. 

“If the meat is already pre-cooked, no one has to worry about undercooking the best part of the meal,” Johnson said.

The Honey Baked Ham Company and other local delis, like Publix, offer affordable cooked meats that can be pre-ordered and picked up fresh the day of. 

Most importantly, this holiday season is about appreciating those around you. So whether your “friendsgiving” is in the confines of a dorm or a college apartment, it’s the exchange of gratitude that truly matters.