4 Tips for Hosting a Successful “Friendsgiving” at Your Retirement Community

Posted By on November 1, 2022

Thanksgiving is a holiday meant for sharing a meal with family and friends and practicing gratitude. However, it can be challenging to get the family together, whether they live far away or have busy schedules that don’t allow them enough time to celebrate. 

This is where “Friendsgiving” comes in! Friendsgiving became popular in recent years as a celebration option for those who couldn’t make it home for the holidays or those who have no family to spend Thanksgiving with.

At HarborChase Senior Living, we know that holidays are one of the most wonderful times of the year. If you’re searching for fun ways to celebrate the holiday season in your retirement community, we encourage you to host your own Friendsgiving! Here are our tips for hosting a successful celebration.

1. Invite Neighbors & Make New Friends

Moving to a retirement community is a wonderful opportunity to make new friends and find peers in a close-knit community. If you’re planning a Friendsgiving this year, invite those who are already your close friends and extend the invitation to those you don’t know yet or may be new to the community.

This is an excellent way to bring friends and new faces together for a delicious meal and a fun night! Plan some icebreaker activities, so everyone can get to know each other, play activities or games, and encourage connection and conversation.

2. Get Creative in the Kitchen

If you’ve ever seen “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving,” you’re probably familiar with the menu the characters decide on – buttered toast, jelly beans, popcorn, and pretzels. While this isn’t the most nutritious way to celebrate Friendsgiving, it does pose a good idea – use this as an opportunity to let your culinary skills shine! 

Try out unique recipes using certain traditional ingredients to add to your Friendsgiving spread:

Ask others to bring a creative dish as well for a fun pot-luck twist on a traditional meal.

You can also create a special cocktail menu for the occasion. Stick to classic fall flavors, such as cranberry, cinnamon, and apple, or bring out your inner mixologist by trying out some more complex flavors like pomegranate, sage, and thyme.

3. Decorate, Decorate, Decorate!

Think back to your school years or when your own children would come home right before Thanksgiving break; at some point, there was probably a teacher who sent students home with a fun Thanksgiving-themed craft. After all, what’s a holiday without decorations? Get crafty and create some fun and unique decorations for your table. You could even invite your neighbors and guests to help with a pre-Friendsgiving arts and crafts day. 

Make hand-drawn menus and cocktail lists for each person at the table, and add a special name card at each seat to make things fancy.

4. Be Thankful

Many families have a yearly tradition of going around the dinner table to share what they’re thankful for on Thanksgiving. From family and friends to other joyful moments in life, it’s important to use this holiday as a way to express gratitude for the things that make your life special. 

At your Friendsgiving, encourage your guests to do the same! There are also a few ways to get creative with giving thanks:

  • Create a gratitude basket to pass around the table, where everyone writes down the things they’re most thankful for on a piece of paper to add in.
  • Encourage guests to partake in a “show and tell,” where each person brings an item that represents what they’re thankful for.
  • Play a memory game, and ask each person to name something that makes them feel thankful, but with a fun catch: everyone must repeat the thanks of all the people who preceded them before adding their own to the list.

Living in a retirement community is the perfect setting to celebrate holidays and life’s special moments with friends and neighbors. Hosting a Friendsgiving celebration can strengthen relationships, welcome new residents, and start a tradition that can continue for years to come! 

We invite you to discover life in a HarborChase retirement community by visiting our website!