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Femme Problems 145: Hosting Friendsgiving

Young woman holding turkey, Thanksgiving

They say it’s the most wonderful time of the year, the happiest season of all. With those holiday greetings and gay happy meetings when friends come to call, the holiday season gives us much to celebrate and look forward to. And, that includes Friendsgiving, a time where neighbors and friends get together to share food, fun, and memories.

I love Friendsgiving. Despite the headache, the massive rush to buy groceries, having to clean the house, and plan an epic dinner party for people who will most likely show up an hour late with only massive amounts of alcohol in tow, I wouldn’t trade my Friendsgiving tradition for anything in the world.

Friendsgiving has always outweighed the importance of Thanksgiving in my book. After all, Thanksgiving is reserved for family, but the reality is that for many of us who fall on the LGBTQ spectrum, friends have replaced our family. If you’re anything like me, you may feel a pang of longing during the holiday season. You may see your friends’ Facebook statuses and check-ins with parents who openly accept their sexuality or gender expression and wonder, “why can’t that be me?”

Well, I quit wasting my time wondering why my family doesn’t look like the one featured in Christmas commercials and cookbooks, choosing instead to cling to the hope and excitement that Friendsgiving offers. Even if you are fortunate enough to have an accepting and LGBTQ affirming family—or in my case, marry into one—D.C. is a transient city, and for some of us, we simply come from too far a place to be able to travel for a small three or four day window. So, we rely on our friends to fill the gap, and thus Friendsgiving has become a staple in our holiday plans.

Knowing the importance of this underrated informal holiday, I tend to take my duties as hostess a little too seriously. I want the biggest turkey I can find. I want to rearrange the furniture to fit as many friends in our living room and dining room as possible. My type A personality wants to create a Google doc and ask friends to sign up for dishes and volunteer to bring the non-negotiables, such as mashed potatoes, buttermilk biscuits, green bean casserole, and candied yams. I want and need everything to be perfect.

But I’m reminded that while I may take my host duties a little too seriously and may stress a little too much about the seating arrangements, Friendsgiving really isn’t about all that. It’s not about the show; it’s about the showing up.

It’s hard to keep up with friends, especially during the holiday season. With work, relationships, traveling, and juggling various family holiday obligations, friendships often take a backseat, but Friendsgiving is a time to rectify that—a time to celebrate the new friends you’ve made, and perhaps allow a sly smile to dance across your face as you think back to the ones you’ve happily let go. The circle of people that will join me and my fiancé at the table this year is a motley crew of inspirational women: police officers, navy and army veterans, and people who make me thankful every day.

Happy Friendsgiving!