“Home for the holidays” isn’t always as pleasant as it sounds. For me, after my mom passed away in 2010, there wasn’t really a “home” to go to anymore. My husband, Travis, and I spend most holidays with his family – and they’re lovely. But I’m well aware not everyone feels that way about their in-laws.
Even the most well-intended family members can get under our skin during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.
Catching Up Or Interrogation
Annual gatherings are a prime-time for catching up with extended family members. But, for anyone living a lifestyle that is less-than-ideal from their family’s perspective, the childfree almost always included, catching up can feel more like an interrogation.
Can you relate to this conversation between a Mom and a Childfree woman?
CF: Happy holidays. How have you been?
Mom: Yes, good … How long have you two been together now?
CF: Five years.
Mom: When are you going to start a family?
CF: Well, we are a family.
Mom: No, a real family. When are you going to have kids?
CF: Oh. We don’t have a desire to parent.
Mom: You know, a woman’s fertility steadily decreases after age 35.
CF: I’ve heard that. (Fingers crossed, the shells on my eggs are hardening up as we speak!)
Mom: You would make a great mother!
Mom: Raising my children was the hardest, most challenging thing I’ve ever done. But I’d do it all over again!
CF: (I thought she was trying to convince me to have kids???)
Mom: You should totally have children. You’ll regret not parenting.
CF: You might be right. But we could regret parenting – and I’d rather regret not parenting.
Mom: Oh. You only regret the things you don’t do.
CF: (!?Whaaa?!) That’s not true. I regret plenty of things I’ve done.
Mom: Pish, posh – I hope your birth control fails. You need to experience motherhood!
CF: (blood starts boiling)
Conversation continues … for much too long … nothing is resolved.
Why We’re Hosting A Childfree Friendsgiving
We’re very thankful for our childfree friends and their support of our childfree lifestyle. That’s why we’ve decided to stay at our home for the Thanksgiving holiday and host a Friendsgiving celebration. Our headcount is currently at 10 and I couldn’t be more excited!
What is Friendsgiving?
Friendsgiving is a time when friends gather together over a Thanksgiving-style feast. If you enjoy the company of children, a Friendsgiving doesn’t have to be childfree (Gasp!), but I’m going to share about celebrating without kiddos…
Travis and I attempted to host a childfree Friendsgiving last year, and in short – it was a flop. We’d only been living in our new town for 5 months, so perhaps we were a bit over-ambitious to consider hosting a holiday. When the few interested guests RSVPed “no” we were left to make plans on our own.
We agreed we didn’t want to go through the trouble of cooking a big meal for just the two of us. So instead, we took the scenic route for an overnight stay at a casino in the neighboring state. (No one under 21 allowed!) We had Thanksgiving dinner at the all-you-can-eat buffet. And I’m not gonna lie – turkey and sweet potatoes with a side of crab legs and three desserts suited me just fine!
Good News And More Good News
Maybe you’re like we were a year ago: you want to host a Friendsgiving, but haven’t yet developed a close network of friends nearby. There is good news and more good news for you! Good news: Thanksgiving can be fun solo or as a couple. More good news: you have an entire year to build relationships and get ready for hosting a Friendsgiving next holiday season.
Check out my blog post The Childfree Are Hidden In Plain Sight to read about how we started a Childfree MeetUp. It includes links to help you find other childfree folks and form the friendships you desire.
Until then, the holiday menu I’ve created (shown at the end of this post) includes recipes with portions that serve two!
And How You Can, Too
If you do have a group of childfree friends who live in your area and you’ll be at your home for the holiday … you can host a Friendsgiving, too!
My hubby and I will be hosting our celebration on Thanksgiving Day. But Friendsgiving can be held on whatever day works best for the group of friends. The Saturday after Thanksgiving, when everyone is recovering from Black Friday shopping, may be ideal!
Who To Invite
Friendsgiving is for your friends: your second family. The family of people you choose, referred to by many as their “tribe.”
We’ve met most of our childfree tribe through MeetUp.com so I posted the invitation to our Friendsgiving on our Childfree MeetUp page. I also followed up with a text. Invitations to your holiday celebration can be posted online or sent by text, email, or an invitation mailed snail mail.
Set The Mood
As host, you set the mood for the holiday. By hosting Friendsgiving, you decide how fancy or cozy the day will be.
Make a Spotify play list and set the table with cloth napkins, wine and water glasses, candles and place cards … OR …
Use paper plates, plastic flatware, and tv trays and turn on ESPN for background noise.
I’m going for a combo of sorts. I’m planning to use my grandmother’s china, but am insisting guests dress comfortably … fat pants required! Travis and I want everyone to feel at home and stay to play games after dinner.
What are your favorite group games to play? Leave a reply below – I want your suggestions!
The Rule For Food
The general rule of Friendsgiving is that the host provides the turkey. But if you’re childfree, you’re likely willing to break a few rules! So, anything goes.
For a small group, a Cornish hen per guest has a super fancy presentation and is a great alternative to preparing an entire turkey. But heck, you don’t have to cook at all – arrange for catering or eat at a restaurant! Do whatever works best for you and your friends.
My advice (that I rarely follow! -eyeroll- ) is: Don’t overcommit yourself.
I decided on potluck style for our Friendsgiving meal. I’ve asked guests to bring their favorite holiday dish to share. I’m coordinating to ensure variety, but the stress of food prep was dramatically decreased by choosing potluck style. Also, by asking guests to bring their favorite holiday dishes, we’ll all get to know each other a bit better!
Holiday Recipes To Serve 2 or 10
If you do decide to cook and you’re new to holiday meal prep, let me help! I’ve included a basic holiday meal menu with recipes (to serve two or ten) below. Feel free to use it in its entirety or just for some inspiration.