Most people have at least heard the term “Friendsgiving.” Like a traditional Thanksgiving, you cook copious amounts of food, over-indulge, give thanks, and enjoy the company of friends on some weekend in November. It’s a great way to extend the concept of Thanksgiving beyond the dinner you have with your family, or still celebrate when you just can’t get home that year. In my younger days, Friendsgivings were all the rage. Now that I’m older, a new thing has taken Friendsgiving’s place—Fakesgiving.

The idea is actually pretty simple. Thanksgiving isn’t a date, it’s a concept. Fakesgiving is about acknowledging the fact that you can sit down with family, share turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin, and express gratitude any day of the year. You don’t have to wait till the third Thursday of November. You don’t even have to wait until fall. You can do it whenever you want. And that’s what Fakesgiving’s all about, Charlie Brown (wait, wrong Charlie Brown holiday special!).

Alright, you might be asking, “Sure, but…why?” Why not just stick with turkey day?” I get it. Why complicate things. Especially around the holidays?. That’s not what Fakesgiving does. Fakesgiving actually acknowledges that, sometimes, the system is broken. Sometimes, the date Thanksgiving falls on just doesn’t work. As we get older, getting together with friends on some random Saturday in the fall is easier than getting to your mom’s place on Thanksgiving. The thing is, you still very much want to enjoy your traditional feast with family. In those instances, Fakesgiving improvises. At those times, it says, “To heck with the calendar, conflicts, or circumstances! Getting together with family, giving thanks, eating way too much, watching football, arguing a little bit with your over-opinionated cousin, and passing out on the couch is too important to miss.”

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If you find yourself not yet on board with the concept, let me run down a few scenarios that changed my mind. Imagine you love Thanksgiving. Imagine your delight in a holiday that’s all about food. You’re on Chowhound right now, so probably not a stretch, right? Continue to imagine the excitement you feel when you think of all your favorite dishes, prepared just how your mom, or grandma, or dad used to make them. Sounds great, right?

Okay, now imagine getting married, and having to decide where to spend Thanksgiving, your side’s or your in-laws’. Whether it’s you or your spouse, someone is likely to leave the meal missing (at least a little bit) their holiday favorites. Unless you Fakesgiving! Yeah, one family might get you on the actual day, but that doesn’t mean you can’t plan a Fakesgiving with the other family for some other day. This way, everybody wins. And if you’re worried about one side constantly getting “stuck” with Fakesgiving, offer to alternate years. Then again, you might find one side actually likes Fakesgiving better.   

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Or, let’s say one of your family members has a conflict on Thanksgiving day. Maybe your sister has a work commitment that will keep her out of town. Maybe your vacation plans changed this year and you won’t be in town for your family’s feast. It’s okay. Just plan a Fakesgiving! With a full, four-day weekend (that sometimes gets extended a day), Thanksgiving can be a great time to get away, particularly if you are willing to travel on the holiday, itself. Rather than miss out on some great deals, host Fakesgiving the weekend before the holiday.

Perhaps you were like me last year, and are expecting a new member of the family mid-to-late November. You don’t want to mess around with the anxiety of wondering whether your little bundle of joy will put your Thanksgiving in jeopardy at the last minute. So, just explain the situation to your respective families, and suggest a great way to celebrate stress free with a Fakesgiving. Ancillary benefit: Thanksgiving grocery shopping is so much easier when you’re stocking up two weeks ahead of time!

The point is, life gets busy. New relationships, new kids, different jobs, more responsibility, less time—these responsibilities can and have pulled us away from our families on holidays. Where Friendsgiving is about extending traditions to include more people, Fakesgiving is about preserving traditions, even when life gets hectic.

Related Video: These Squash Tortellini Are a Friendsgiving Must

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Greg is a Chicago guy who likes to cook, dine, and help others navigate their food choices. Why? Because food is an integral part of our lives, he's the best version of himself when he's well fed, and he wants to help others more consistently make a routine activity into something special. When he's not writing, he's watching sports, searching out ways to laugh, offering unsolicited-yet-rational positions on social media, handling the domestic responsibilities of a husband and dad, and figuring out his next meal.
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