In addition to spending Thanksgiving with your family this year, why not start a new tradition and have a “Friends Thanksgiving”? This is a great way to spend time with and honor your friendships, and the families of your friends. As an annual event, your friends and their children will be excited year after year as the event approaches and everyone can spend the day together once again. My friends have been gathering for Friends Thanksgiving for 7 years in a row. Here’s how we do it.

There is normally a core set of friends that host the event. For me and my friends, there are 4 of us and our spouses/significant others. We select the date and location for Friends Thanksgiving sometime in September. We normally have 30 – 50 people present for our events now, so a large enough kitchen for all of us to cook and prepare food is required. We like to use the Sunday 2 weeks prior to Thanksgiving to ensure everyone is available. In early October, we notify all of our other friends of the date and we begin tallying the guest list. Anyone invited can bring their family and their friends as well. For us, the more the merrier!

As we approach the date, we pick a time to meet at the house the event will be held at on the Saturday before Friends Thanksgiving. On that Saturday, the core set of friends meet. This year, we met at 3pm. We determine the menu, the drinks, and the desert selection. Then, we go shopping together! What a great time that is!! We always end up telling stories, discussing issues, discussing our futures, and looking forward to watching our children play together as we always said they would. We bring back all of the food and start preparing. As we prepare, we have drinks, play card games, and talk all night. This year we ended preparations around midnight.

We decided to meet this year at 10am the following day (though I was late!!). We began cooking, preparing the tables, setting up the place settings, and laying out the area and activities the kids would engage in. As our friends, their families and their friends began to arrive, it was a joyous occasion! Some of us haven’t seen one another since last year’s Friends Thanksgiving. The kids got bigger, some important life changes were announced, and we all had a chance to catch up on one another’s lives.

Then came dinner! The food was outstanding this year (as it is every year). We had several toasts, and then we ate our faces off!!! Every year gets better and better! Even the after dinner cleanup is a fun event. We are friends, so we don’t leave the cleanup to the owners of the house. We all chip in and have fun as we do it.

The hard part of the evening is saying goodbye. It is rare to get all of your friends, their families, and their friends together in one place on a consistent basis. The hugs are warm, the tears are streaming, and the love we share as an extended family runs deep. As we say goodbye, we all talk about next year, and sharing Friends Thanksgiving once more!

Words don’t do justice to this absolutely fantastic event. I hope we can do it for the rest of our lives, and that our children will carry the tradition forward after we are gone. For now, I’m happy just knowing that we’ve already begun thinking about next year’s Friends Thanksgiving.

My life has been truly enriched by my friends. As we look towards the actual Thanksgiving holiday my thoughts rest of my appreciation of my friends, their wisdom, and their undying support of all I plan to do. The impossible seems probably with their trust in my vision, and their faith and confidence in my abilities.

To my friends, I love you and give thanks for your presence in my life!

Author's Bio: 

James LeGrand is the Author of "Evolve!", an Amazon.com best seller in Religion and Spirituality. He is also the publisher of http://www.SpiritualIndividual.com, a free weekly newsletter that presents solutions to life’s issues through the lens of self-help, wisdom, philosophy and spirituality. In addition, James LeGrand is a Life Strategist, an Expert Author with SelfGrowth.com & EzineArticles.com, a former Radio Personality, a Fortune 500 Vice President, and a Sifu in Shaolin Kungfu, which has been known for centuries as a pathway to spiritual enlightenment.