College students across the country are flocking home for Thanksgiving break in droves—many have already been picked up at the airport. Even the students who still live with their parents and commute to campus are also planning to enjoy huge traditional dinners with plenty of food, family, and fun.
But others are starting a new Thanksgiving tradition this year, or maybe its not even quite that new. Students who simply go to college too far from home to justify the pricy travel expenses for just three or four days are staying put to enjoy Thanksgiving dinners with their friends at school.
Openly admitting that its a bit of a cliché, one Florida State University student told Tallahassee.com that his college friends are literally his second family. And although hes feeling a bit sad that he wont be travelling from Florida to see his real family in New England, FSUs Dante Disabatino is remaining positive that his new tradition will be a fun one.
Considering that his Christmas break will fall just two weeks after Thanksgiving, a common schedule at many colleges across the country, the FSU junior knows that hell be home shortly, another fact that makes his alternative holiday celebration even more bearable. Another added bonus? Going to the incredibly popular FSU vs. UF football game on the Saturday after Thanksgivingthe two Florida state universities are longtime football rivals.
Even though a turkey dinner with friends probably wont be quite as fancy as what some students will be experiencing back home, it most likely means far less holiday stress than most formal family events. The fact that classes wont be in session also offers an opportunity to relax or prepare for upcoming finals.
If youre staying at school for the holidayor even if youre nota potluck dinner is the easiest way to ensure everyone gets fed without causing anyone to spend a fortune. A few suggestions:
1. Estimate how many people there will be. Even if you’re off by a few people, you need an idea to work with.
2. Choose a meeting spot that has enough room to accommodate everyone, such as a common area in a residence hall or someones off-campus apartment.
3. Write a rough draft of traditional Thanksgiving foods like turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie, as well as any of the guests favorite dishes.
4. The turkey will most likely be the most expensive item on the menu, so a good way to go about this is ask everyone to contribute a few dollars to the turkey pot. To make things even easier, you can purchase a pre-cooked turkey or turkey breast that only requires heating up from a supermarket or restaurant. This will take a lot of time and effort out of actually cooking a turkey.
5. Once the turkey is taken care of, ask the guests to select which other item they will be responsible for bringing to the potluck dinner. Everyone can sign up to bring something. Just like the turkey, many traditional side dishes are available pre-cooked for a reasonable pricetheres no need to aim for Martha Stewart-like perfection here!
6. If you dont have easy access to real dishes and silverware, theres no shame in using paper plates and plastic utensils. Visit a local dollar store, and you might even find paper products decorated with fall foliage, turkeys or Pilgrims.
So while its true that a Thanksgiving dinner with your college friends will be different than the holiday meals you grew accustomed to back home, its still possible to have a lot of fun and make plenty of memories in the process!
Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.
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