In 2017, I was living in Brooklyn and was asked by my roommate if I wanted to do a Friendsgiving. At that time, I had my fair share of Thanksgiving experiences—from candle-lit family set-ups to cooking seven giant turkeys for 100 hungry mouths. But never a “Friendsgiving.” Is it just a desperate attempt to recreate an episode of Friends because we couldn’t be with our families?
And yet, I was wrong to be skeptical. What I thought was a “hipster thing” in the beginning became a full-fledged yearly mission for me ever since—because, sometimes, your friends are your family. And when I moved to Paris a few years ago, I brought this new-age tradition with me. Each year, I gather my expat friends, and I have successfully converted them to be devoted to this American holiday.
Whether it’s your first time or not, here’s how you can have a stellar Friendsgiving in Paris.
If You’re Hosting
It isn’t Thanksgiving if there isn’t turkey. I insist on this—you can always have rotisserie chicken the rest of the year in Paris, but not the holy dinde. As the host, you’ll automatically be assigned the turkey duty (and, by extension, the gravy) and nothing but those two, or else you’ll go foufou!
Take a proactive role in ensuring everyone’s dietary needs are met, including allergies, and that the potluck menu is well designated to your gang. Try to match each dish to everyone’s personality—the lazy cook could roast the veggies, the one with the sweet tooth could take care of the desserts, and the vegetarian could make the salad—as long as they’re willing!
Contrary to the fifth commandment of Friendsgiving, if you’re blessed with a large kitchen, you may want to offer for your friends to cook at your place. Ici, c’est Paris and not everyone has an oven. When organized right, it could be fun and shouldn’t be overwhelming.
If You’re Invited
Never come empty-handed, regardless whether you were assigned a dish or not. In France, there is an unspoken rule that, when you’re invited, you shouldn’t bring anything as it is taking the pleasure away from the host to welcome you. While not everyone observes that in Paris, you can never go wrong if you bring a bottle of wine.
Don’t be shy to ask your friends what other things need helping with—that could be the decor, to-go containers, or even games!
If you’re celebrating
Don’t always expect your mom’s flawless table layout. In Paris, we live in tiny spaces. From chambres de bonne to squeaky Haussmannian floorings, the ability to seat people “properly” in a dining area can be a luxury.
Be open to changes and new traditions. Invite a newbie to your close-knit clique. Have a casserole you haven’t tried before. Maybe try karaoke and sing your heart out (and pray that the neighbors don’t knock)!
Lastly, never forget the core of Thanksgiving which is coming together and giving thanks. Yes, we do love to talk and maybe complain (especially à Paris!) but keep it light and enjoy. After all, there’s always something to be thankful for.
- Just wanna dine out for Thanksgiving in Paris instead? Here’s where to go!
- A great read: An American’s Guide to Thanksgiving in Paris
- Check out What to do in Paris in November
Written by Maikka Piquemal for HIP Paris. Looking to travel? Check out Plum Guide and our Marketplace for fabulous vacation rentals in Paris, France or Italy. Looking to rent long or short term, or buy in France? Ask us! We can connect you to our trusted providers for amazing service and rates or click here. Looking to bring France home to you or to learn online or in person? Check out our marketplace shop and experiences.