What the heck is Friendsgiving? Well, it’s a party we have every year the day before Thanksgiving with friends.


We started doing this without planning or intention. When we moved from the east coast to California in 2009, we started seeing one of my husband’s oldest and dearest friends on the day before Thanksgiving. He is always traveling through to go to a Thanksgiving event every year a little north of us. The first time he came to visit, my parents happened to be here for Thanksgiving also. My Italian mother made spaghetti for everyone and we drank wine, ate and talked for hours in our wine country rental house. Good times.

Friendsgiving was born!

Year after year, we started to meet up for brunch or dinner. It wasn’t until we moved to Napa that the day became an official party. We started to make new friends here and we would invite them, as well hubs’ friend and his brother who started coming as well. Sometimes the party is small and sometimes larger – it changes every year. But the constant is getting together with friends on the day before Thanksgiving.


This year, like last, I’m pretty busy working up to the event so I’m making a fun and casual carnitas party. I can do a great deal of it in advance, which makes the party fun and relaxing for me, too. We’ll have snacks first, like pork rinds and jalapeno jelly turnovers while we swig margaritas, beer and wine. After we’ve caught up with each other and had a couple drinks, I usually make a buffet for the main course of crispy pork shoulder carnitas, black beans and rice, coleslaw, fresh tortillas and three salsas – essential tomato, green tomatillo with avocado and dried chile salsa. Dessert will be Mexican chocolate chip cookies and my neighbor’s caramel slices.

One of the things I’ve loved watching is my new friends in Napa making friends with my husband’s friend and his brother who live in the Midwest. They now both ask every year to ensure the other is coming. It’s satisfying to bring people together who like and enjoy each other’s company.


My whole life, I always wanted to have a traditional Christmas party every year. Until recently, I never could because my time was always eaten up by year-end company financials, work events and such. I realized recently that Friendsgiving is so much better than what I dreamed of because there’s no pressure, no worries – it’s not tied to any expectations that anyone has of a certain tradition. I can go with how much time I have that year, change the menu, change up the size of the party and everyone is still happy.

What are you doing the day before Thanksgiving? Try out a Friendsgiving party some time and I think you’ll see what I mean!