Friends, Fun and FOOD

By: Brandon Baez, Emily Baio, Natasha Berlyne and Amanda Santiago


With Thanksgiving just around the corner, the Purchase community is getting ready to go home and de-stress from the chaos of college. Some plan to go home to celebrate, and spend the holiday with their families; others see this as a great opportunity to gather with their friends-- a celebration known as “Friendsgiving.”


John Byrnes, 38, the assistant housing coordinator of community engagements, is settling into his Friday morning before Thanksgiving with a cup of coffee on his desk. Although he usually celebrates both a traditional Thanksgiving and a more contemporary Friendsgiving, he makes sure his time with his friends is its own special event.


“We invite about 15 of our closest friends,” said Byrnes. “We rotate houses each year, it’s a potluck, so everyone brings a dish. We watch football, we hang out, we have a good time.”


Byrnes describes his Friendsgiving as a more casual affair. “It could be pizza, buffalo wings, it could be whatever anyone wants to bring.” Excitedly he adds, “My Friendsgiving is this weekend!”


Dante Barbera, 19, is rushing to his morning class. With the national holiday coming up, he is looking forward for his time with friends to begin. For his Friendsgiving, Barbera said, “Ten or 15 people show up. I’ll see them back at break. My family doesn't care, they don’t get jealous.”

Dante Barbera, 19, posing on a Friday morning before Friendsgiving weekend. (Photo by Amanda Santiago)

Barbera brings up a good point-- the holiday is more traditionally a family gathering, so spending it with friends instead might seem like it’s breaking an important tradition. However, in Byrnes’s case, his family loves it.


“They think it’s really cool because when my family and I celebrate Thanksgiving, it’s really small. It’s about eight people or so. This gives us a chance to actually have a bigger Thanksgiving with friends added,” Byrnes said.

Freshman Caroline Cahill prefers her Friendsgivings over her Thanksgiving with her family because her family doesn't do a traditional Thanksgiving.


“We don’t do much for Thanksgiving, but with my friends it’s like a big thing.” For her Friendsgiving, everyone contributes with a potluck. “Usually we all draw out of a hat which type of food we are going to cook,” said Cahill. Once she gets to the location of her friend’s house who is hosting the event, “We all just sit down together and start eating, talking and playing games.”

Caroline Cahill sitting outside of student services. (Photo by Emily Baio)

Although student Santiago Bautista does spend the holiday at home with his family, he sees the benefits of joining with friends for the holiday.


“I feel like it’s a nice gathering, especially if you haven’t seen each other for months. It’s a great opportunity to bond again and have that connection you used to have,” said Bautista. “One Thanksgiving, I did celebrate with my friends and it was a great experience, we bonded!”


Commuting student Jacqueline Moroney spends Thanksgiving mostly with her mom and her dog, but she also sometimes gets together with her friends.


“During the break, we’ll try to get together and watch Christmas movies and hang out. We consider it our special hang-out time; we all go to different schools, so it’s special when we do get to see each other.”

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