Sometime in recent history, the concept of the “Friendsgiving” entered the holiday lexicon. Unlike a Thanksgiving celebrated at home with family or out at a restaurant, Friendsgiving refers to a gathering among the chosen family of our lives, and this occasion usually involves plenty of booze and a lot more vegan options. Sure, it’s pretty much a fake holiday, but if you find yourself geographically separated — or needing a break from — your real family on Thanksgiving, a fun, informal, but nonetheless food-filled, gathering with friends might be the perfect thing. If you’re heading to a Friendsgiving this season, or really any holiday gathering, it’s against New Orleans style to show up empty-handed. Here are a few ideas for things you can bring over, and where in New Orleans to get them, to ensure you are invited to Friendsgivings for years to come.
1. Wine. This is a requirement for all holiday gatherings, especially for New Year’s Eve when Champagne is a necessity. There are plenty of wine shops in New Orleans, but Pearl Wine Co in Mid-City takes the cake for offering a “Thanksgiving Pairing Hotline.” Call the store at 504-483-6314, tell them your Thanksgiving/Friendsgiving menu, and they’ll give you a pairing and offer free delivery. Otherwise, Keife & Co. in the Warehouse District is my pick for a place to pick up wine and other sundries.
2. Food. No matter how nontraditional your Friensdsgiving gathering may be, everyone seems to crave the comforting flavor profiles of typical Thanksgiving fare. If you feel like cooking, check out our roundup of holiday recipes here. If you call before tomorrow night, you can still place a catering order at Cochon Butcher, which is offering classic sides like mac and cheese and green bean casserole but probably way better than what you remember from childhood. Outside of Thanksgiving, Butcher is always good to hit up before a party to grab some of their house-cured meats and sausages and delicious desserts. Speaking of …
3. Sweets. What’s a -giving of any sort without a pie? Grab one from Ps & Qs. Other good choices for treats are chocolates from Bittersweet Confections or the endlessly creative donuts from District (Donuts at Thanksgiving? That’s what’s cool about Friendsgiving — you can make your own rules).
4. Flowers. New Orleans is in the midst of what’s been called the “farm-to-vase movement,” with urban flower farms sprouting up around town providing beautiful blooms — which surely beats bring a stale bouquet from a grocery store to a friend’s house. NOLA’s local florists, including Pistil & Stamen Flower Farm & Studio and Cow Apple Horticulture, sell bouquets on their own and via the service Good Eggs.
5. Host gift. If you want to be remembered as a great guest, bring something over that will be there after everyone’s cleared their plates. SOPO, the women’s boutique in Mid-City, has plenty of cheeky host gifts — cocktail napkins, coasters, servingware — and also plenty of irreverent cards available so you can send an unforgettable thank-you note. I like the FrostFlex party cups by local company Southern Creed, which come brandished in many NOLA-centric patterns. They’re available at SOPO, Plum and Hattie Sparks.