US Wealth Napolitano |

It is about that time of year when everyone starts to get really busy. Thanksgiving, holiday plans, and shopping starts to take over the conversation. My favorite part of the planning is when the family group text message or email chain starts. The topic never changes and it is difficult to figure out who is going to do what and when (especially being 1 of 9 kids!). It is at that point when it really hits home that everyone has so much going on.

I find that the group of people that it can be most challenging to see during this time of year are my friends. Not only do we not all live in the same town anymore, but not even the same state. Because of that, my college housemates and I started a new tradition amongst ourselves to have our own annual feast. This is when ‘Friendsgiving’ was born.

You may think the quality of food would be sub-par, but believe it or not it may be the best meal of the year. One of the main reasons for the successful meal is we have figured out who prepares what the best and that is what they have to bring (every single year). And for the people who cannot cook – they are in charge of the vino.

I am in charge of at least the mashed potatoes every year. When I was in high school and college I was a waiter at a small family owned restaurant. Luckily I was friendly with the head chef and he taught me a few tricks, mainly their famous mashed potatoes. I cannot give away all of my secrets, but I can let you know two large hints. The first is to use a handful of freshly cut chives. The next (and my personal favorite) is I buy a block of fresh parmesan reggiano cheese, grind it, and place it into the potatoes as I am mashing them. This replaces the saltiness with something that is hard to explain with words on a page.

After we eat enough food for a small army we sit around the table and tell stories. Over the years the conversation has changed and now it seems to revolve around who was married most recently and who is on deck.

As we make plans for next year it looks like I will be hosting. This means that we will once again have to bring out the turkey injector (best invention for cooking a turkey) and start working on a new twist to the famous mashed potatoes. Friendsgiving is an exciting tradition that we hope to keep together forever. Hopefully this sparks some ideas and you plan time to get together with your friends before you get to your destinations on Thursday of next week. Until next time…

This article was written by Alexander G. Weiss, CFP®