November is all about cozy sweaters, autumn vibes, and delicious holiday pies. But what happens when you don't have a "real" fall season, and want to host a Californian Thanksgiving? Don't worry — I totally have your back. As a New Yorker-turned-Californian, I know all about the struggle of finding those Thanksgiving feels in the Golden State. While I can't deny the amazingness of Cali's beautiful weather, a part of me misses those crunchy leaves and crisp fall air. It goes without saying that these are the things that set the mood for Thanksgiving.
Thankfully, I've figured out a way to enjoy Thanksgiving in a state that basically has one season. It all comes down to bringing in those quintessential Cali elements that make this place so unique and special. By combining those aspects with traditional Thanksgiving components, you can get the best of both worlds (and coasts!).
If you're looking to throw your own Californian Thanksgiving, I encourage you to add your own personal spin to my ideas and suggestions. For the ultimate Friendsgiving, get your girl gang in on the fun. I promise that it will be way less stressful this way. Before you know it, you'll be celebrating the best West Coast Thanksgiving a lady can ask for.
1. Host a Picnic
Californians love the great outdoors. In order to channel those true Cali vibes, host your Thanksgiving dinner (or lunch!) right alongside Mother Nature. Thanks to California's diverse landscape, you'll have multiple options. Want to stay in the city? Head to a closest park and set up shop. You can also hike into the beautiful mountains, or soak up the sun on the beach.
For this Thanksgiving picnic, we used a gorgeous Mexican serape blanket to channel California's awesome culture and influence.
2. Make Nature-Inspired Place Cards
Since we're on the topic of embracing nature, let's talk about making place cards. While assigned seating at a picnic is silly, place cards are still fun (and easy) to make.
Not sure where to start? Grab a few seashells, twigs, or palm tree leaves. Tape or glue strips of paper to each piece for an instant place card. Done and done.
3. Pour Some Wine
A California-themed Thanksgiving isn't complete without a heavy helping of wine. The state produces almost 90 percent of the country's wine, after all.
As always, check if there are any rules regarding alcohol in the area you're dining in. If so, it's best to leave the red at home, and drink up later. Let's not get in trouble with the law..
4. Make Thanksgiving Burritos
Known for the most spot-on Mexican food you could ever ask for, California sure knows how to serve an awesome burrito. And if you're going to celebrate Thanksgiving in Cali, you might as well serve a burrito. Am I right or am I right?
That's where this mouthwatering Thanksgiving burrito recipe comes in. Made with turkey, beans, stuffing, and cranberry sauce, this burrito features all the traditional ingredients. It even has a salsa verde gravy. If that doesn't scream California, I don't know what does.
5. Serve A Special Fusion Food
Spend a few days in California, and you'll notice the state's adoration for combining different types of foods. We're talking about everything from Korean BBQ burgers to sushi burritos. Are you drooling yet?
To make your own special fusion food, try out these cranberry sauce Jell-O shots (aside from the Thanksgiving burrito, of course). These are simple enough to make in your own kitchen, and super easy to divvy up between friends.
While planning and hosting any get-together can be stressful, I hope these ideas will push you in the right direction. Take a deep breath, and have fun with it. Gotta keep that West Coast cool, after all.
For more Thanksgiving ideas, check out Bustle on YouTube.
Images: Kirsten Nunez