Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Ok, I get it, slapping doesn’t sound like the most warm and loving thing, but if there are any “How I Met Your Mother” fans out there, you know that Slapsgiving is about more than slapping Barney Stinson. For those of you (in my humble opinion, awful) people who don’t embrace the awesomeness of “How I Met Your Mother,” on the day of Slapsgiving, the show’s main characters get together to celebrate Thanksgiving together as friends, settle their differences and yes, slap Barney.

Since the early elementary school days when you learned about Thanksgiving through those cute school plays that pretended Europeans were nice to Native Americans, you’ve been told that Thanksgiving is the day we should come together with family and commemorate what we’re thankful for. But as a girl who’s had issues with her family, I’ve always had more thanks for my friends. They were the ones who stood by me through my anxiety attacks, through my crippling moments of self-doubt, through that time I had to sing “Wrecking Ball” for the National Honor Society Initiation. So to me, it just made more sense to celebrate Thanksgiving with my friends; they’ve done more for me than anyone else.

Thus my own version of Slapsgiving was born.  For the past three years, I’ve held a second Thanksgiving-style dinner at my house the Saturday after the actual holiday, complete with a homemade turkey, garlic mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. Oh and yes, we have one slap bet per year which results in someone taking a seat in the Slapping Throne to be slapped as hard as possible.

But beyond the hilarious Facebook videos it produces, Slapsgiving has given me and my friends so much more. It’s given us the chance to connect and celebrate like few people do anymore. We’ve all had late night Taco Bell runs with friends and shoveled down food together at the dining commons, but very rarely do we actually take the time to share a home cooked meal and just, well, talk. And that’s why I will yell at you if you text at my dinner table (I don’t invite people just to ignore me).  People have congregated around dining tables for thousands of years instead of just eating solo; it means something more to break bread (gluten free or not) with people who matter to you, to spend that quality time together, to eat a meal that someone has put love into.

Thanksgiving is the time to celebrate who you’re grateful for, and sometimes it’s not just your family. It’s your friends, your pets, your professors or even the janitorial staff who cleaned up your pig sty of a dorm. So don’t forget this Thursday to celebrate everyone who’s made a positive impact on your life, big or small. And to my friends, thank you for everything you’ve done for me, for loving me even when I’ve been a nightmare to deal with. And one last shout out to those HIMYM fans, I hope you skip the “Blitz” and have an awesome Slapsgiving!