Mandy Moore has a lot to be thankful for this year.
“The thing I appreciate most about Thanksgiving is the unabashed vulnerability,” the This Is Us star tells PEOPLE at a Friendsgiving lunch.
“It’s like a year in review, taking stock of everything that happened and feeling like you have the leeway to speak from the heart. That’s my favorite tradition of any sort of holiday like this.”
The actress, 33, has been celebrating Friendsgiving for the past few years. “We’ve bucked tradition,” Moore said at an event presented by American Express’ Blue Cash Everyday. “Family is there but it’s a lot of friends as well. It’s potluck and it’s casual and we all sit around and it ebbs and flows. People come for a drink and go for dinner somewhere else and then come back and have pie. It’s so much fun.”
This year, Moore will be celebrating at the home of her future in-laws, the parents of her fiancé, Dawes frontman Taylor Goldsmith. “My mother-in-law is going to do the brunt of the work,” she says. “She’s the best. I love her so much!”
And Moore won’t show up empty handed. “I like to do some sort of Brussels sprouts situation,” she says. “Last year I did a raw Brussels sprouts salad that was pretty popular. I like to bring dessert as well because I have a gluten intolerance, so I like to bring a gluten free option because that’s not always going to be available. I have this Paleo pumpkin pie that I’ve made the last couple of years that is excellent.”
Next year, Moore is ready to take on the hosting duty herself. “[Taylor and I] have been sort of floating around since we’ve been together,” says the star, who is building a dream home with Goldsmith. “We haven’t had a home of our own or a kitchen of our own. Soon enough! We’re just barely missing getting into the house for the holidays. I told [my mother-in-law]: ‘next year you don’t have to worry about anything!’ ”
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As far as wedding plans, Moore admits, “I am not a super traditional girl when it comes to the wedding and engagement.” Says the star: “I don’t like being the center of attention. I feel uncomfortable! I’m not looking to have a big lavish affair.”
Still, the actress loved the chance for a sweet celebration of her engagement in September at a brunch with close girlfriends. “We played a few games, but my favorite part was when we went around and my friends that are married gave advice about what marriage means to them. It was really beautiful.”
The games got heated too. “We did Pictionary and it was all bridal-themed. I’m not competitive but you find out who your competitive friends are!”
Moore says she’s planning a “girls trip” in lieu of a traditional bachelorette, but hasn’t yet made many wedding plans. “We’re starting to get into it,” says the star. Of the nuptials, “it will be quiet and private and hopefully it will happen and then you guys will find out about it. I’ll give you all the details after!”
Moore shares more Friendsgiving tips with Amex’s Blue Cash Everyday.