Just as Christmas can be celebrated with friends through Secret Santa and White Elephant gift exchanges, and Valentine’s Day can be a day to show love for friends rather than a significant other, Friendsgiving is a spinoff of the traditional Thanksgiving holiday to show appreciation for friendships made over the years.
Merriam Webster dictionary defines Friendsgiving as “a large meal eaten with friends either on or near Thanksgiving.”
There are numerous theories about where the term “Friendsgiving” came from. According to an article from Bustle, the millennial generation was the first to start this celebration. It began when millennials who planned to graduate college with successful careers unfortunately ended up being rejected from the real jobs they had taken out tens of thousands of dollars in student loans to train for. Because they were in debt and struggling to make ends meet, no one could afford a plane ticket home to celebrate Thanksgiving with their families, so they ate whatever food they had with roommates and friends instead.
Others believe the term “Friendsgiving” was coined by the popular television show Friends. According to Bustle, the show had multiple episodes featuring a Thanksgiving feast shared by close friends and roommates at Monica’s apartment. However, an article from Real Simple magazine reports that “the show Friends is known for popularizing the idea, but the word “Friendsgiving” really dates back to 2007, a few years after Friends went off the air.”
Another occurrence that increased the popularity of the new holiday was an ad campaign that promoted Bailey’s Irish Cream. Real Simple magazine stated that “the liqueur company asked several influencers to participate by featuring their product in a meal with friends.” This gave the Friendsgiving holiday exposure and encouraged friends to come together and celebrate with food and drinks.
According to the Atlantic, “In the past five or so years, hosting a Thanksgiving meal among friends a week before the actual holiday has become a standard part of the celebration for many young adults.” But in recent years, Friendsgiving has also become popular among high school students. Senior Nate Schlabach has attended 2 Friendsgiving feasts before and enjoys them because he gets to see friends who live out of town. “Friendsgiving is a great opportunity to have a celebration focused on appreciating amazing friendships rather than just a casual hangout,” said Schlabach.
The majority of people host or attend Friendsgivings so that they can give thanks for their friends, in addition to family members and relatives. Senior Zach Konvolinka is looking forward to attending his first Friendsgiving this year. “Usually for Thanksgiving I stay home and spend the day with my family. This year I am excited to celebrate Friendsgiving, in addition to Thanksgiving, because I get to make a new holiday tradition with my friends who are basically my second family.”
There are many reasons Friendsgiving has become so popular among young adults today. Some people prefer Friendsgiving because of how affordable and informal it is compared to a fancy Thanksgiving dinner.
Another perk is how customizable the celebration is. Friends can choose what food they want to eat, how casual or formal they dress and what time they get together. They can personalize Friendsgiving to fit their group of friends and their shared interests. Senior Colleen Scheer loves how informal and customizable Friendsgiving is. “This year, a lot of my friends are going out of town for Thanksgiving, so it’s nice that we could plan to meet earlier in the day and eat brunch before everyone leaves,” said Scheer.
Also, Friendsgiving has no guidelines so people can plan every aspect of their get together and truly make it their own. It can be celebrated with any group of people. Senior Mia Monachino is attending a “Teamsgiving” this year with her Indiana Elite cheer team. “Every year, we all pitch in food, eat, and have team bonding,” said Monachino.
The original purpose of Thanksgiving, to give thanks for all of life’s blessings, is important for Americans to value and incorporate during the holiday season. Friendsgiving is simply a twist on Thanksgiving that puts more emphasis on being thankful for friendship. Scheer added, “Sometimes we tend to overlook our friends and just how much they do for us. Friendsgiving is such an important day to celebrate so that we can take a step back from our busy high school lives and give our friends the appreciation they deserve.”