The Evolution of Friendsgiving: When and why it Became a Phenomenon

November 13, 2020 Editorial     TheTealMango

Is it me or does it feel like the past few years has seen Friendsgiving gain as much popularity as Thanksgiving? November has become just one big celebration. What is Friendsgiving exactly, though, and where did it stem from?

The History of Friendsgiving

While it’s likely that the television show “Friends” inspired a group of rerun watching millennials to have their own Friendsgiving since Monica, Chandler, Ross, Rachel, Phoebe, and Joey typically spent the holiday together, it is something that can’t be verified. In fact, Merriam-Webster points out that the term “Friendsgiving” can be traced to 2007 and the show ended in 2004. So, what is Friendsgiving? Essentially it’s when a group of friends gathers together near or on Thanksgiving to eat their favorite cuisine.

Friendsgiving Isn’t Exactly a New Thing 

Celebrating Thanksgiving with friends is nothing new, but somehow, millennials have managed to turn it into an almost official holiday. Friendsgiving is a customizable event that is typically a potluck-style dinner organized to celebrate one’s friends. According to USA Today, many people hold Friendsgiving the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, though I have known many groups of friends to celebrate it on any weekend before the Thursday that is Thanksgiving.

Millennials take pride in doing things their own way and challenging the status quo.With Friendsgiving, they are taking ownership of a new tradition.

The Only Option Available 

The new holiday is popular among young professionals and college students, individuals who are not necessarily deciding to celebrate Friendsgiving instead of Thanksgiving with their families. Instead, a number of them cannot afford to travel home or don’t have the time to do so.

More millennials hold retail jobs than any other generation and with stores opening early to prepare for Black Friday, Friendsgiving may be the only chance these young adults have to celebrate the holiday. Millennials have also embraced Friendsgiving because they don’t have their own children to celebrate Thanksgiving with.

The millennial generation is one that is “adulting” its own way. Those who belong to this era are getting married and having kids later in life, resulting in a lot of people who don’t have a spouse or children until they’re in their late 20s and 30s, if at all. Traditional holidays just don’t have a place in their lifestyles.

An Event-Driven Generation 

Millennials are also considered an event-driven generation. They embrace things like “Talk Like a Pirate Day” or they go all in on St. Patrick’s Day celebrations even if they’re not of Irish descent. By branding Friendsgiving, the event has gained self-reinforcing popularity.

Companies that are in the food business are seizing this golden marketing opportunity. For instance, a few years ago, Taco Bell offered a Friendsgiving Day Feast. This is also a holiday that people are posting about on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

The Definition of Family is Expanding 

Over the past few decades, Americans have been expanding their definition of family. Friendsgiving is a way for people to share the Thanksgiving holiday with their chosen family. For many people, spending the holiday this way is preferable to a traditional gathering with biological family members at the table. We know how tricky it is with relatives.

A traditional Thanksgiving dinner can be an awkward experience since it often involves uncomfortable small talk, political battles and personal questions. With friends, people can relax and enjoy the event without the judgment that family members may impart.

A Modern-Day Holiday 

Friendsgiving is a modern-day holiday, one that combines tradition with many people’s contemporary lifestyles. Those who choose to celebrate this new holiday will be breaking bread with people they’ve decided to be close to instead of spending time with individuals they are related to by blood. Of course, some people may enjoy doing both.

Anyway, clearly Friendsgiving has taken off and we can see why. Happy holidays, indeed.


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