Why Friendsgiving is better than Thanksgiving.

It’s important for people to feel like they can be welcome and belong somewhere. 

Let’s be real. Any occasion that gives me a pass to pig out on tons of delicious food and to see family members is fantastic, but there’s just something that’s extra special about surrounding myself with my friends and making a new tradition with them. These people in my life don’t come to the Friendsgivings I host by obligation; they actively choose to take the time out of their own hectic and ridiculous schedules to eat, drink, and be thankful alongside my family. There’s something really meaningful to me behind that.

I also like to open my home to those who don’t have anywhere to go during the holidays. Not everyone has a place to celebrate, and this alone can be depressing during a time where everyone is expressing gratitude for their families, significant others, etc.

It’s important for people to feel like they can be welcome and belong somewhere. 

So, what exactly is Friendsgiving?

At its core, it’s a gathering of close friends sometime before or after Thanksgiving. It’s like an extension of the holiday to include friends and other people who you wouldn’t think of inviting to a family event. Since the origins of Thanksgiving came from a place of fellowship and thankfulness, wouldn’t it be fair to extend that kind of celebration to include both family and friends?

According to Urban Dictionary, the term “Friendsgiving” officially became a thing in 2009 and has been celebrated by many since then. Since most people in their 20s and 30s nowadays are waiting later in life to have families of their own and delaying things like marriage and mortgages (because expensive), Friendsgiving is another way to create a sense of community and unity, and frankly gives us another reason to party, relieve holiday stress, and eat more delicious food.

Friendsgiving is also a great way to reinvent things. Who says we need to have turkey with all of the fixings? Who says anyone needs to spend hours slaving over a stove to bring a dish to the occasion? It’s definitely more casual than your average American Thanksgiving, flexible too. Some of us need to work on the holiday, and/or may not be able to make it to the actual event. Or maybe we just like parties. Any of these are valid reasons to hold one of our own.

In my group of friends, I don’t think anyone would be opposed to ordering a bunch of pizza and picking up some drinks for the occasion. Hell, some grocery store sushi as a side dish could also be a strong possibility. There are no rules, bring what you want, come as you are. The whole point is to kick off your shoes, relax, and stuff your face with no judgment.

(Personally, I think I would definitely get some weird looks if I brought some sushi to my family’s more traditional Thanksgiving meetups.)

My friends and I also like to play games. Card games, video games, whatever we’ve got available to have a good time. We aren’t the sports-y type (unless it’s League of Legends or something else nerdy) and the TV is only used for music purposes, or streaming a binge session of Breaking Bad or Letterkenny near the end of the night.

We also don’t care about how well dressed we are, either. Wanna go all out and dress up? No problem. Wanna wear your comfy pants? Fine with me. You do you, boo-boo.

And this may not look like a Friendsgiving that you may have attended in the past. Every meetup is different depending on the people you get with. Since it’s a relatively new thing, everyone’s got their own take on the occasion. Maggie from writes in her 10 commandments of Friendsgiving to avoid paper plates and fold-up tables if possible, and to bring your A-game by providing legitimate place settings for each guest with real plates and silverware. Emily from Buzzfeed recommends securing a veggie dish that isn’t smothered in a casserole. Even some workplaces like Google have adopted the Friendsgiving shenanigans in place of their Thanksgiving potlucks of the past.

After some quick research, and by this, I mean maybe a dozen of Google searches on how to go about hosting a Friendsgiving, the three main rules of thumb seem to be these:

  • The host cooks the turkey and gravy (or whatever main dish).
  • The host delegates or makes a signup sheet for the side dishes.
  • Remember about friends with allergies while cooking.

I think the thing I like most about it is that the whole affair is intentionally low-key, no matter how you decide to have it. There’s so much stress during the holidays, so it’s nice to just not give a f*ck about traditional expectations once in a while. During a time when the weather sucks, work becomes hectic (service/retail, I’m looking at you!), and when you may have to deal with some family drama, there’s at least a way to unwind from it all while venting to your friends about everything. Usually, they’re in a similar situation and don’t mind lending a sympathetic ear.

Do you celebrate Friendsgiving? Share with us how you celebrate!

By Jessie

Jessie works a full-time job and also happens to be the mother of a bubbly toddler named PJ. She lives with her husband Dan in Southeastern Michigan and hangs out in the Toledo, Ohio area a lot. Loves food, coffee, and likes to play video games in her spare time, if she's lucky to get any.

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