What Is Friendsgiving? Starting A New Tradition

Have you ever wondered, “Where the heck did Friendsgiving come from?” Because we sure have! Not that we want the holiday to go away, but because it seems like it popped up seemingly out of nowhere to sit right between Halloween and the Thanksgiving season. Rest assured, we’re the kind of friends who have each other's backs and are quick to offer to host Friendsgiving at our place, so we found the answers you’re looking for by researching the trend in depth. 

Here is what you need to know about Friendsgiving and why you should celebrate it this holiday season! 

What Is Friendsgiving

Quite literally, Friendsgiving is the combination of friends and Thanksgiving. “Friends + giving” in case you need to see it. See it now? Good. The holiday refers to the large meal that is enjoyed and eaten with friends on or near the real Thanksgiving Day holiday. Because it is often a collection of friends in their twenties (often millennials), Friendsgiving is less formal than a traditional Thanksgiving meal you share with your family.

Friendsgiving is a customizable modern tradition that has really skyrocketed in popularity the last few years. Perhaps part of the popularity is due to the fact that Friendsgiving has no rules. Your group of friends can come up with your own Friendsgiving tradition and meal for this get-together. So if you want to have a night eating Chinese food with your best friends on a date near Thanksgiving and call it Friendsgiving, you can absolutely do that. 

In recent years, Friendgivings have grown exponentially and some charities and organizations use the holiday to double as fundraisers. Hosts invite their guests to support a good cause. If you are suddenly feeling like a bad person for not integrating a good deed with your Friendsgiving, don’t worry, we are too! But, maybe keep that in mind for next year’s Friendsgiving get-together! 

Because it is a lot less formal, Friendsgiving is designed to be fun and eliminate the factors you may dislike about having Thanksgiving dinner with your family. Perhaps that sitting next to the uncle who smells or having to answer why you’re single to every family member….these are the things you will not find at Friendsgiving. Plus, like a Thanksgiving celebration, Friendsgiving provides an amazing opportunity to create cherished memories for years to come. We’re sure when you get to an age where you have your own children and are no longer able to partake in a Friendsgiving, you’ll think back fondly at your youth and the times you enjoyed your friends at this holiday feast! 

Where Did Friendsgiving Come From

As we’re sure you can imagine, Friendsigivng is a newer trend. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the earliest print use of the word came up on Twitter in 2007. The application in the Tweet was to refer to an informal meal. But upon a social media deep dive, there is proof that many people were already planning and hosting Friendsgiving parties, from college students to young professionals. We discovered a ton of Facebook albums dated back to 2006 where friends were already coming together to celebrate! (See, we told you we’d answer all of your questions!) So, while not in print until 2007, Friendsigivng was a floating term and celebration for quite some time. 

As with most trends, the trend became instantly more popular when websites, retailers,  and magazines began giving it attention. Lifestyle pieces on how to throw the ultimate Friendsgiving filled with tips on how to make the night more enjoyable started popping up everywhere in 2008. This also so happened to be the same year Urban Dictionary declared Friendsgiving a holiday, providing a loose definition of the night. 

Friendsgiving did not have it’s major, national glow up until 2011. It was none other than Bailey’s Irish Cream who brought Friendsgiving its fame. In a national ad campaign, Baileys referred to the holiday. The popularity of Friendsgiving was compounded and made even more popular when it became a plot line in the should be nominated for an Emmy show, “The Real Housewives of New Jersey.” 

In case you need us to jog your memory (which we are more than happy to do), this was an episode that occurred when Teresa and Melissa were not seeing eye to eye. So, while pre-prison Teresa hosted a Friendsgiving dinner party for her friends (at the time), Jacqueline and Caroline’s families, Melissa hosted Kathy’s family. Because we’re now reflecting on happy times, we also want to remind you that the happiest and weirdest moment of the show occurred when Teresa and her husband, Joe, (also pre-prison) went to a turkey farm to select their dinner. Luckily for the turkey and all of us viewers, Teresa and Joe left empty handed and spared the poor turkey it’s life! Phew! 

While we’re on the topic of television shows and their representations of Friendsgiving, we do want to address a rumor. Apparently, many people believe that it was actually “Friends” who made the now traditional holiday. This is actually not true. While the TV show did depict many hilarious episodes where the crew enjoyed Thanksgiving together, it was never a Friendsgiving. Instead, it was their actual Thanksgiving and they simply spent it with their friends instead of their families.

Back on the topic of Friendsgiving, the combination of Bailey’s Irish Cream ad airing and an episode dedicated to its festivities in The Real Housewives of New Jersey, Friendsgiving saw an even bigger uptick. Now, Friendsigving was essentially a universally known concept and almost everyone knew about. So, please, we beg of you: never, ever say “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” haven’t accomplished anything. They gave us Friendsgiving and for that we should all be eternally grateful. 

When Should You Celebrate Friendsgiving

The short answer is celebrate at a time that works for you and your friends during the holiday season. Friends can get very busy during the holiday season as the are committed to doing things with their family during this time. This is especially true if your friend is coming form out of town. We all know mom and dad want to soak up all of the time they can get with their beloved kids. 

As for the long answer that actually isn’t all that long, Friendsgiving is celebrated at a time near Thanksgiving. The most popular dates to celebrate is the weekend before or the weekend following Thanksgiving. 


What Should You Eat At Friendsgiving

That depends on the host and his or her friends! Usually, the menu is consistent with a Turkey Day menu, from the pumpkin pie to the sweet potatoes. But, hey, to each their own. Potluck-style meals are extremely popular for Friendsgiving feasts and many encourage their attendees to bring their favorite recipe, appetizer, or cocktail. 

Need some Friendsgiving ideas to make your event extra fun? Don’t worry, we came up with a few of those two: 

  1. Play a game: In one Friends Thanksgiving episode, the characters play a game of flag football. Although Rachel wasn’t that great and Ross and Monica were way too competitive, we have to admit the game sure did end up looking fun. While you might not have flags on hand, you can play other versions of the game that won’t get physical. Try touch football so you (hopefully) save yourself a trip to the emergency room.  

Board games are also a great option if you and your friends are not really a throw the ball around kind of people. From regular card games to board games, there are a ton of options to choose from that will keep you and your friends happy and having tons of fun. 

  1. Make it a potluck: Putting the pressure on one person to cook, clean and prepare for multiple people is not really fair. Make it easy for everyone involved by encouraging everyone to bring their own dishes. Someone can take care of the turkey while everyone else contributes their favorite side dishes! This helps cut down the prep time for the host and allows everyone else an opportunity to compete for best side dish! 
  2. Say What You’re Thankful For: Unlike your family,  your friends don’t necessarily have to love you. Oops, was that too harsh? But truly, your celebrating with a group of people who decided on their own accord to attend and share the night with you! Capitalize on the moment by sharing what they mean to you! Get out the tissues if you have a few friends who tend to get weepy and sentimental easily! 
  3. Make it a Brunch: Like we said: Friendsgiving is an extremely malleable tradition and there are no rules. If Thanksgiving food isn’t your favorite and you think the turkey on thanksgiving is enough for you, so be it! HAve a brunch and call it a day! Plus, we’re always looking for an excuse to drink more mimosas, so if you host a brunch Friendsgiving, consider us there! 
  4. Catch Up on Movies: Christmas is just around the corner and there are a ton of holiday movies to fit into this jolly period of time. Use this time to watch all of the greatest Christmas gifts so when the season comes to a close, you have no regrets!