What is Friendsgiving and how do you celebrate it?

USA – Ah, Friendsgiving. The age-old tradition of ... wait, what exactly is Friendsgiving anyways?

TikTokers have shown their Friendsgiving gatherings to mark Thanksgiving celebrations with friends.
TikTokers have shown their Friendsgiving gatherings to mark Thanksgiving celebrations with friends.  © Collage: Screenshot/TikTok/ash__guzman & cciieerruuhh

The feeding frenzy that is Thanksgiving is upon us, and for many, an additional "friend"-zy too.

"Friendsgiving" is, of course, the blend of the two words "friend" and the holiday's moniker.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, Friendsgiving "refers to a large meal eaten with friends either on or near Thanksgiving." The word first began popping up in print around 2007 though the tradition of friend groups marking the event is likely much older. It was officially added to the dictionary in 2020.

Redditor takes "trad" tattoo qualm to AITA over artist's hidden message
Tattoos Redditor takes "trad" tattoo qualm to AITA over artist's hidden message

While many associate the TV show Friends with the word, as it featured memorable turkey-clad episodes with the cast cooking up Thanksgiving mischief together, it was not coined on the series.

So what are the staples of a Frendsgiving and how do you whip one up yourself? We're digging in to find out.

What is Friendsgiving?

While it's simply a Thanksgiving meal with friends in attendance, Friendsgiving can technically have two different meanings: as either a stand-in or as an addition to the traditional family meal.

Meaning: those who celebrate can either gather on the fourth Thursday of November with friends in lieu of family, or partake in a second, separate Turkey Day party altogether.

Commonly, the second option will see a Friendsgiving party play out before feasters head home for the Big Thursday with family. But the wise may make use of all the leftovers and have a separate Friendsgiving afterwards.

In recent years, Friendsgiving has exploded in popularity with movies, TV shows, and brand's ad campaigns dedicated to the concept.

If you've never been to a Friendsgiving, getting in on the friendly feasting festivities yourself is as easy as pie (be it pumpkin or pecan).

How do you celebrate Friendsgiving?

These TikTokers have whipped up epic Friendsgivings with a theme.
These TikTokers have whipped up epic Friendsgivings with a theme.  © Collage: Screenshot/TikTok/ty_reynij & shrlndo24

Whether you're attending or hosting your own, every epic Friendsgiving has three staple ingredients:

1. Food

The noms for a Thanksgiving-time meal are of course a must. But a Friendsgiving usually equals potluck, with each guest bringing a dish to add to the spread. This keeps things less stressful for those on hosting duty, and lets attendees off the hook by only being responsible for a side dish or snack.

Thanksgiving recipes like stuffing, sweet potatoes, and cranberry sauce abound – and in a friend group's holiday gathering, usually so does the booze.

2. Games

While you could just throw on a Thanksgiving movie, it's better to up the game - literally - by having an activity to partake in.

Some Thanksgiving-themed games include "Pin The Tail On The Turkey" – we suggest a paper version – holiday trivia, or shaking your tail-feather with some dancing ("Freeze dance" anyone?). Turkey Tag (passing around a pinned-on turkey), a scavenger hunt, or having guests anonymously write down what they're thankful for is sure to get people in the spirit.

Or, revelers can turn up the spirits even more by making a drinking game out of your game of choice.

3. Theme

While this is by no means required - after all, Thanksgiving is a theme in and of itself – your Friendsgiving can stand out from the rest with a theme. Social media users have already celebrated this year with red-carpet style galas and pop culture prowess.

A theme is especially easy to pull off with a fun dress code. TikTokers have leveled up their Friendsgivings wearing PJs, dressing up as their friends, and donning matching color schemes.

Additionally, the food dishes themselves can also be on-theme. One host showed her Friendsgiving guests each bringing a meal from their own culture, while others asked friends to bring a food item starting with the same letter as their name. Some even had specific shape themes: only food served on a board or presented with non-traditional cutlery.

If all else fails, holidaymakers can always follow the rising TikTok trend of having a holiday-themed party in honor of the Friendsgiving holiday itself. Cue a meta *brain explosion*.

However you celebrate Friendsgiving, there's no right or wrong way to do it – so gather your group and gobble away.

Cover photo: Collage: Screenshot/TikTok/ash__guzman & cciieerruuhh

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