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Friendsgiving: A New Look for the Tradition of Gratitude

DeAnna Mayfield
Andrea Chadwick hosted a Friendsgiving this year with her friends and family

In recent years, a new tradition has emerged that is rapidly gaining popularity: Friendsgiving. This celebration, as the name suggests, is a blend of ‘friends’ and ‘Thanksgiving’, and it’s a holiday that is as heartwarming as it sounds. Friendsgiving is a time to gather with close companions, share a meal, and express gratitude for the friendships that enrich our lives. But why has this new trend become so popular, and who is celebrating Friendsgiving?

Friendsgiving has become popular for several reasons. It’s a flexible celebration that can be tailored to fit any group of friends. Unlike traditional family Thanksgiving, which often comes with a set menu and long-standing traditions, Friendsgiving allows for creativity and personalization. Friends can choose to have a potluck, order takeout, play games, or even host a themed dinner. This flexibility makes the celebration more accessible and enjoyable for everyone involved.

Friendsgiving addresses the reality that many people can’t or choose not to spend Thanksgiving with their families. This could be due to geographical distance, work commitments, or personal reasons. Friendsgiving provides an alternative way to celebrate the holiday. It’s a testament to the fact that friends can be just as much a family as those related by blood.

So, who is having Friendsgiving? The answer is simple: anyone and everyone. Friendsgiving is popular among young adults, particularly college students and young professionals who may not have the means or time to travel home for Thanksgiving. It’s not limited to this demographic. Anyone who values their friendships and wants to celebrate them can host or attend a Friendsgiving.

WC Shepherd, a personal chef living in Chicago says he has hosted several Friendsgivings for his clients. “They were friends and coworkers that all lived in the city and whose families lived elsewhere,” says Shepherd. His clients were looking for the traditional kinds of comfort foods like turkey, ham, Mac and Cheese, along with fellowship.

Does Friendsgiving replace Thanksgiving? Not necessarily. For some, Friendsgiving is an additional celebration held before or after the traditional Thanksgiving Day. It’s a way to extend the holiday and spend time with a broader circle of loved ones. For others, Friendsgiving is their primary Thanksgiving celebration. Regardless of how it’s observed, the spirit of gratitude and togetherness remains the same.

 “I prefer to have a Friendsgiving with my people that chose me and are my safe place. I wish my Friendsgiving could take the place of the traditional Thanksgiving.” -Jacueline Fraley, resident of Gainesville

Friendsgiving has grown in popularity over the last decade. Photo courtesy of Tara Ann Edwards

Friendsgiving is a new tradition that has gained popularity due to its flexibility, inclusivity, and the opportunity it provides to celebrate friendships. Whether it’s an additional celebration or the main event, Friendsgiving is a reminder that Thanksgiving is not just about family, but about appreciating all the relationships that enrich our lives. Friendsgiving is likely to continue growing in popularity, becoming a cherished tradition for many.

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