Thanksgiving is celebrated on the last Thursday of November every year. This means that it's usually late in November, but friends may start gathering with one another well before that to come together for "Friendsgiving."
You might be wondering, is Friendsgiving a holiday? Technically, the answer is no. Friendsgiving is not a recognized national holiday. But people still observe it all over the United States because it's a fun excuse to get together with friends and share your gratitude for and appreciation of them. Friendsgiving is, in short, a Thanksgiving that you share with friends instead of with family, which is how Thanksgiving is traditionally spent.
It's a time when friends can get together over a typical Thanksgiving meal and thank each other for being "chosen family." They usually tend to do this over a potluck-style dinner. Some friends groups might decide to have a Friendsgiving over a breakfast meal, brunch or lunch instead. This is especially true for those who don't have the room in their stomachs for two heavy dinners back to back!
Friendsgiving happens late in November, somewhere around Thanksgiving. Friends groups around the country decide when to celebrate Friendsgiving on their own time. Some friends decide to do it before their Thanksgiving dinner with their families, while others choose to do it after their traditional Thanksgiving dinners. Doing it after is actually ideal for many friends groups because they can bring leftover home-cooked meals from their first dinners to the potluck or party with their friends.
Friendsgiving is a relatively new term.
"The earliest print uses of [the term 'friendsgiving'] that we've found so far date back to 2007, where it shows up in Usenet posts and on Twitter to refer to this informal meal. (Several word detectives have found a personal online photo album called "2004 Friendsgiving," but after some sleuthing, we've determined that the album went online sometime in 2014, well after our earliest print use of Friendsgiving appears.)," according to Merriam Webster Dictionary. "Given the fact that the word isn't explained in these posts and tweets, it's likely that Friendsgiving was floating around in spoken English for a bit before it showed up in written English — and this is pretty standard for new vocabulary."
The word slowly started coming into common use as more and more people planned Friendsgivings, according to Merriam Webster Dictionary.
"Friendsgiving started showing up in edited prose fairly quickly after its appearance on the web: lifestyle pieces on Friendsgiving started showing up in 2008 and 2009," according to the dictionary. "But it really started coming into national prominence in 2011 when Bailey's Irish Cream used the word in an ad campaign and it became a plot point in The Real Housewives of New Jersey (the episode was, appropriately enough, called 'Gobblefellas'). That began a steady uptick in use of Friendsgiving: we've seen more significant use of the word from 2012 onward. And ironically, what began as an alternative to Thanksgiving has now become a second Thanksgiving, with all the commercial tie-ins of the original holiday. Nancy Friedman highlights a few from 2013, and notes that Butterball, purveyors of Thanksgiving birds, filed for trademark protection on the phrase 'Butterball Friendsgiving.'"
Friendsgiving is just like Thanksgiving, but it's celebrated with friends. Therefore, people tend to serve very similar dishes as they do on Thanksgiving.
Here are 10 things every Friendsgiving needs, for example.
What's Thanksgiving without turkey? The number one rule of Friendsgiving is that whoever chooses to host it is the one in charge of making the turkey. This is a big responsibility, so they are indeed allowed to call in help. (They're also in charge of making the gravy for said turkey, too.)
Cranberry sauce is a staple of Thanksgiving. You can even make a version that strikes a balance between sweet and savory for every palette — get the recipe here.
Stuffing is a staple of Thanksgiving and Friendsgiving meals. Baked Apple Pear Stuffing, for example, can feel like a tall order, but there are tons of recipes out there that are easy to follow. Stuffing is an easily shareable dish that only needs to be warmed up for later eating, too! This one has apples and pears baked into it. Get the recipe here.
Of course, you need vegetables to complete the meal, as well. Besides, there may be vegetarians or vegans in the mix of friends, and they need to it, too.
Mashed potatoes make every dinner better. Kick the usual mashed potato dish up a notch with a veggie twist, too. Add some sautéed greens, for example. You can use any winter greens such as kale, collards or cabbage — get the recipe here. You can also make one with parmesan cheese — get the recipe here.
Thanksgiving isn't Thanksgiving without creamed corn. You can even get ahead of yourselves and go with a silky, soufflé-like corn pudding in under an hour. Get the recipe here.
There's little more American than apple pie. Friends are likely to go apple picking together anyway, or you can use the potluck apple pie as an excuse to go out picking together on a nice day, as well! Get a recipe for apple pie here.
There's little better than apple pie, but pumpkin pie may have it beat. There are tons of recipes out there on the internet, but get a recipe here that's simple and easy to make!
Pecan pie is another go-to dessert for Thanksgiving and Friendsgiving dinners. Get the recipe here for a fun pecan pie that is topped with homemade salted caramel and toasted pecans.
Thanksgiving-inspired cookies, like turkey cookies, are a fun addition to dessert.
AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreportand Facebook.