Time-honored Thanksgiving traditions have been regularly updated over the years. Some people alternate cornish hens for turkey, for example, or serve mashed cauliflower in place of potatoes. But besides merely playing with the menu, there’s another way the holiday can be squarely turned on its head. Instead of spending it with blood relatives, more and more Americans are electing to celebrate with “chosen” family. In other words, friends.
WHAT IS FRIENDSGIVING?
You won’t find it on the calendar, but a name for this annual festivity — Friendsgiving — has officially made it into the common lexicon. And while Merriam-Webster still has it listed under “Words we’re Watching,” Friendsgiving has held a place in the urban dictionary since 2009.
Thank cash and time-strapped millennials for that, who appear to have popularized the phrase and practice over Twitter, faced with little money for a plane ticket, or the ability to take days off of work. Instead, they began to gather potluck-style on or around Thanksgiving, in their adoptive homes in their adoptive cities and with their adoptive social circles, in order to give thanks and experience togetherness (and eat themselves silly while they’re at it) in a contemporary way.
Not that Friendsgiving is a holiday exclusively meant for 20-year-olds. Anyone of any age and in any situation can partake…from broke college students and 30-something singletons, to baby boomers and retirees, tired of squabbling with their siblings over decades-old slights, and light or dark meat.
WHEN IS FRIENDSGIVING?
While it’s generally held on the Wednesday before or after Thanksgiving (which falls on Thursday, November 22nd this year), Friendsgiving is all about playing fast and loose with the rules. You’ve already committed the cardinal sin of not going home for the holidays, after all!
WHAT SHOULD YOU SERVE AT FRIENDSGIVING?
The host is often responsible for the turkey and gravy (we highly recommend Rach's Whiskey-Brined Spatchcock Bird!) Meaning, they should also have a working oven, a table and chairs. Everyone else pitches in on the rest.
As a basic guide, it’s always best to ask early arrivees to oversee appetizers, evenly distribute side dishes and desserts, have anyone with food restrictions bring dishes they can enjoy (this Apple Pie is gluten-free!) and assign as many guests as possible to wine. Because Friendsgiving drinking is all about fun, not just a method for tolerating Uncle Jack’s bad jokes.
That said, there’s no reason you can’t have your turkey and eat it too, by celebrating Friendsgiving and Thanksgiving as well. Because as long as you can give thanks for your friends, it makes it easier to appreciate your (lovably crazy!) family.