While nothing beats politically-fuelled fights with your aunt followed by gorging yourself with turkey until you can’t physically move, we often tend to forget our friends in our Thanksgiving celebrations. It’s understandable—they have their own families to feud with and plenty of cooking to be done. You simply just don’t have time to celebrate with them on that busy day. There just might be a solution to this dilemma, though.
Friendsgiving is an unofficial holiday that has reared its head in the past few years. It spans the week surrounding Thanksgiving Day and consists of a semi-formal dinner with your closest friends who did not receive an invite to your family’s chaotic feast. Recently, it has become a trend among tightly-knit friend groups to celebrate this unorthodox holiday.
Thanksgiving is undeniably a family-based celebration, but it grows overwhelming when your long-lost relatives begin filling up the living room. Sometimes you want to just avoid your weird cousins, along with the questions about your love life and college career. With Friendsgiving, you can. Not only do you escape your overbearing family, but you can break free of the stuffy traditions and dry Turkey.
It does not matter how it is celebrated—there are no rules or requirements—but there are many ways you can try when executing this holiday for the first time.
Although turkey is the standard for most Thanksgiving dinners, Friendsgiving dinner usually strays from traditions. It is not about feeling obligated to baste a bird or mash potatoes, but rather serving food that your friends enjoy. Some friends go to great lengths, cooking a three-course meal and arranging a cheeseboard, while others simply feast without a thought. When it comes to dinner itself, it is simply just up to the friend group (and whatever Pinterest recipe looks most appetizing that night).
As I was scrolling through Instagram, planning my own Friendsgiving, I stumbled across numerous friend groups and variations of this dinner. In the midst of admiring their centerpieces and formal wear, I noticed there are three different (main) types of Friendsgiving dinners:
Classic Thanksgiving Dinner—Just Without Your Intrusive Aunt
I was shocked by the number of people willing to cook turkey twice in one week, but it seems as though traditions simply stick. Some people genuinely do enjoy Thanksgiving itself, just not the people in attendance. Friends get together and baste a turkey, essentially. They fill their plates with potatoes and casseroles and certainly do not ask each other about their political views and plans after college. It is simply just Thanksgiving, only without the negative social aspects.
The Faux Turkey Dinner
Some enjoy getting creative with the food, opting for Turkey-substitutes and vegan options. I noticed a spike in kale salads and meatless meat this year. One Instagram story displayed homemade granola, as opposed to stuffing, and vegetarian (A.K.A. meatless) meat-loaf. Another post was almost entirely salad-based, with turkey and cranberry accents along with other health-inspired alternatives to classic Thanksgiving dishes. This is a perfect example of how friend groups are able to repurpose the holiday into a dinner they are comfortable and happy eating. While some groups choose to eat Turkey itself, others enjoy it on top of some lettuce.
The most common occurrence I’ve seen is friend groups simply just eating dinner. There is no turkey, nor any Turkey substitutions. Friends gather together just to enjoy the social aspects of Thanksgiving, rather than the food. Whether it’s a cheese plate or take-out, it’s far off from tradition—once again, it’s just dinner. I, myself, opted for this version of Friendsgiving dinner. We did not fuss over a bird and no potatoes were mashed. There was homemade tomato sauce and plenty of pasta, along with (an absolutely stunning) salad. We went down a simple and Italian route, straying far away from typical traditions (and gorging ourselves on pie). We kept the social values of Thanksgiving, opting for close company over cranberry sauce and stuffing.
While it may seem like an adolescent celebration, friends across the country are celebrating it (literally the cast of Friends). Jennifer Aniston posted her Friendsgiving dinner on her new Instagram page, sharing a video of her traditional turkey meal, along with some aggressive Thanksgiving enchiladas. The star exemplifies numerous styles of this celebration in her meal, both classic and unconventional Thanksgiving dinner, and she does so rather glamorously. Not only does this prove that you can celebrate this holiday, regardless of who you are, but you can have turkey and enchiladas, if you so desire.
Thanksgiving is a time for celebrating with family, but it isn’t for everyone. Friendsgiving offers an unorthodox escape from the inevitable presence of overwhelming family, as well as the stressful cooking. Whether it is a mock-Thanksgiving feast or a simple dinner, it brings friends together and allows some refreshing company during a high-strung holiday.
Featured Imagine via Fauxels/Pexels