An alternative to tradition: Students celebrate Friendsgiving

As an alternative, Friendsgiving appeals to many looking to avoid the pressures of the holiday season.

By Hialeah Bever

Thanksgiving is fast approaching, and while many are returning home to visit with family, eat a hardy meal, and watch a little football, there are many Americans who find themselves anxious over the holiday season. Whether it’s the stress of meeting with toxic family members or the physical inability to drive or fly home, those who aren’t present for Thanksgiving have instead created an alternative: Friendsgiving.

Friendsgiving is a modern holiday that was modeled after the traditional Thanksgiving, but instead, it is celebrated with friends and emphasizes lifting pressure off the performative dinner, and instead, just enjoying each other's company.

“Friendsgiving can be whatever you want it to be,” said Hanna Kunz. “You can’t tell people how to celebrate a holiday, and with Friendsgiving, you just celebrate togetherness.”

“We go ice skating, to the movies, or just hang out at my house. It’s a chance to just tell each other why we’re thankful for them,” said Esmeralda Garcia.

While many families watch the Thanksgiving football game or have a game of football themselves, Friendsgiving activities often break away from sports as a whole.

“Thanksgiving mostly revolves around football and gawking about your life,” said Kunz. “It was warm enough out the year we had my Friendsgiving, so we had a bonfire in my backyard and made s’mores.”

“I did karaoke last time, and that was very fun, so I’d definitely do that again. In the future, maybe we could watch the game and if it’s warm out we could play bags out in the yard, ” said Aila Koivisto.

Another way that Friendsgiving breaks away from its predecessor is with the meal itself. Some groups aim for a more traditional spread while other hosts leave the choice of food all up to their guests.

“I love cheesecake, so I’d definitely have that in place of pie. I’d also serve Cornish game hens so that everyone could have their own little turkey,” said Koivisto.

“Someone brought rolls, my dad helped out and made some turkey, someone else brought a pie, and then we also had someone bring just a can of whip cream too,” said Kunz.

One of the biggest benefits of Friendsgiving is the relief from the normal pressure that hosting or attending a Thanksgiving dinner would bring.

“It can be so nice to just have your friends there for you,” said Kunz. “Thanksgiving is a national holiday that can sometimes be pushed onto people, like Valentine’s Day or St. Patrick’s Day. If you want to celebrate it you can but it’s the thought behind it that means something.”

This new modern holiday is also useful in other situations where someone can’t attend a Thanksgiving at all.

“Friendsgiving can come in handy for people with smaller homes or, and it can be really sad, but those who don’t have family or who are shunned by their families,” said Koivisto.

The holiday of Friendsgiving was officially added to Merriam Webster in January of 2020 and is only expected to become more popular. The convenience of the event and the casual setting of a dinner with friends is extremely appealing to America’s younger generations. But despite this new holiday quickly making its way onto calendars, many who celebrate Friendsgiving assure that it has never lost its true meaning.

“For me, Friendsgiving is all about gathering with friends and saying why we’re thankful for each other,” said Garcia. “I know that a lot of people aren’t always able to say it all the time and it doesn’t come up in conversation, so Friendsgiving is the perfect opportunity to show that you’re grateful.”


Hialeah Bever is a junior. This is her second year

as a staff writer for The Growl and her first

as editor.


  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Twitter App Icon
  • Instagram Social Icon
  • Snapchat Social Icon
  • YouTube Social  Icon
  • email logo