From Where We Are

The culture of Friendsgiving

How Millennials and Gen Z’ers reimagined the traditional Thanksgiving holiday

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With Thanksgiving around the corner, what more to be thankful for than our friends. That’s right, if you didn’t know there is a holiday called Friendsgiving, that is dedicated to honoring and celebrating friendships!

While Thanksgiving is typically spent with family, Friendsgiving is the perfect opportunity to reunite with friends. No one truly knows the origin of the holiday, but judging by social media, it has become especially popular among Millennials and Gen’Zers in recent years. And just like regular Thanksgiving, the yummy food is no exception with Friendsgiving.

For Zoe Upkins, a first-year popular music performance major, the food is just the icing on top of her annual friendsgiving tradition with her besties.

UPKINS: “I’m from Nashville, Tennessee, so I’m going back home, and it’s kind of a tradition with all of my friends. So it’s not usually on Thanksgiving Day. That’s usually the day we’re all with our families, but either a time before Thanksgiving or after, we’ll all just get together, bring a bunch of food, cook a bunch of food... I feel like that’s the time for us to just tell each other how much we mean to each other. And it’s just a fun way to come together, especially now that we’re all in different places.”

In many ways, Friendsgiving offers students like Freshman biomedical engineering major, Mia Montiel, a choice in HOW they want to celebrate.

MONTIEL: “With Thanksgiving, you grow up and you’re always doing Thanksgiving with your family and that just becomes something that’s like a constant in your life, at least for most people. Whereas Friendsgiving is something that you can choose whether or not you want to do. And I just think you’re making your friends seem like they’re a part of your family, which brings you guys closer together.”

But what if you need a break from family drama? Lauren Householder, a Senior in Cognitive Science, believes that the modern celebration can act as a more relaxed alternative for those who may not want to deal with the stress of family life.

HOUSEHOLDER: “Going home for the holidays doesn’t always carry a great connotation to it. But with Friendsgiving, there’s a lot more autonomy on the people that you get to spend it, with the way that you want to celebrate, the food that you get to eat... So I think it’s just like a more lighthearted version of the holiday that you have a lot more control over. I think it’s really popular because people love to celebrate, but they don’t necessarily always get exactly what they want from their family situation. So it’s a fun way to still partake in the holiday.”

No matter how you chose to celebrate, be sure to tag @annenbergmediaradio on Instagram to show us how YOU will be spending your thanksgiving break.

For Annenberg Media, this is Ayline Rebollo.