Hosting a Friendsgiving? Here's What to Know About the Fall Tradition (2024)

With fall comes so many of our favorite things! We're talking picturesque fall foliage, days spent at pumpkin patches, and so many of the best comfort foods. Along with that, autumn also kicks off the holiday season! But as families start preparing for Thanksgiving by brainstorming their Thanksgiving dinner menus, a new type of celebratory invite might land in your mailbox: Friendsgiving!

The event has all the fixings of a typical Turkey Day gathering like pumpkin pie spice everything, cozy Thanksgiving outfits, and sharing gratitude for our loved ones. But the difference lies in who you celebrate with. Hence the name! Still, you may be wondering... what is Friendsgiving all about and how did the holiday get its start?

Well, what began as a makeshift gathering for those who couldn't join their family for the holiday has become a popular trend focused on friends and chosen family—separate from your standard Thanksgiving dinner. As a celebration full of such love and connection, you may want to consider hosting a Friendsgiving yourself! Here, learn all about the fall tradition and how you can celebrate it. We've included Friendsgiving food to make, Friendsgiving games to play, and more!

What's the definition of Friendsgiving?

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The TV show Friends isn't credited with inventing the celebration, but it did air Thanksgiving episodes that may have inspired future Friendsgivings to come. Merriam-Webster dictionary officially added the term "Friendsgiving" in January 2020, which blends the words "friends" and "Thanksgiving." As you probably can infer, Friendsgiving is a casual meal enjoyed with friends during the Thanksgiving season.

What day do people celebrate Friendsgiving?

The best part of a casual and "unofficial" holiday: You can celebrate whenever you want! Or whenever all of your friends can clear their calendars and come together for a day of food and fun. Plan it for Thanksgiving Day (which falls on November 23 in 2023) where you invite all of your closest pals; otherwise, it can occur any other fall day in the month of November, so you get to enjoy both!

What happens at a Friendsgiving?

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Friendsgiving traditions are entirely up to the host! Everyone has their own take, but having friends at the table is, of course, a must. Food is also an integral part of the day, whether that means eating a big feast at the table or enjoying a smaller spread on the living room floor! When it comes to planning, you might choose to send out cute Friendsgiving invitations in the weeks leading up (with funny Thanksgiving puns, jokes, and Friendsgiving quotes) or maybe create a sign-up sheet so everyone can pick an item to bring. A potluck is always a crowd pleaser!

If you have time, you can throw a complete fall party with elegant centerpieces on the table or have a crafting area for guests to make decorations to take home. Hosts can also share their family's Thanksgiving traditions with guests, from watching classic holiday movies to playing cute Thanksgiving games with any kids in attendance! And if you're headed to a Friendsgiving celebration, you might want to take a hostess gift with you. Though no matter how you celebrate, chances are guests will still take a moment to express gratitude for their good company.

What is the difference between Friendsgiving and Thanksgiving?

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The main distinction between Thanksgiving and Friendsgiving is that Friendsgiving gatherings tend to be a bit more informal and are specifically focused on your closest friends. For some young adults, it's a chance to try their hand at throwing a cute dinner party (especially if they don't have the resources or kitchen space to host their extended family's official event).

Folks who host Friendsgiving may use it as an opportunity to bring together neighbors and friends or even coworkers for a more casual dinner before planning ramps up for the real deal. Friendsgiving also encourages family members to join, just as some families welcome friends at their Thanksgiving table.

So, what's on the Friendsgiving menu?

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Much like Thanksgiving, the best part of the day is the food! Well, that and spending time with loves ones, of course. The Friendsgiving spread often resembles your typical Thanksgiving table with a few creative additions. Since dinner tends to be a bit more casual, hosts might ask guests to participate in the meal by bringing their favorite Thanksgiving potluck dishes—sides of creamy mashed potatoes and tasty fall co*cktails are always welcome. There are so many Friendsgiving food ideas to choose from!

A potluck lets everyone share their own family's recipes with friends, and it can be a chance to bring less "traditional" dishes into the mix. You might find a table laden with home-cooked turkey and pies, or you might find boxes of beloved takeout dishes! After all, you can never go wrong with pizza. And if you choose to have your Friendsgiving on November 23, there's plenty of restaurants open on Thanksgiving so you can order your favs.

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Micaela Bahn

Micaela Bahn is a freelance editorial assistant and recent graduate from Carleton College, where she majored in English literature. She loves running, photography, and cooking the best new recipes.

Hosting a Friendsgiving? Here's What to Know About the Fall Tradition (2024)
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