This weekend I had the pleasure of attending two Friendsgivings.
Having just moved to a new place, several thousands of miles away from my family, these experiences left me with a profound sense of community, a feeling of belonging, and an extra five pounds around my waist that was definitely not there on Thursday.
It appears I’m not the only one either. (I’m talking about the event and the emotional response, not your own personal food baby).
Right now #Friendsgiving is trending at over 1.3 million posts on instagram.
It seems the term has become commonplace these days, pretty amazing considering it’s still relatively new. The word Friendsgiving probably floated around by word of mouth for a while but it never showed up in the written human language (as far as I can tell) until 2007.
Ever since Thanksgiving was made a Federal Holiday in 1863 by good ol’ Abe Lincoln, it has been largely celebrated with close and extended family. Phrases like “home for Thanksgiving” and “home for the Holidays” are typical to hear this time of year, and that’s not a new trend. Americans are a more mobile society than most others and have been since settlers starting moving West in the Early 19th century. Traveling home to see family this time of the year is ingrained in our society and has become an important part of our economy as well.
So where did the friends come in? Some folks say the popular TV show Friends is the source, but the show went off the air in 2004, well before the term was popularized.
We can also think about how the constructs of societal and familial relationships have shifted a bit in the past few decades. For instance, we know that younger generations are generally having fewer children, and delaying marriage. Non-relatives may be more likely to take on family-like roles in people’s lives. For many folks with distant or even strained relationships with family members, the most important people in their lives are likely friends.
It’s also interesting to think about the roots of the Thanksgiving holiday itself. The first one was held in 1621 and was made up of the White English settlers of Plymouth Colony and members of the Wampanoag tribe (who outnumbered them quite a bit). The goal was to come together to make peace and create friendships.
It was, essentially, a Friendsgiving.
So kick back, pile your plate high with sides (come on we all know that’s the best part) and enjoy your holidays with whomever you find at your table, be it friends, family, or strangers. The original ideals of the holiday; hospitality, generosity, and inclusion still hold strong after all these years.
Share this with your friends before next years Friendsgiving!