Did Friendsgiving originate from the Friends Thanksgiving episodes? Learn what Friendsgiving means, when it is, and why you should have a 2017 party.
Few things beat a table of great food surrounded by your closest friends. And while the show Friends is known for popularizing the idea, Merriam-Webster lexicographers have dated the word “Friendsgiving” back to 2007. Though it’s not officially in the dictionary, “Friendsgiving” is among Merriam-Webster’s “Words We’re Watching.”
What is Friendsgiving, exactly? A mashup of “friends” and “Thanksgiving,” the idea behind it is to spend an evening with the holiday’s classic dishes and your best buds. There isn’t a strict, enduring set of guidelines—Friendsgiving is a totally customizable modern tradition that’s taken off in recent years.
While some celebrate Friendsgiving before heading home for the occasion, others gather their friends together in lieu of sharing the meal with relatives.
Friendsgiving Origin Theories
There is no official origin story for Friendsgiving. Some might say a hit TV show brought the potluck dinner into the mainstream, but there are a few other, more official theories about who (or what) started the feasting frenzy.
While the iconic show is included in several explainers for the informal U.S. holiday, the word “Friendsgiving” is never mentioned in Monica’s apartment. So, perhaps the concept can be dated back to November 1994, when the first season’s Thanksgiving episode aired. Everyone had different reasons for avoiding going home for the holidays, and even though there were some hiccups (read: almost burning down the apartment), they toasted to “a lousy Christmas and a crappy New Year” together.
It may have been spoken, but the first written forms of the word were found in 2007, according to Merriam-Webster. At the time, Usenet and Twitter showed mentions of “Friendsgiving” from their users.
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Bailey’s Irish Cream
The word popped up in a few lifestyle pieces over the next couple of years, but there was a particular surge in 2011, when Baily’s Irish Cream promoted an ad campaign, “Friendsgiving with Baileys,” according to Merriam-Webster’s findings. The liqueur company asked several influencers to participate by featuring their product in a meal with friends. The result? A national spotlight on the ultimate potluck feast.
Whether it was your favorite friend group or perhaps your liqueur of choice, Friendsgiving is a fun option for celebrating good food and, of course, beloved friendships.