What Is Friendsgiving?

Everything you need to know about this friends-first holiday tradition

Friendsgiving combines the very best parts of Thanksgiving with a lower-stress guest list. This new holiday can be celebrated in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, or if you live far from your family, Friendsgiving can happen the day of. Though it might be an annual tradition for you and your friends now, it actually didn't make it into Merriam-Webster's dictionary until January 2020.

Let us take you through what we know about the holiday. If you don't already celebrate, you might want to get it on your schedule. Your first Friendsgiving has to happen at some point, so why not this year?

What Is Friendsgiving?

The name Friendsgiving is a mashup of "friends" and "Thanksgiving," and the idea is to spend an evening with the holiday's classic dishes and your best buds. There isn't a strict set of guidelines, just as long as you and your dining companions are having a good time. You can go all-out on Thanksgiving table decor or keep things low-key and casual. It can be celebrated any day, any time of year, but most gatherings take place in November, particularly the weekend before Thanksgiving. You decide when makes the most sense for your crew, depending on everyone's plans.

Plus, many people make their Friendsgiving celebrations a potluck to minimize the stress for the host. That way, everyone can simply relax and enjoy.

How Did Friendsgiving Get Its Start?

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 holiday, the word "Friendsgiving" is never mentioned in Monica's apartment. Still, perhaps the concept (if not the term) 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 (e.g., almost burning down the apartment), they toasted to "a lousy Christmas and a crappy New Year" together.


It may have been spoken aloud earlier, 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.

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 Bailey's Irish Cream promoted the ad campaign, "Friendsgiving with Baileys," according to Merriam-Webster. 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.

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