Can we thank the Friends Thanksgiving episodes for the origins of Friendsgiving? Here's what you need to know about this alternative Thanksgiving get-together.
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Friendsgiving combines the very best parts of Thanksgiving with a lower-stress guest list (no holiday family drama!). This new holiday gathering can be celebrated in the weeks leading up to actual Thanksgiving, or if you live far from your family, Friendsgiving can happen on the day itself.

A Friendsgiving celebration may be an annual tradition for you and your friends now, but it's actually new enough that "Friendsgiving" didn't make it into Merriam-Webster's dictionary until January 2020.

Let us take you through what we know about Friendsgiving and where the idea came from. If you don't already celebrate, you might want to schedule a group dinner with your best friends ASAP: Your first Friendsgiving has to happen at some point, and 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, enduring set of guidelines—no one will call Friendsgiving foul if your meal consists of Hot Pockets and store-bought dips, as long as you and all your dining companions are having a good time.

Many people make their Friendsgiving celebrations a potluck party, to minimize the stress for the host—that way, everyone can simply relax and enjoy.

When Is Friendsgiving?

Friendsgiving 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 holiday travel plans.

How Did Friendsgiving 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.

Friends

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. 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 (almost burning down the apartment, etc.), they toasted to "a lousy Christmas and a crappy New Year" together.

The Twittersphere

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 an 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—and Friendsgiving hit the mainstream.