Has Friendsgiving taken over the traditional family Thanksgiving?


Thanksgiving brings family around the table. For many people, Friendsgiving is a more festive Thanksgiving feast with the family drama.

Certain holidays have traditionally brought family together. Once or twice a year, everyone packs up and heads to a family gathering. While some people love hearing Aunt Edna’s annual cat update, sometimes the event is filled with family drama. More people are skipping the traditional family Thanksgiving for Friendsgiving.

Friendsgiving is a recently coined term. Generally, it means that a group of friends gather to celebrate a Thanksgiving style meal. When this tradition started, many people didn’t have a place to spend the holiday. Friends gathered together over a Thanksgiving style feast. Now, the new holiday tradition has transformed the traditional Thanksgiving feast with more inventive foods.

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According to McCormick Kitchens, “There’s a lot more license to be creative with Friendsgiving dishes, but the recipes are still comforting and reflective of where we’re from.” While turkey might be on the table, the traditional roasted turkey may not be the star. International flavors, like a bold turmeric or a spicy gochujang sauce could add a bolder touch to the traditional Thanksgiving turkey.

At the Friendsgiving table, many people are more likely to experiment with different flavors. At the traditional family Thanksgiving table, Aunt Edna may not appreciate the spicy Korean gochujang. Millennials are more willing to bring the flavors from their favorite restaurants or travels into their own kitchen. They aren’t skipping the tradition; rather, they are modernizing it.

The same idea expands to the Thanksgiving side dishes. While guests might love sweet potatoes, the revamped recipes could use coconut milk instead of heavy cream. Or, green bean casserole is replaced with green bean salad with cranberries and walnuts. Many of the recipe inspiration comes from favorite food television shows, a travel experience or even a favorite restaurant.

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Like the millennial cooking trends, the Friendsgiving approach is to experiment and try. The event is more about the experience not the perfection of the food itself. Sure, the turkey could be too spicy or the sweet potatoes could be soupy. If the conversation and camaraderie is enjoyable, the event is a huge success.

While not everyone will celebrate Friendsgiving, the ideas from this type of gather can extend to the traditional Thanksgiving table. Sure, Aunt Edna may still want her traditional roasted turkey, but maybe the old-fashioned pecan pie can be changed to a chocolate mixed nut pie. A few subtle changes, while still keeping the traditional approach, can add a little spark to the family gathering.

No matter if you celebrate a traditional Thanksgiving or a Friendsgiving, take a moment to give thanks. When people can gather and food can be shared, the experience comes with gratitude for the experience.