Skip to Navigation Skip to Main Content
Getty Images/iStockphoto

Friendsgiving: Locals make room for besties, buddies and pals during holidays

Profile image for Lucinda Breeding
Lucinda Breeding

We've all heard it. 

The holidays are about family.

We've all also heard and read about how holidays can inflame long-simmering family tensions and resentments.

Enter "Friendsgiving," a holiday celebration that gives you a moment to stop, take a breath and spend time with the family you've chosen. 

There's no real consensus about what Friendsgiving is. For some, it's a no-fuss-no-muss dinner of Thanksgiving leftovers, and for others, it's a swanky meal out on the town (bonus points for no dishes or dangerous game of Tetris in the refrigerator). 

If you peruse Instagram and Snapchat, Friendsgiving pops up as a favorite for young adults — recent college graduates and married couples beginning careers. 

"This will be my first Thanksgiving celebrating with family in years," said Denton resident Emily Pierce. "When I lived far from home, Friendsgiving was a beloved tradition — friends who may not be near family getting together for a wonderful day. We usually did it the day before or after Thanksgiving. To be honest, I almost prefer Friendsgiving to Thanksgiving. Less stress, and more fun."

Texas Woman's University almuna Danielle Patterson said she and her friends had their party before the bonanza of winter holidays started. Her tribe already has a monthly game night, and participants decided to make the November gathering a little more meaningful — and with more guests than usual.

Friendsgiving: Denton residents make room at their holiday tables for their best pals.
high-angle shot of a rubber roast turkey on a pile of confetti, placed on a rustic surface, and the text happy friendsgivingGetty Images/iStockphoto
Friendsgiving: Denton residents make room at their holiday tables for their best pals. high-angle shot of a rubber roast turkey on a pile of confetti, placed on a rustic surface, and the text happy friendsgiving
Getty Images/iStockphoto

"We did our Friendsgiving this past Saturday, before Thanksgiving so it didn't interfere with anyone's family plans," she said. "We got together and planned a menu, came together and ate the feast, played board games, and chatted. We even bought Tupperware from the dollar store so friends could take home leftovers. It was a fun and stress free way to eat, drink, and have a good time."

Reader Alyssa Marie Flores said Friendsgiving is the last chance for her friends to socialize before family holiday celebrations and travel consume the rest of her 2017 social calendar. 

"We're holding ours the Sunday after Thanksgiving," Flores said. "It's just a time to get everyone together with a more relaxed theme. No pressure of over- [or] undercooking the turkey. We serve all of our favorite meals. I believe this year we'll have everything from Mexican food to Italian food."

Flores and her friends, co-workers, neighbors and even a few family members  will  play some games and enjoy each other's company. 

"Honestly, it just an awesome excuse to have a party," she said . 

For Sanger resident Ami June, Friendsgiving is a hybrid family-and-friends gathering she inherited from her grandfather. June is in the midst of a divorce, she said, and could use a gathering like this to feel anchored to a group of supportive people. 

"I have done Friendsgiving for years," June said. "My grandfather always hosted ours growing up, and when he passed away right before Thanksgiving six years ago, I couldn't bring myself to celebrate it without him."

June said after her grandfather's death, she either joined friends and their families or hosted Friendsgiving herself. She said it was something "for my friends who had nowhere to go or didn't feel like they could face their families."

The bulk of holiday planning, cooking and coordinating falls to women. For Denton resident Christine Mann, Friendsgiving this year was a low-maintenance event for busy ladies. 

"We celebrated last weekend with just the girlfriends," Mann said. "It was a wonderful night of fellowship, great food, a few games, and lots of laughs. It will now become a favorite yearly tradition. It was a way for us to just show our appreciation for one another and the support and encouragement we give to each other throughout the year."

For some, Friendsgiving isn't so no-frills. Krum resident Graham Chenault said his wife, Becca, started their Friendsgiving celebration a few years ago, and go "all out." The guest list sometimes reaches 50 people, and Graham's wife rents a bounce house and organizes a scavenger hunt for the children who attend. She also cooks. 

"I'm proud of the dedication and effort she puts into creating a place for people to get together and create memories," he said. "We have to get creative to find the space for people to eat and sleep and we are exhausted by Saturday, but we wouldn't have it any other way."

For reader Lorrie Caldwell, the "framily" celebration she and her wife, Brandi, have doesn't share the trendy label of Friendsgiving, but serves a similar purpose. Her "framily" celebration was a way to gather other friends — gay and straight — without the tensions that can arise.

"'Framily' are friends that turn into your family, thus 'Framily,'" Caldwell said. "These are the people that reach out to you when you feel like you don't have anyone. These are the people that you feel like you won't disappoint by being you. These are the people that know the struggle of family dynamics because they too have the same struggles with their own families. These are the people that have no expectations other than having a good time, a few drinks, and a few photos that we hope never make it on social media for the world to see."