Warmth. Gather. Family. Thankful. All of these and more have come to denote one of the most beloved holidays in the United States. However, Thanksgiving doesn’t leave everyone with warm and fuzzy feelings. Sometimes the holidays are just hard. They can be filled with loneliness and pain rather than the sugar-coated commercialism we see on TV.
Whatever feelings you have towards the holidays, there is always a chance to turn it into a season of connection and love. Whether that means getting together with family or creating your own traditions with friends, Offleash’d knows that the strongest bonds are not always the ones you are born with. It is the relationships that we foster and nurture that are the most valuable. That is what makes Friendsgiving the perfect ingredient to a festive holiday season with your newfound pet buddies!
For those of you unfamiliar with the term, Friendsgiving is a lovely mash-up of Friend and Thanksgiving, referring to “a large meal eaten with friends either on or near Thanksgiving.” Pretty self-explanatory, right? Friendsgiving has seen a rise in popularity over the last several years, especially among college students who might be unable to make it back home for the holidays. Millennials are usually credited with turning Friendsgiving into a recognizable holiday in its own right. This is due in large part to a cultural shift in our country; people are staying single longer and waiting to start families of their own. But there is also a psychological shift. Marriage is no longer seen as the ultimate goal, nor is it the only option available to young women once they leave the comfort of their family home as it has been in years past. The “traditional” family is on the decline, paving the way for Friendsgiving and other holidays that are more tailored to the lifestyles of the next generation. With this change in the family dynamic, creating community is now more important than ever.
A safe and inclusive community starts with the sharing of ideas, stories, and traditions. While most friendships are formed on the basis of common interests, at Offleash’d, we know that some of the best dialogues are created when those with different opinions and backgrounds come together.
With its laid-back vibes and emphasis on communal cooking, Friendsgiving is the cool cousin to the stuffy traditions that many equate with the official holiday of Thanksgiving. For starters, it doesn’t have a set date in the calendar, meaning that Friendsgiving can be celebrated at any time. This makes it easier to plan around multiple schedules, especially for those who still plan on observing Thanksgiving as well. Since most Friendsgiving get-togethers are potluck style, the burden of cooking doesn’t fall solely on the host. Friendsgiving is a great opportunity to share favorite holiday dishes and traditions with a new group of people.
Offleash’d Lead Copywriter, Makena Schoene, is no stranger to creating new Friendsgiving traditions. “When I was living in Finland, I wasn’t able to make it home for Thanksgiving, so my friends and I decided to host a Friendsgiving with the local men’s volleyball team. Each person would bring one appetizer, side dish, dessert, or drink, and in the end, we had a delightful smorgasbord of food hailing from all over the world, from Finland and Russia to the United States and Canada. It was a true fusion of cultures, but most importantly, it was a time to gather with friends and share the traditions that reminded us all of home no matter how far away we were.”
Friendship. Togetherness. Community. New traditions. This is what Friendsgiving is all about. An antidote for the holiday blues, a balm for the lonely soul. Friendsgiving has become an important fixture of the holiday season, carving a space where the next generation can create their own narrative with their own communities. Familial bonds are one of the most important things for human survival, but family is not only based on blood and ancestral ties. It is the people you feel drawn to, where you feel free to be totally and unapologetically yourself that truly matters. Friends are the family that you choose, and those bonds can carry you through all that life throws at you.
From our Offleash’d family to yours, we wish you a happy Friendsgiving, a wonderful Thanksgiving, and a joyous holiday season!