A Finger Lakes Friendsgiving

11/21/2019
by Sierra Guardiola

As many people across the nation prepare for next Thursday’s festivities, they may also be thinking about a precursor holiday that has become synonymous with Thanksgiving: Friendsgiving.

I’m not sure where or who to credit the rise of Friendsgiving to. The first time I had seen this term come to life was on the sitcom How I Met Your Mother when the whole cast got together every year to celebrate. Marshall famously always provided the Gouda and Barney always awaited a slap in the face. However, it seems that there is no one particular instance that made this term have the weight it holds today. At first what seemed like a clever idea became a yearly tradition among friend groups. Holding a pre-thanksgiving celebration with friends in addition to a traditional family group celebration brings home the values people often associate with this holiday. 

The way the holiday is traditionally celebrated, thanks is only given to members of a family. This may range from immediate relation to extended family, but still it usually doesn’t stretch beyond a bloodline. But if we are to really celebrate what this day is all about, that thanks does stretch beyond bloodlines. In fact, for many people, it may not include bloodlines at all but rather relationships that are so strong it’s as if they were family.

There is so much thanks to be given to people outside of your family tree. When I watched that first thanksgiving episode of How I Met Your Mother years ago, that’s exactly what I saw happening on screen. None of these people were related by blood, yet they shared a bond so deep and owed so much of who they had become to each other that they were the ones sitting around the table together on that fourth Thursday in November.

For many people, Friendsgiving can include celebrating with people in the community as well. Around the Finger Lakes, there are various events for just this reason at places like the Finger Lakes Tasting and Tap Room to celebrate the day and give thanks to those in the community that are tied together through friendship.


Sierra is a senior journalism major at Ithaca College. She is currently a freelancer for Hudson Valley Magazine and can also be seen in Real Simple. When she’s not writing, you can find her watching Parks and Rec or exploring the many hikes in the Ithaca region.