This article appeared in the November 23, 2021 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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‘The magic of Friendsgiving’

Courtesy of Serkalem Carper
This charcuterie board found a spot of honor at a recent Friendsgiving feast on Nov. 21, 2021, in Sacramento, California.
Trudy Palmer
Cover Story Editor

Inviting a friend or coworker to the family Thanksgiving dinner is nothing new.

You may even have heard about Wanda Dench who, six years ago, mistakenly texted a Thanksgiving invitation to Jamal Hinton, a perfect stranger. They quickly figured out the error, but she made good on the invitation, and he accepted. The two, usually with family from both sides, have spent Thanksgiving together ever since and even have occasional get-togethers in between.

That’s truly lovely, but it’s different than Friendsgiving.

According to Merriam-Webster, the word Friendsgiving first appeared around 2007, finally making it into the dictionary in 2020. In the intervening years, businesses sought a piece of the pie, pun intended, from Taco Bell’s Friendsgiving Feast to Betty Crocker’s menu recommendations

But the Friendsgiving my 20-something friend Serkalem celebrates each year has nothing to do with promoting a brand. It’s also “less engrained in the Colonial stigma” than the traditional holiday, she says.

Instead, it’s about being “grateful for your friend group,” she explains. On the one hand, you’re gathering with friends before they take off for the holiday. On the other, you’re making sure those with no place to go still get a Thanksgiving-like experience, she adds.

I love that spirit of looking out for one another – and embracing others. When she arrived at her Friendsgiving feast last Sunday, Serkalem knew only a few of the people there. Not so, by the end of the night. 

“The magic of Friendsgiving,” she says, “is coming to the table and introducing yourself.”

This article appeared in the November 23, 2021 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 11/23 edition
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