As generational gaps and political differences have made Thanksgiving an increasingly notorious affair in the United States, one little sub-holiday stands alone: Friendsgiving. So when is Friendsgiving 2017? Like so much about the holiday, the date is flexible.
Unlike Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving is a uniquely Millennial holiday. The concept is simple: friends, often young professionals, sometimes too broke to fly home for the holiday, gather in the days leading up to Thanksgiving for a boozy, potluck-style Thanksgiving meal. After all, for friends who each live in different cities than their families, the people they choose to surround themselves with are family! The host is responsible for the turkey and the gravy, and for ensuring that guests each bring other dishes to complete the potluck spread.
The city in which these young, broke humans reside usually dictates the meal's character. Chicago? The weather is cold and the food extremely hot. And shots of malort might suffice for dessert. New York? You're sitting on the floor, because no one has dining tables here. Washington, D.C.? Soundtracked by C-Span. Los Angeles? It will take your friends about an hour to find parking, and you'll need to plan it around when traffic is lightest on the 405 fwy.
Friendsgiving is special as the meal itself is one intentionally devoid of family drama or long-held resentment. It's a time to celebrate your chosen family, your best friends, your new pals. It's a moment to show off that one really good salad recipe you got from the New York Times and then shrug, like, "Oh, this ol' thing?" when people rave about it.
Friendsgiving, essentially, is a flexible beast, accommodating whomever is throwing it, and therein lies the answer to the official Friendsgiving date: there isn't one. It's in your hands! Wow the freedom! Wow the power! If this is what breaking with tradition feels like, why don't we do it all the time?!
Coming down from that euphoria high? Cool. Here's what you should keep in mind when deciding on your official Friendsgiving 2017 date. First, you want to make sure your date falls before the actual Thanksgiving. Though a 2009 Urban Dictionary entry defines Friendsgiving as usually occurring on "the Wednesday before or the Friday after Thanksgiving," believe me when I say that by the time Friday, Nov. 24 rolls around this year, no one will be in the mood for more turkey. Plus, many of us will still be out of town. No, no, you want your date to be close enough to actual Thanksgiving (which falls on Thursday, Nov. 23 in 2017) so as to feel festive, but still distinctly separate. And first. Personally, I recommend the previous week's Saturday night, so Nov. 18, 2017 — but again, there's no official date.
The next consideration on your list is whether a weekend or a weekday works best for your friend group. On the one hand, you don't want to be worrying about making that 9:30 a.m. meeting tomorrow meeting when you're pouring your third glass of wine. It's a holiday, okay? It's an excuse to be festive. On the other hand, if your friend group is particularly fond of ~the clubs~ (or, like mine, a lot of them work outside the 9-to-5 job schedule and usually have shifts on the weekends), a Thursday night might be ideal. You do you.
And finally, there's the start time. If you're hosting, you're responsible for the turkey or whatever main, "star of the whole meal" dish you'll be serving. Turkey takes time. Like, days, in a lot of cases. Or at least many, many hours. Do not torture yourself by having people show up before you and your bird are ready.
However, you should also consider not torturing your guests by having dinner start at an extremely late hour. Folks show up hungry — don't make them fast until the nighttime! Think early evening.
Happy Friendsgiving planning, everybody!