The Truth About Friendsgiving (And The Season of Loneliness) by Calvin Eaton

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The Truth About Friendsgiving (And The Season of Loneliness) by Calvin Eaton

It is no secret or surprise that everything that white supremacy culture taught us about Thanksgiving and the reason for the annual holiday is a myth and a lie. There’s very little historical record of the first Thanksgiving as Americans know it, says National Geographic, which is why Thanksgiving wasn’t celebrated as a national holiday until 300 years after it was originally thought to have occurred; President Abraham Lincoln officially declared “a day of Thanksgiving” in 1863, in the midst of the Civil War.

Still for so many Thanksgiving is memorialized with ritual and steeped in tradition that includes food, family, and camaraderie. But like all Western holidays and annual tradition the culture fails to accept that the celebration of Thanksgiving for some is not only toxic but inaccessible. Not everyone has a family they can visit, or even want to visit. The holiday season is generally thought of as a time of joy and love, but for far too many people, it’s a time of loneliness. Some people live far from family and miss seeing their loved ones this time of year; others dread going to holiday parties and New Year’s Eve celebrations without a partner and end up staying home. It’s also common for people to feel emotional distance from the people they’re with, thus feeling lonely even if they’re in a room full of people.

For those who feel a sense of loneliness, Thanksgiving marks a beginning to the stress that is further induced when you add chronic illness to the mix. And for many, the origins of what we come to know as Thanksgiving is mired in colonialism, racism, and genocide; hardly a time to celebrate. That said, mainstream culture is set up in a way that makes not celebrating the holiday extremely difficult and extremely isolating. Enter in Friendsgiving,

What is Friendsgiving?

Friendsgiving is an opportunity to enjoy the best parts of Thanksgiving, without sometimes stressful family members; it’s celebrating with your chosen family, typically before Thanksgiving arrives. The Friendsgiving holiday started picking up steam as a mainstream cultural staple at about the same time the economy took a nose dive into the toilet in 2008.

According to Bustle:

As the story goes, millennials graduated college and moved to big cities with hopes and dreams of successful careers, swanky loft apartments, and an overall fabulous life. What actually happened was a lot of side hustling to make ends meet while millennials got rejected from the real jobs they had taken out tens of thousands of dollars in student loans to train for, cramped quarters with terrible roommates, regular dinners of ramen noodles, and wallets so empty that no one could afford a plane ticket home to celebrate Thanksgiving with their families. Friendsgiving can be celebrated any day, any time of year, but most gatherings take place in November before the annual holiday.

Why Friendsgiving?

For us, bringing friends and community together over shared interest is what we are all about. Curating space and place for folks to feel safe and comfortable is the heart of 540WMain and it is for this reason that we are curating the first Plant-Based Friendsgiving on Friday November 22,  at 6:30 PM

We are excited to host 540WMain’s first Plant-Based Friendsgiving on Friday November 22,  at 6:30 PM

Click here to RSVP for our Plant-Based Friendsgiving

This event is FREE and open to all members of the community looking for ways to connect and build relationships no matter the reason. We hope to see you there.

Like this blog? Check out our Podcast!


  1. When Did Friendsgiving Start? It’s Actually Newer Than You Might Think, Bustle
  2. 9 Myths About Thanksgiving & The Real Facts Behind Them, Bustle
  3. What Is Friendsgiving? Plus More That You Probably Didn’t Know About This Friends-First Tradition, Real Simple
  4. Loneliness and The Holidays: Dealing With Loneliness During The Holiday Season, Very Well Mind
  5. A few things you (probably) don’t know about Thanksgiving, National Geographic

Published by Calvin Eaton

(he/his/him) Calvin Eaton is a disabled community educator, content creator, and social entrepreneur, whose area of expertise includes antiracism, equity, justice, instructional design, and program development. In 2016 Mr. Eaton founded 540WMain, Inc. a non-profit online and community-based organization for accessible education and events that promote justice for all.

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