The Rise of Friendsgiving: How Millennials Have Invented Their Own Holiday

It has all the trimmings of a Thanksgiving feast, but none of the family drama. Welcome to the age of Friendsgiving. Millennials in the U.S. are embracing a new version of the fall tradition, gathering with friends for their own turkey feasts and creating their own holiday in the process. 30% of Millennials 13-24-years-old on Thumb told us that they celebrate Friendsgiving. The phrase has even made it to Urban Dictionary. The new holiday has taken over college campuses and urban friend groups alike, and is starting to become an important ritual for many Millennials.

The rules around Friendsgiving are not hard and fast. For some, the holiday replaces Thanksgiving, especially if they are stuck at home, in dorms, or abroad, and aren’t able to make it to their family festivities. Friendsgiving celebrations have been thriving on college campuses, where students might not have the time or money to travel. But for others, Friendsgiving is being added to their schedules in November in the weeks before or the days after their regular Thanksgivings. So if they are already getting their regularly scheduled serving of turkey and pie, why is Friendsgiving becoming a thing

It might sound like a cliché explanation, but Millennials’ group mentality probably has a lot to do with the new holiday. For them, friends aren’t just friends, but another form of family. As one student newspaper put it, “Not only does Friendsgiving give students the opportunity to be thankful for their second family at school, but it also removes the inevitable awkward moments that come with any family holiday…Have a Friendsgiving. Celebrate both of your families.” Friendsgiving solidifies a friend group or a clique and makes the people in that group feel special, and more like family. On top of that, the holiday is…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“As a graphic designer, without the arts being available to me in school I would have been lost as a child and where to take my career path. The fact that schools are cutting art programs is heartbreaking.”—Female, 24, NJ

Applebee’s is putting down the sriracha and giving up on trying to appeal to Millennials. The brand has decided their newer menu items—like a “triple pork bonanza” sandwich—and attempt at a “modern bar and grill” reinvention has “alienate[d]” Boomers and Gen Xers. They’re shutting down more than 130 restaurants and bringing back initiatives from before their attempted “pendulum swing towards millennials,” all-you-can-eat specials and 2-for-$20 deals. Other brands are creating new spin off chains to appeal to fast-casual lovingMillennials, that “[lack] the associated baggage of the old.” (Inc, NPR)

Adults-only ball pits, bouncy houses, and giant slides are sweeping the U.K. Millennials seeking a break from adulthood are flocking to places like Wacky World’s “massive bouncy-castle obstacle course,” which started out as a children’s event. The founder received so many requests that now every event has an 18-and-over slot, and has expanded to 19 cities. This “trend for arrested development activities” is caused by nostalgia, but the influx of marketing and branding leveraging the emotion could be popularizing these playgrounds for adults. (The Guardian)

Facebook is responding to the trend of asking for birthday charitable donations by integrating it right into the platform. Users in the U.S. can now trade in all the “HBD”s they get on Facebook for donations to the cause of their choice: well-wishers will be notified of the birthday along with the selected non-profit, and get the chance to donate. Facebook will ask users which charity they wish to dedicate their day to two weeks in advance, allowing them to choose from 750,000 organizations. (TNW)

Appear Here is the Airbnb of pop-up shops, giving brands their perfect temporary store for the new era of retail. The company finds short term retail space, and has worked with big-name brands like Nike and Net-a-Porter to open “experimental activations” or “test new products.” As brick-and-mortar continues to suffer and long-term stores close, Appear Here says physical retail is still needed, but to “tell a story.” The pop-up industry was valued at $50 billion in 2015, and provides a more low-risk, flexible option to avoid the retail wasteland. (Glossy)

Millennials & Gen Z are turning a profit online and on mobile by re-selling their retail. Thredup, Poshmark, and Depop are just a few of the most popular brands cashing in on the resale economy’s $18 billion market, and some shoppers say they are making $300 a week on the platforms. Some are also using social to sell, often in conjunction with apps or sites, including Snapchat, Facebook Groups, and Instagram. College students on a budget are reportedly especially drawn to resale, thanks to convenience, value, and access to luxury at a lower price. (FN)

“Adult means being entirely independent. I pay my own bills, make all decisions in my life, and feel very in control.”—Male, 20, NY

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