Some choose friends over family during holidays

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Holidays as we know are a time to celebrate with loved ones.

Everyone has their own way of celebrating holidays and reasons for doing so.

Affordability, family dynamics, travel restrictions, tradition and COVID-19 are a few leading factors that dictate today’s coordination of holiday celebrations.

As a child, one doesn’t have much say in who and how they celebrate. The cycle is eagerly looking forward to Thanksgiving for time off from school and antagonizing parents up until the most exciting day of the year, Christmas.

As time passes, and we become young adults, family and holidays still mean the same thing, it just extends to including friends into the celebration cycle.

Friends bring meaning to everyday life, and often become family. To include them in special occasions throughout life adds more love and value to the memories being created and shared.

Each holiday holds a different level of importance to individuals as well as familiar structures. As young adults, choosing to make the decision to take on celebrating with friends creates traditions for years to come.

“Friendsgiving,”a friend-based Thanksgiving celebration was coined in 2007 but grew in popularity in 2011 when Bailey’s Irish Cream used the word in an advertising campaign, according to Merriam Webster. By 2013, Friendsgiving was widely celebrated and circulated among society, based on a Google data search.

Fast forward to 2021, and Friendsgiving is highly anticipated and celebrated among young adults. What was once a trend has blossomed into a tradition for many. An often-themed potluck, with different bonding games or conversations, creating TikTok’s and even putting up a Christmas tree are some of the many things that happen during today’s Friendsgiving celebrations.

During Christmas break, friends bring a new meaning to holidays. Having a lot of time off away from work, business and school allows us to really catch up. It is what many look forward to in their yearly planning and brings forth a lot of excitement.

Shopping, bonfires, sleepovers, road trips, Secret Santa, holiday parties, and gift exchanges are among the many activities that friends spend time planning for and partaking in days before the actual holiday itself.

Holidays can also be an overwhelming experience filled with obligations. Having friends or celebrating with friends also helps combat the winter blues, also known as seasonal affective disorder [SAD], a distinct type of  depression.

About 5 percent of adults in the United States experience SAD, according to the American Psychiatry Association.

Partaking in activities with friends can make the holiday season more enjoyable for those who may long for a “normal family.” Making the best out of a situation, with people considered family anyway, has become a meaningful and satisfying alternative.

“For many people the holiday season is not always the most wonderful time of the year,” said National Alliance on Mental Illness medical director Ken Duckworth.

Friends bring balance, peace, love, and joy which are all valuable gifts to share during the holiday season.