Thanksgiving Traditions Millennials Are Thankful For

Based on a non-scientific survey of Millennials (aka, asking people I know in real life or on Facebook/Twitter), here are 10 modern–and old school–traditions that Generation Y was particularly thankful for yesterday.


1) Friendsgiving


Because everything is better with friends.

While lots of Millennials still go home for the holidays, spending time with blood relatives isn’t the most important thing on Thanksgiving to this generation. Generation Y has embraced the concept of “Friendsgiving”: having the holiday with people you love, related or not. This twist on the traditions stems from not being able to get home for the holidays due to work, cost or distance, and occasionally just perfering to avoid family drama. Friendsgiving has all the same elements of a family Thanksgiving: sharing good food with great people.


2) Technology


Skype is awesome, and enjoy explaining how to use it to your grandma.

Technology like snapchat, what’s app, and Skype have truly altered the way some people connect with family during the holidays. For family members who are far away, across the country or possibly overseas, these new technologies can help everyone stay connected no matter the distance.


3) Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday

Seriously, who wants to do this?

Forget the possible agony of Black Friday, lots of people, no matter their age, are opting to shop online this year. While some people will always love the thrill of the hunt the day after Thanksgiving, plenty of Millennials are super thankful for the option of Cyber Monday.


4) Cooking



From Grandma’s famous stuffing, to a new twist on the bacon-wrapped turkey, the next generation enjoys Thanksgiving kitchen time. No frozen dinners this season, Millennials are measuring, sampling and creating home-cooked recipes.


5) Social Media

#NoFiler Turkey

#NoFilter Turkey

Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram: Millennials are sharing about their holiday. It could be pictures of the perfect pie, family photo ops, or just taking a moment to wish everyone you know a great day. (I even saw a few “help, how do I fix these mashed potatoes before my parents get here??” type posts.) Social media is not a distraction, but an enhancement of the holiday.


6) Potluck


What’s better than sharing delicious pie?

Cooking isn’t just for the host. Lots of Millennials invite their friends to bring their own favorite dish to Thanksgiving. Menus are no longer traditional, they are a chance to share and experience new things with people you love.


7) Football


Go Team.


Generation Y still loves a good football game. They will continue to hang out in from of the TV together after their meal and cheer til everyone slips into a food coma.


8) Craft Brews

How crafty.

How crafty.

With all those new recipes comes new drinks to try it with. Just scan through your Facebook and check out all the pictures of Thanksgiving beers, special sparkling wines, or other holiday themed adult beverages.


9) Modern Family

Family is who you love.

Family is who you love.

Many Millennials lived through divorces, cross country moves, and other lifestyle changes during their childhood. This blended, “modern family” style makes many people in this generation open to new ways to celebrate their holiday. Some plan two Thanksgiving meals, incorporate multiple traditions into their day or just feel comfortable expanding the definition of family.


10) Starting a New Tradition


Make it YOURS.

Make it YOURS.

Twenty-somethings are finding their way in adulthood and making decisions about how THEIR Thanksgiving will go. These decisions are exciting, and everyone approaches them differently. Some Millennials enjoy the old traditions passed down for generations. Others like quirky, nontraditional options on the holiday. A lot of these traditions involve making something from scratch or giving back to charity (see #GivingTuesday). Each one is personalized. But the thing they all have in common is the spirit of giving and family, because that Thanksgiving tradition will never change.



Just one last thing I had to mention… Many, many Millennials complained about this one Thanksgiving tradition, so I felt compelled to include it in this post. Here is the one thing none of us ARE NOT THANKFUL FOR:


Thanksgiving Spam.

Those cute-sy-little mass Thanksgiving greetings via email, Facebook messenger or text…



No one likes an impersonal message with an inspirational quote. Especially when you don’t BBC everyone.


Text messages

Or this will happen.

About Katrina Jorgensen

Katrina Jorgensen is a devoted advocate for Millennial issues with deep concerns over the direction of America's foreign policy. She seeks to promote political education and empowerment for her generation. You can find her on Twitter @Veribatim. With her focus on Eurasia, Katrina acts as Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to the Young Republican National Federation, part of their International Committee. She is a writer and communication specialist in her day job. She regularly contributes to conservative blogs such as Red Alert and IJReview. She has worked as freelance journalist for think tanks, major media outlets and print newspapers. For 6 years, she ran her own web design and consulting company in Texas. Her true passion is non-profits. Katrina has worked for and advised multiple international NGOs. She volunteers her time and provides marketing advice to local charities and other not-for profit-organizations. Katrina also loves reading wonky foreign policy blogs, instgramming her cooking experiments, losing herself in a fiction novel, and exploring new places with her husband, Kai.