The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

The Student News Site of Monta Vista High School

El Estoque

Friends, Family and Food

Exploring Friendsgiving celebrations among students and staff
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Jooha Kim
Juniors Elaine Kao, Dylan Ngyuen, Lily Jiang and Ian Lin chat with each other during their Friendsgiving meal

Bustling around the kitchen on Thanksgiving, junior Jooha Kim helps her friends plate food for their Friendsgiving celebration. The air is full of excitement as she and her six closest friends open cupboards and pass around food and plates, eager to devour the delicious food they bought and prepared together. Then they sit for the meal, their hard work from the evening culminating in their Friendsgiving dinner.

“We really created a situation for friendliness and having a meal,” Kim said. “Having a conversation over a meal was more so solidifying us as family instead of just friends. Especially since it’s junior year. This break was really needed for me and I think it was needed for all of our friends, so it was just a time for us to get together and calm down and have a good meal together.”

Although Kim celebrated her first Friendsgiving this year, Music teacher Amy Young has been celebrating for many years, starting in college when she lived away from home and didn’t always have family around to celebrate Thanksgiving with. Since moving to California, she has exclusively celebrated Friendsgiving with old and new friends alike, enjoying the time she gets to spend with the people she cares about: her “chosen family.”

“I really like the intentionality of the time, and the fact that we set aside this day specifically to gather to share our food with one another,” Young said. “I think that’s a way that we show we care about one another. It’s just a nice way to share that relationship that already exists and get to just spend the day being grateful for it.”

Senior Tanisha Kholiya, who organized a Friendsgiving celebration with her friends, agrees with Young’s sentiment, saying that she sees both Friendsgiving and Thanksgiving as opportunities to celebrate with and express her gratitude to the people she loves. Her intention was for the celebration to give her and her friends a chance to connect with each other and catch up outside of school, and she feels she was able to strengthen her relationships with her friends as a result.

“Personally, I’ve gotten more connected to the idea of expressing gratitude versus just eating food,” Kholiya said. “Friendsgiving is a chance to celebrate what I have and express gratitude for the things that I already have instead of always wishing for more.”

Kim agrees that the experience of Friendsgiving has made her more grateful for her friends, and adds that it also has given her a better understanding of who they are as people outside of MVHS’s academic environment.

“Especially because we are still high school students and we see each other in such an academic environment, it was really refreshing to see a new perspective of a person,” Kim said. “It also reminded me that my friends are going through the same thing I am.”

For Young, one of the main points of celebrating holidays like Thanksgiving and Friendsgiving is showing gratitude for life and the people she cares about. Although she acknowledges Thanksgiving’s problematic history, Young prefers to keep it separate from Friendsgiving. She sees Friendsgiving as a way of celebrating the gratitude and friendship that Thanksgiving recognizes without the expectations and history that are attached to it.

“I think gratitude is one of the most important practices that we can keep as humans to keep us grounded in our connectedness to one another, and to keep building those friendships and those relationships,” Young said. “Friendsgiving is just a nice way to share that relationship that already exists and get to just spend the day being grateful for it.”

Kholiya agrees – however she also looks at the time with a level of bittersweet feelings, saying it may be the last year she will be able to celebrate the holiday with her high school friends.

“Next year I don’t know where I’m gonna be and I might not even be able to come back for Thanksgiving,” Kholiya said. “It’s an uncertain future, so I feel like there’s a lot of times when you can get trapped into thinking and worrying about that. But expressing gratitude through Thanksgiving and other holidays is really an opportunity to focus on the present.”

About the Contributor
Corinna Kuo, Staff Writer
Corinna Kuo is currently a sophomore and a staff writer for El Estoque. She is also a member of MVHS's Bella Voce choir and enjoys reading, sewing and tap dancing in her free time.
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