Thanksgiving is a time when expats naturally think about their family and friends back in the States. No other country celebrates on the same day in the same way, so there might be an inclination for expats to hide away with a turkey sandwich. There are however lots of other things you can do to make Thanksgiving just as fun and memorable abroad as in the States. In this article, we’ll tell you how.
Find some turkey
Don’t assume that just because you’re in a foreign country that there’s no one else celebrating Thanksgiving. In many countries, there are a large number of other American expats, and there’s a high likelihood that some local restaurants in this area will be offering a traditional turkey-and-stuffing dinner. It may not taste like Grandma’s, but you’ll be celebrating together with (and thankful to find) other Americans in the same situation as you.
Look around in the city you’re in and see what you can find. If you’re not sure about some of the local places, look for an American hotel chain. Chances are, they’ll have a Thanksgiving buffet.
Cook your own thanksgiving dinner
If you enjoy cooking, invite some friends over and cook your own Thanksgiving dinner. If you don’t know any other Americans nearby, invite some foreign friends, who will most likely be delighted to enjoy having an American-style Thanksgiving dinner.
However, you may need to make a few substitutions. For example, in some European countries, most turkeys are raised to be eaten at Christmas, so you may find it difficult to find a full-sized one. In other countries, you may not find a turkey at all, so be prepared to improvise.
FaceTime family festivities back home
Schedule a video chat with your family and friends back home. Everyone can pass around the device and say hi. While it might be a little loud if there are a lot of people, it should ease some of those feelings of missing out.
Laugh don’t cry!
Don’t assume that just because you’re in a foreign country that there’s no one else celebrating Thanksgiving.
If you’re not feeling like putting on a party or socializing, stockpile some celebratory snacks find a traditional Thanksgiving movie to watch. One of the most loved ones is “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” or perhaps you’re a fan of “How I Met Your Mother”- watch the Slapsgiving episode.
Dedicate the day to family
Many expats are married to a foreigner, and perhaps have a family of their own. If this is you, introduce Thanksgiving to your new family to keep the tradition going.
Another idea is to spend the day doing something special for your family back home, perhaps visiting a local markets to purchase handmade Christmas gifts, or write letters to send back home to let your loved ones know that you miss them.
Make the day your own
There’s usually so much going on when you travel abroad, that the days fly by. When Thanksgiving rolls around, take a day off and spend it treating yourself. Spend the day at the spa getting pampered. Go to the movies. Go hiking or to the beach. Explore an area that you haven’t been to yet. Finally, at the end of the day, treat yourself to a nice dinner.
If you are spending the holiday season abroad, the worst thing you can do is wallow in missing the U.S. Don’t stay in your room munching on a turkey sandwich. Get out and celebrate Thanksgiving in your own way. Make your own memories. Experiencing life abroad gives you so much to be thankful for, after all. That way, you’ll always have fond memories of celebrating the holiday season abroad.