So you’ve moved or are planning to move to the US and you keep hearing about “Thanksgiving”. What’s it all about? How do you do it properly? And what are the features that make it such a beloved holiday in the United States?

Update (11/27/2017): Here’s my First Thanksgiving Debrief – Since then I’ve been to a few more Thanksgivings and now have a family in the United States to share it with, but I think this is a good snapshot of America Josh only a few months in.


Well. Here’s everything you need to know (from me, the guy who hasn’t been to one yet – I’m right there with you):

What’s the story behind Thanksgiving?

The story goes that the first Thanksgiving was a celebration of harvest when the Pilgrims invited the Native Americans to a big feast back in 1621 (although there are a few issues with the story). A day of unity is generally the message;

What does Thanksgiving look like for most people?

It’s a very family-oriented holiday. People coming together, but without gifts and instead just giving thanks for each other;

Lots of food is shared:

  1. People love a big turkey as the centerpiece of the meal;
  2. Stuffing is important;
  3. So is gravy;
  4. So is cranberry sauce;
  5. So is pie, regularly pumpkin (!?);

Games can be played.

Football is on TV.

“Thanksgiving Dinner” is for many a kinda late lunch/dinner (it’s very similar to what I know as Christmas lunch).

As a tradition, many go around the table before eating to announce something they are thankful for from the previous year, or right there and then;

If you don’t have family, a lot of people do “Friendsgiving” or an “Orphans’ Thanksgiving” so that you can celebrate in a similar fashion with friends;

In many of these, you will be required to bring a plate of food to share, and probably something to drink too, be sure to check what you should bring!

There’s a huge parade thrown by department store, Macy’s;

Fun fact: More than 50 million turkeys are served up in the US every year for Thanksgiving.

Whoa.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!