The Thanksgiving holiday is primarily celebrated in America and Canada. But there are scores of Americans living abroad for work, school or pleasure. As much fun as it is to experience a new culture, it is hard for expats to give up all the traditions they left behind, and Thanksgiving is no exception.
Luckily, there’s no reason that Americans living abroad can’t observe, celebrate and enjoy the holiday from anywhere in the world. People who live outside of America rely on celebrations like Thanksgiving to remind them of friends and family back home. Here are a few ways that expats make the day special
It may or may not be possible to get Thanksgiving staples depending on where the expat lives. In some places, it’s easy to find frozen turkeys and potatoes to create an authentic feast. In other places, however, the local culture has never seen a turkey, let alone a can of cranberry sauce.
In instances where the menu is a challenge, expats often prepare a feast of local cuisine. In the same way that Thanksgiving in America is a time to enjoy eating a little too much delicious food, there is the opportunity to feast on something almost anywhere in the world. And since Thanksgiving is not a holiday in most places, restaurants are open and happy to feed a hungry crowd. Expats in particularly remote areas might indulge in one favorite food as a way to mark the holiday.
Much like Thanksgiving itself, football is largely an American phenomenon. In larger foreign cities it may be possible to watch American football on satellite TV, but this often means staying up until odd hours. Die-hard fans make the effort, but most expats find some other way to enjoy the sport.
In places where there is a large American population, or a group of eager locals, games of touch football are organized just like they are in backyards across America. In some other cases they play soccer or basketball, or fall back on video game football to remind them of home.
Friends and Family
Many expats use Thanksgiving abroad as a way to introduce American traditions to new friends and bond over a great meal. Groups of Americans often organize some sort of Thanksgiving celebration and then invite along their new friends to join in the fun. Most will tell you that the company and camaraderie is more important than the food or festivities.
Thanksgiving is also a great time to call home by phone or video chat. When multiple generations gather together under one roof to celebrate Thanksgiving, it gives the expat a chance to chat with them all and experience the warmth of family. For those that are open-minded and a little flexible, Thanksgiving abroad can be a truly special occasion.
If you know someone who is living outside of the country, consider sending them a care package for the holiday. Pack it full of their favorite nonperishable foods, include a handwritten letter, and maybe even a picture. Simple gestures like these mean a lot to the person receiving the package.
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