Thanksgiving Traditions for Expats in Europe

by Anne Flannery

Nov 13, 2017

Thanksgiving © Mythja | Dreamstime

Tips / Other

It is Thanksgiving and you are not in the United States. Unlike most other holidays, being an expat on this occasion has a particularly lonely vibe. You may have to work on that day or you may just be missing the food, family and friends that always accompany the holiday when you are at home. No matter where you are, there are ways to keep things festive and if you find yourself in Central Europe there is a way you might be able to combine some holidays to include new friends.

First, invite friends over for a potluck. One thing you can avoid while being away from home is the stress of one person taking on most of the cooking. Share the cooking tasks among two, three or 10 people and invite people over and ask them to bring their favorite dish from home, wherever that is.

If you are really invested in cooking a turkey, it is possible to find one in most European countries, although some will be more difficult than others. If you are in Germany or Austria, try a Merkur market. Otherwise, substitute a goose or a duck. Improvisation is part of Thanksgiving celebrations. Combine it with the November celebration of St. Martin’s Day.

Have all of your guests create a gratitude circle. Each person can mention one thing for which they are grateful, or will be more grateful for in the coming year.

Going along with the idea of gratitude, Thanksgiving is a nice opportunity to give back to the community in which you live by having everyone make a donation to a local cause.

If all else fails, do something completely different. Enjoy the day and be thankful.

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