Now, we know we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in the UK. But if you love all things American (especially food and football), it’s definitely worth considering having your own celebration anyway!
So, here is everything you’ll need to have your very own Thanksgiving celebration in the UK…
A day off
Obviously Thanksgiving isn’t a national holiday in the United Kingdom, so you’ll probably have to book the day off. Don’t worry, there’s still enough time.
If you can’t get the day off, you could always organise your own celebration at work. Just be warned that holding impromptu parades around your desk will probably be frowned upon by your colleagues and HR.
Loads and loads of food
Hooray! You’ve got the day off!
Now comes the important bit: the food. More importantly: loads of it. Thanksgiving is all about expressing your gratitude through stuffing your face with as much food as possible.
At the top of your shopping list should be a massive turkey. As a certain other big holiday is round the corner, you should be able to get one from your local supermarket. Just remember to defrost it in time…
If you’re celebrating alone or with your significant other, a turkey joint is acceptable. Also acceptable (barely) is turducken AKA the three bird roast. This might seem like an affront to tradition, but the weirdest roast of them all is championed by none other than NFL legend John Madden. Given football’s role in the big day (more on that later), it almost seems more appropriate than turkey.
Traditional accompaniments to the Thanksgiving turkey include stuffing, gravy, sweet potatoes, cornbread, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. If you fancy adding a bit more American flavour to your feast, try knocking up some biscuits and gravy too!
For pudding, look no further than pumpkin pie. It’s quite hard to find in the UK, but it’s fairly easy to bake your own: here’s a pumpkin pie filling to get you started.
You’ll probably want something to nibble on while you’re cooking too. May we suggest some American sweets?
Decoration and centrepieces
Like Christmas, Thanksgiving is often marked by decorating your home. You won’t need to go with anything as garish as tinsel or a big tree; just a centrepiece will do.
Again, buying your own centrepiece is going to be a bit of a struggle considering we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving on this side of the pond. You could order one online, or you could make your own. Here’s a couple of useful links!
No Thanksgiving is complete without a parade! Unfortunately, you won’t be able to partake in the tradition of morning/afternoon parades (time differences and all that), but you will be able to watch The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade (which is, let’s face it, the best one) live online.
If you really really want to go to a live parade, you may be able to find one in the capital. We couldn’t at the time of writing, but please let us know if you’ve heard about one in the comments.
Watch lots of American football
Now, this one might be slightly difficult given the time difference but watching football is an absolute staple of any Thanksgiving. Watch what you can live, and maybe fill the rest of the time with highlights from your favourite games (i.e. the games your team won).
Alternatively, stick on Madden NFL 16 and play through your own schedule of Thanksgiving fixtures!
The clue is in the name: Thanksgiving is all about appreciating the things that make you happy. Family is the big one, although it’s not always possible to get everyone round the same table.
Instead, give everyone you love a call and tell them how much you love and appreciate them. Or just send them a nice message on Facebook or WhatsApp. Whatever makes you comfortable.
The other big part of Thanksgiving is helping those less fortunate than ourselves. If you get a chance, volunteer for a good cause for the day, or donate to charity.
You can find volunteering opportunities near you here.
Rest, play games and sleep
Like Christmas, Thanksgiving slows down significantly following the big meal. Take advantage: sit down in your favourite chair and treat yourself to a nice nap.
If you’ve got family round, break out the boardgames (and give yourself extra points if you have the American edition of Monopoly!). Or, just watch a film or play some videogames. Just relax!
Prepare a meal plan for the leftovers
If you bought a big turkey, you’re probably going to have some spare. Fortunately, there’s actually quite a lot you can do with turkey – you just need a few good recipes. And what do you know, it’s such a prevalent problem in the States that numerous websites have published entire posts dedicated to leftover recipes!
Prepare for Black Friday
After Thanksgiving comes that other great American tradition, Black Friday.
In the States, quite a lot of people get up early on Friday morning (or even camp out on Thanksgiving!) to get to their favourite store and grab a few bargains.
Given that Black Friday isn’t quite as popular in this country yet (although it’s getting there), you won’t need to be that extreme. If you have the day off work, though, it’s worth taking a look at some of the offers available on the high street and heading out as early as possible to grab them. Just don’t start wrestling a TV out of some poor old woman’s hands; manners still apply!
If you are at work, get online and check out some of the online bargains. Sites like Amazon typically run their deals on an hourly basis, so keep checking throughout the day!