Thanksgiving – Home away from home

We may think that in this difficult year, people aren’t in the mood of celebrating any holiday.
Actually, we strongly believe that holidays are made for thinking about what we are grateful for.
In this episode of our Home away from home series, we will talk about the perfect holiday for being thankful: Thanksgiving. We’ll talk about this unique American celebration with a special guest, Angie Snowball-Thompson who is an English communication and culture coach and also founder of Living in America

United States of America: a melting pot.

USA is a really big country, so you would expect to have more than one culture. In fact, there are many studies about this variety. Angie told us that her favourite one is the “Eleven American cultures”. We can define the USA as a melting pot: so the cultural differences are due to the origin of each person, that means that it depends on where they came from.
On the other hand, if we consider behaviour and manners we can observe some differences between big cities such as New York and LA. Plus, we can identify differences between people from Southern and the Northern states. Angie explained that Southern people are generally kinder, slower and “more colourful”. 

The real meaning of Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is the only proper celebration of the USA, that’s because they use to celebrate a lot of holidays that come from other countries like Cinco de Mayo or Christmas and they really enjoy that. Americans really feel the spirit of Thanksgiving. It represents the origin of the United States and all the controversial history behind it. For Angie, on a personal level, it’s like Christmas but without any stress and any gifts, so just family time and food.

Food and family, the common denominator.

When we asked Angie to list the main elements for a real Thanksgiving. Without hesitations, she said just three things: food, family and football. The tradition says that every family during Thanksgiving has to prepare a lot of delicious dishes such as turkey, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, cranberries sauce, pumpkin pie and corn and of course the best moment is when the family eats together. Another element that makes people be together is football: friends and family enjoy watching the most important football match of the season or to play a family game. One fact we have to put the lights on is that even if Americans have eleven different cultures, they all have common traditions for Thanksgiving and that’s the only holiday with this peculiarity.

Thanksgiving far from home.

Angie has a particular experience of celebrating Thanksgiving outside the USA. Since she was married to a German man, a few years ago she had to spend this holiday abroad. That was the time she discovered that in any other country of the world people don’t care about Thanksgiving. They don’t sell a proper turkey, or any other ingredient useful to cook traditional dishes. That was the saddest Thanksgiving of her life. Since then, she started to appreciate this holiday more and more. That’s why when she moved back to the USA she was really grateful to be able to cook traditional dishes, and especially to be with her family that she missed the most.


This difficult year should be a great occasion to be deeply grateful for something we never appreciated before. We agree with Angie when she told us she really wishes people could be grateful. Particularly in these hard times when political and cultural reasons can divide people, we really hope that Americans could be united, proud and stronger together. 

To discover more about how people celebrate their traditions abroad, read our articles about
Diwali in Malta
Blumenau: The Brazilian Oktoberfest
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