Thanksgiving in Europe: 5 ways to celebrate as an American expat

 Thanksgiving in Europe: 5 ways to celebrate as an American expat

Being an expat may seem daunting, especially for an American celebrating Thanksgiving in Europe, but that fear should subside once you’ve completed your ingredients list for an almost perfect Thanksgiving dinner. Well almost, because you’re not back home surrounded by your loving family who share the same enthusiasm for this special day.

Thanksgiving in Europe

I’ve always wondered how Americans managed to celebrate Thanksgiving in Europe outside of their home country, but I quickly understood that home is where the heart is after living with an American girl in my second year at university in London.

Shirley was determined to celebrate this day no matter what the obstacle. The main one being the fact that none of her flatmates including myself were Americans. My former flatmate spent the whole day of Thanksgiving eve going to different stores in order to gather all the necessary ingredients she’d need for her recipes. I remember thinking “Why go through so much if you’re the only one celebrating?”, but I soon forgot that question when I was invited to taste her delicious pumpkin pie.

This experience got me thinking as to how other Americans living abroad celebrated Thanksgiving in Europe. Do they all spend hours in the kitchen like Shirley to share it with non-American citizens or they just don’t celebrate? What do they do? To get to the bottom of this mystery I created a poll for Americans living Europe. To my surprise, a lot are very much like my friend Shirley but many are different.

Here are five different ways to spend Thanksgiving in Europe:

1) Celebrate with other nationalities (dinner at home)

Thanksgiving recipe ideas

Many Americans have shared with us that they enjoy replicating the same concept of a big Thanksgiving dinner in Europe like they do in America, including other nationalities and introducing this special occasion to people who are unfamiliar with a traditional Thanksgiving feast.

2) Celebrate Thanksgiving in Europe with other American expats:

Thanksgiving with family

Luckily there is more than ONE American living in Europe, making it less lonely for all the other American expats wanting to spend this holiday with their compatriots. If you don’t have American friends or family members living close by, the help of numerous online expat forums helps make it possible to find people from the States to celebrate Thanksgiving in Europe with.

3) Celebrate with family members also living in Europe:


If you have family members also living in Europe, this a great opportunity for you to travel abroad, discover a new place and experience a new culture whilst celebrating with people who equally share a special interest for this celebratory day. Being with your family for this special day will help you feel at your home away from home.

4) Restaurants: Thanksgiving dinner

thanksgiving in Europe

If you are living abroad and you still want to enjoy the feeling of Thanksgiving without going through the trouble of spending hours in the kitchen, many restaurants in big European cities offer Thanksgiving options for American expats living abroad.

5) Do not celebrate: TRAVEL

It’s an unexpected one, but apparently, according to the poll, a good number of Americans prefer not to worry about this day if they’re outside of their home country.  They’d rather enjoy other leisurely activities such as traveling abroad whether it’s within or outside Europe. The bottom line is they make the most of this opportunity to do something fun!

in the end, it appears that many American expats have not changed their stripes – Thanksgiving is still popular. Although being an expat in Europe does not make it the easiest to celebrate, they still do what they can to make the day of Thanksgiving in Europe as special as possible.

Europe Language Café

Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: