The end of November is a special time for many Americans as it often marks the end of any possible warm weather and the beginning of the countdown to the end of the year. If you happen to be travelling in the United States of America during the month of November and have made American friends, you may be lucky enough to be invited to one of the most intimate of gatherings – Thanksgiving.
Unlike Canadian Thanksgiving that is held in October and is a harvest festival, American Thanksgiving is held almost a month and a half later on the fourth Thursday in November and is a much bigger deal than it’s Canadian counterpart. Often taking place over four days, many of the U.S’s major cities virtually shutdown during this time and everyone goes on vacation – unless you happen to work in retail on the Friday.
It’s not a time of year for travel though, unless your travel involves going back home to see your family. Thanksgiving is first and foremost a family event with relatives gathering around a large meal, often a turkey with stuffing, potatoes and many types of pie. This is why if you happen to be invited to someone’s Thanksgiving it either means you’re considered a part of the family or it’s an act of kindness. Either way, it’s an honour.
Families gather together, perhaps watch American football or play it themselves, have a few drinks, say what they are thankful for and generally eat more than is humanly possible. It’s a grand time and something that has to be experienced.
In recent times, American Thanksgiving has come to mark the beginning of the holiday shopping season, with many people not starting to buy Christmas gifts until this time. Stores know this, and offer ridiculous deals – sometimes it is hard to tell if this phenomena is real or fabricated, as every year stores try to outdo the previous one. If you’ve never been shopping on Thanksgiving Friday (or Black Friday as it is known) it is quite the sight to behold
If you happen to be invited to someone’s Thanksgiving a good idea is to bring some sort of gift but this depends on the family so inquire ahead of time. Wine is usually a safe bet unless the family doesn’t drink, so maybe opt for a pie of sorts. Pumpkin is always popular, or apple, but some other kind of fruit pie will be a huge hit.
American Thanksgiving is one of the most important days of the year for many families because it is a time to be thankful for what you have and show kindness to others. While it’s not a holiday to travel to America specifically for, the various sights that you will be greeted with from parades to shopping sprees make it an enjoyable coincidence if you happen to be there during this time.