Thanksgiving, like Halloween, has nothing to do with London or the UK (or even Europe), but like many other things it's about to become a tradition on this side of the world too.
In a week, on Thursday, November 28th, millions of Americans around the world are going to be celebrating Thanksgiving around a table. And there are a lot of Americans living in London, and if you, like me have lots of American friends, you are going to find this guide to celebrate Thanksgiving in London quite useful.
### But what is Thanksgiving?
Thanksgiving has been celebrated in America since 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln declared it an official national holiday. Thanksgiving commemorates the feast that was shared between the Plymouth colonists and the native Wampanoag Indians in Virginia in 1621.
As the name says, this is a celebration of gratitude, a sort of reminder of all of the things we should appreciate in our lives every day: food, home, friends, love... Among all the other imported festivities, like Halloween and Black Friday, a gratitude day is probably the one feast I'm going to import in my own London life. Additionally, this s a great holiday to celebrate with the elderly as well as the little ones. Unlike in the US, where Thanksgiving is a four-day weekend, Londoners can celebrate this holiday in a day still enjoying the true mood, food, family and friends. Here are some great ways to get into the Thanksgiving spirit, even without the turkey!
1. Food, glorious Food
Something that makes Thanksgiving such a great holiday it's that is all about food. Turkey is the main dish and Americans in London like to order theirs from Partridges. But what if you don't have the time to cook this giant beast? Well, there are plenty of options to eat it all around London. Here are our favourites:
- CUT at 45 Park Lane is offering a traditional three-course meal with classic Thanksgiving flavours (£55 per person)
- Balthazar was born in New York 20 years ago, and for this year's Thanksgiving is going to host a traditional meal both for lunch and dinner on November, 28th. (£55 per person)
- Bea’s of Bloomsbury is the perfect option if you don't feel like eating out since it offers a delivery and takeaway Thanksgiving menu. Not only on Thanksgiving day, but it is available from Tuesday 25 to Friday 28 November in full American style!
2. Colours, Craft and Games
If you have kids, the Thanksgiving story is a great one to share with them while making biscuits or creating some crafts together. You can also pull out your games like Monopoly, Life and Pictionary, which are all a great way to spend some quality time with children and friends.
3. St Paul's Mass
Every year, a Thanksgiving service takes place from 11:00am – 12:00pm and is free to attend. The church does fill up quickly, so going early to queue is better. The doors open at 10:00am.
4. Watch Friends' Thanksgiving
If there is one series that wins above all, it must be Friends. In fact, I still have to meet one person who doesn't love the American series. And what's best than watching all Friends' Thanksgiving episodes in a day? Maybe start while the turkey cooks in the oven and pick it up with your belly full.
5. Football is a must
Thanksgiving wouldn't be real Thanksgiving without some American football. Londoners can catch the NFL games pretty much every sports bar and pub around London. Don't miss it!
6. Volunteer and be grateful
Since Thanksgiving is all about giving and gratitude, there is no better way to show how grateful we are as volunteering. You can do it at a local shelter, soup kitchens, or religious institutions. To make it even bigger and better, you can also invite your friends and family members to volunteer with you.
And you? How are you going to celebrate this Thanksgiving? Any tips you can share?
Read more about living in London here:
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