Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November each year. Even though a few other countries also celebrate Thanksgiving, it’s still considered a uniquely American holiday, one that the au pairs look forward to experiencing. You can learn more about it here.
“I really enjoyed Thanksgiving with my host family. It was as I imagined! So much food to try. Everyone got dressed up and shared what they were thankful for. It was so warm and special. The next day we began to prepare for Christmas. It was magical.” Selina from Germany
Below you will find some tips to help you have a terrific Thanksgiving experience.
1. Please plan to include your au pair in your Thanksgiving celebration, if at all possible. Thanksgiving with an au pair offers an opportunity to consider the relevance of the history and meaning of Thanksgiving as you compare the hospitality offered by the Native Americans to the recently arrived Pilgrims and the hospitality you offer your au pair.
2. If you are traveling or will not be able to invite your au pair to join you for Thanksgiving, give her plenty of notice and help her make alternate plans. You don’t want to leave your au pair alone over the holiday.
3. If you are invited to attend dinner, please let your family know within 5 days of the invitation, whether you are planning to attend. It is considered rude in America to accept the invitation for dinner and then change your mind later in the month. Please be thoughtful.
4. Make sure to discuss time off during this holiday weekend. Many host families work the Friday after Thanksgiving so do not assume you have this day off or the entire weekend. Talk to your host family, BEFORE you make any plans.
5. If your host family is unable to include you in their Thanksgiving plans, please let me know if you have trouble making other plans. You may be able to join a friend and their host family for the holiday dinner.
Bonus Tip for the Kids
If you are looking for a fun recipe to make with your au pair, check out these turkey cupcakes. Find more fun activities and recipes on the Au Pair in America Fall Holidays pinboard.
Photo: Tim Sackton (Flickr)
Memorial Day was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states then others followed. It is now celebrated nationwide each year on the last Monday in May. On Memorial Day weekend people visit cemeteries to honor those who have died in military service, placing flowers and American flags on graves and in parks. This holiday weekend is also known for family gatherings, trips to the beach and participation in parades. For many Americans memorial Day also marks the beginning of summer. Families enjoy picnics or barbecues and open the swimming pool for the summer season. Typical Memorial Day food includes hamburgers, fried chicken, potato salad, baked beans, grilled meats and all sorts of pies.
Children can be a part of Memorial Day too. Here are some links to children’s activities:
Known as the Fourth of July and Independence Day, July 4th has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1941, but the tradition of Independence Day celebrations goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution (1775-83). In June 1776, representatives of the 13 colonies then fighting in the revolutionary struggle weighed a resolution that would declare their independence from Great Britain. On July 2nd, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later its delegates adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson. From 1776 until the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of American independence, with typical festivities ranging from fireworks, parades and concerts to more casual family gatherings and barbecues.
After snow caused the Baltimore cluster to reschedule 2 outdoor events, they opted for a cozy meetup at Panera Bread Company where they enjoyed bagels, and each others company. Au pairs each received an umbrella with the APIA logo! The Annapolis cluster participated in an International Cookie Exchange where all the girls brought home baked cookies typical of their home country to share! All the girls went home with a bag of cookies from all over the world. They also participated in a Secret Santa gift exchange and for some it was the first time they engaged in stealing gifts from each other! Additionally, a Federal Marshall stopped by to speak with the girls about safety tips when out on the town with friends and how to remain alert when out with the children they take care of during the busy holiday season. The Annapolis cluster received coffee mugs filled with hot chocolate as their gift!
The Annapolis, Baltimore and Columbia clusters all hosted holiday parties this month. The Annapolis cluster enjoyed a gift exchange and an international cookie swap where all the girls brought a baked good typical to their home country to share. Everyone went home with a bag of cookies from around the world. The Annapolis and Columbia clusters invited a Federal Marshal to attend to speak to the girls about personal safety when going out alone, with friends or when out with the children that have been entrusted to their care. Topics discussed included awareness of their surroundings, how to handle going shopping with children and what to do in case they find themselves to be a victim of a crime. Internet safety tips were discussed as well. The counselors presented the au pairs with a wonderful bright red umbrella with the Au Pair in America logo as our holiday gift to them. The Baltimore cluster had fun displaying their cheerful red umbrellas for the camera. It was a perfect day to hand out umbrellas as the weather was overcast and drizzly on Sunday. The cluster also did a Secret Santa gift exchange. Everyone left with a little gift, and feeling very much in the spirit of the season. We wish all the au pairs, the host families and their beautiful children a blessed and wonderful holiday, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the busy holiday season. This great website offers 50-plus great places to see the holiday lights in 2012. Lights on the Bay outside of Annapolis are listed as Number 2! It is a drive-through holiday light show at Sandy Point State Park along the Chesapeake Bay, where there are stationery and animated displays including a glowing lighthouse, Navy midshipmen, oysters and blue crabs. Visit between November 19th and January 2nd. If you are traveling out of town to visit with family and friends this website offers many other places to check out the holiday lights to get everyone into the spirit. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!
Click HERE for 50+ Great Places to See Holiday Lights.