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)
Make some caramel apples with your kids to get into the carnival vibe and enjoy some yummy treats.
All you need are apples, cubes of caramel, and milk!
- Remove the stem from each apple and press a craft stick into the top.
- Butter a baking sheet
- Place caramels and milk into a microwave bowl and microwave for 2 minutes.
- Roll each apple with caramel sauce and place on sheet to set.
PS – You can use treats like nuts, cookies, etc. to add some extra flavor! (Always check for allergies before serving)
Thanksgiving, a uniquely American holiday, dates back to the first European settlers in North America.
After much hardship, illness and hard work, the Pilgrims were finally able to celebrate a successful harvest which they shared with their Native American friends who had helped them through their difficult beginning in America.
Today this day is set aside to feast and to give thanks-something we can all share, as we too celebrate our cross-cultural friendships.
Some activities to share with the children :
Maple-Nut-Berry Popcorn Balls ( for children ages 3 and older): Add some chopped walnuts and raspberries, blueberries or blackberries. Add enough melted butter to lightly coat popcorn. Stir. Pour maple syrup over the warm popcorn and stir until all the corn, nuts and berries are covered. Shape the sticky corn into balls and place on a plate to refrigerate until the syrup hardens.
Thanksgiving cards and place cards: Fold a piece of paper in half, place a leaf on the inside and close the card. Use a crayon to rub lightly across the front of the card in the area where the leaf is. The shape of the leaf will appear on the outside. Remove the leaf. Write a name on the front for a place card, or a message inside for a Thanksgiving card. Older children might want to make more sophisticated designs using more than one leaf.
Make a chain of paper doll (adults should do the cutting): Fold a piece of paper back and forth over and over again with a width between folds of 2-3 inches. With the paper folded cut out a shape of a person, make sure that the hands and feet touch the fold, but don’t cut through the fold. When you unfold the paper there will be a line of people holding hands. Children ages 3-10 can color the figures to look like Pilgrims(men wore big white collars, belts with buckles, and buckles on their shoes, pants to their knees; women wore white hats and aprons over solid color dresses) or Native Americans (draw feather headdresses and brightly colored geometric patterns on their clothes).
Tree of Thanks: This Thanksgiving tree is bound to become a new holiday tradition.
Trace leaves onto autumn colored craft’s paper and cut out. Punch a hole into the stem of each paper leaf. Measure and cut a 2” length of wire or twine for each leaf. Thread it through the hole and bend the ends to make a hook for hanging. Place the tree branches in a pot or vase. Let the children or/and guests choose a leaf or two and ask them to jot down things that they are thankful for.
With the holiday season just around the corner, it is important to review this little reminder about program rules for holidays and vacations.
- Host families are NOT REQUIRED to give au pairs any specific holidays.
- Each host family will make different arrangements on holidays, some au pairs will be off and others will be required to work.
- Au pairs should NOT make plans for holidays without checking with your host family FIRST.
- Au pair earns 2 weeks of paid vacation during the course of her year.
- The host family can pick a week and the au pair can pick a week, if an agreement is not reached.
- All vacation should be preplanned (at least 4 weeks in advance.)
- All au pair’s friends and/or family visits/vacations should be pre-approved prior to purchasing a ticket.
- If an au pair travels with their host family, it should be discussed UP FRONT whether this is the au pair’s vacation or if she is working.
- If an au pair travels with the host family to work, the host family is required to pay for her transportation, lodging and meals.
Keep these things in mind as you plan your travel and we wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season!
Important: An au pair MUST have her DS2019 signed PRIOR to her departure from the US. More info. about this can be found on the right side of this page under “Travel Links for Au Pairs.”
Please add the following dates to your calendar!
Sunday – October 21, 2012 – 2:15pm Eastern State Penitentiary – Philadelphia
Sunday – November 4, 2012 – 4pm to 6pm – Thanksgiving Dessert Party
Sunday – December 2, 2012 – 7pm to 9pm – Holiday Party for Au Pairs
January 2013 – Snow tubing (date to be determined)
Friday – February 1, 2013 – 7:30pm – Philadelphia 76ers Basketball game