Thanksgiving is a public holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November every year in the United States. It started as a harvest festival and has been celebrated nationally on and off since 1789. The most important part of Thanksgiving for American families is to spend family time together.
“My favorite holiday was Thanksgiving. Firstly, it was my first holiday with the whole family in America. Secondly, the whole family came together. All aunts and uncles and their kids came to grandma’s. We played football with all of them, including grandma and grandpa. It was the first time I played it and it was so much fun for all. We had a great dinner with all the typical things you can imagine … it was deeeelicious! It was so great to be with such a big family and I really enjoyed that day. I will remember it my whole life, I hope.” – Swantje from Germany
Here are a few tips to help you have a terrific Thanksgiving experience.
Please plan to include your au pair in your Thanksgiving celebration, if at all possible. 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.
If you are invited to attend dinner, please let your family know within 5 days of the invitation, whether you are planning to attend, so they may make plans. If your host family is unable to include you in their Thanksgiving plans, please let me know if you have trouble making other plans, so I can assist.
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.
Bonus Tip for the Kids
If you are looking for a fun recipe to make with your au pair, check out these turkey cookies. Find more fun activities and recipes on the Au Pair in America Fall Holidays pinboard.
Thanksgiving dates back to the first European settlers in North America. After hardship, illness and hard work the Pilgrims celebrated a successful harvest that they shared with their Native American friends. This national holiday is a day to feast and give thanks.
Photo: Benjamin Chun
Click here for some fun craft ideas!
Here are some activities you can do with the children to celebrate Thanksgiving. Click on the picture or any of the links below to find crafts, coloring sheets, spelling worksheets, math puzzles, nametags and more.
This year for our Thanksgiving cluster meeting we had our annual pie tasting. Everyone got to taste the different pies they may see during Thanksgiving (Pumpkin, Apple, Pecan) and vote for their favorite one. Many au pairs had never tried pumpkin pie before. Apple Pie was the winner this year.
For the holidays this year we also decided to write letters to the troops. Au Pairs can relate to being away from home for the holidays and therefore we all sent letters of encouragement for others who wouldn’t be home.
Another great cluster meeting!
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)
From Christine Connally, Community Counselor in MD:
Childcare focus – Check with your host parents before you buy a child a toy that requires close supervision – electrically operated toys, shooting toys and games, chemistry sets, and the like. Remember, too, that younger children may have access to toys intended for older children once the toy has been brought into the home.
Driving – Traffic tends to be heavier around the Holidays. My best advice is to leave earlier than normal and take your time. Be the “bigger person” and allow that one last car to slip in ahead of you. It may avoid an accident. Remember au pairs can be asked to pay up to $500 of the deductible for an accident.
Healthy eating – is your house filled with treats, and goodies that are tempting you? It is the season, and you are here for a cultural exchange, so try some of the traditional sweets your host family is offering, but it is a good idea to downsize your portions – how much you eat is as important as what you eat.
Hints for success – If there is an alarm system for the house, be sure that the au pair is listed with the alarm company as a legitimate user of the alarm. Also, the au pair must know the appropriate security code in case of a false alarm.
Photo: Benjamin Chun
Please click here to view arts and crafts ideas for fall, Halloween, and Thanksgiving with kids
Some fun craft ideas for the season!
APIA Fall, Halloween & Thanksgiving pinboard with lots of great activity ideas. Visit. http://www.pinterest.com/aupairinamerica/fall-halloween-thanksgiving/
From Cynthia Moody, Community Counselor in Nashville TN:
Now that Halloween is over, we are already talking about the holidays! One in particular: Thanksgiving….
This year, Thanksgiving presents a very interesting fact for our generation… since President Lincoln establish Thanksgiving in 1863, this is the first time that Hanukkah will start the day of Thanksgiving. Mathematically speaking, this will not happen again for another 77,798 years! The reason for this is because the Jewish calendar is very slowly getting out of sync with the solar calendar, at a rate of 4 days per 1000 years!
So, weather you are celebrating Thanksgiving or Hanukkah on November 28th 2013, just know and be proud to be a part of a very interesting history!
HAPPY THANKSNUKKAH everyone!