Now when you think Thanksgiving, we're sure turkey comes to mind - and you're right that is the center-piece of the meal. But if you're thinking "Turkey! that must be like our Christmas dinners" - that's where you'd be wrong. Thanksgiving meal is really all about the sides and the pies - and of course those you get to eat it with.

Thanksgiving Turkey

A little bit of history - Thanksgiving is celebrated in the USA on the 4th Thursday of November and it is to celebrate a good harvest and other blessings throughout the year. What we think of as Thanksgiving today is largely believed to have originated from a feast in 1621 held between Pilgrims of Plymouth and the Wampanoag people - but it wasn't given a formal date of celebration until the 1940s.

Did you know that Black Friday - which has of course now caught on over here, is actually the Friday after Thanksgiving, as it's traditionally when people would begin to shop for Christmas now that Thanksgiving has passed. So now stores captialise on this by offering big discounts to encourage shoppers to come out in their thousands!

How to spend Thanksgiving day

Watch NFL and College Football

One of the big things to do on Thanksgiving is to watch the NFL games of the day, or even watch the big College Football games. In fact lots of Americans follow College Football more closely than the NFL.

Now if a day of watching NFL doesn't appeal to you, then how about an alternative - a Tom Hanks movie marathon, or as it's commonly known T.Hanks-Giving.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Families will also gather round the TV to watch the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade - if you've ever watched Miracle on 34th Street this is the opening scene in the movie. For many Americans this is the official begnning of the Christmas season. I guess like seeing the Coca-Cola ad in the UK!

Go on a hike

This one might be best before you stuff yourself with food! It's a great way to get out into the 'fall' colours and spend time with your family.

Spend time with family

You don't just have to hike to spend time with family, and maybe this year you might not be able to see everyone you love. But why not arrange a family zoom call or even just FaceTime those you haven't spoken to in a while. We're sure they'll be glad to see you.

Thankful banner

Express gratitude for things in your life

Let's not forget it is called Thanksgiving - and though these days we might not be overly thankful for a good harvest there are of course plenty of other things we are thankful for. So it's nice to take a moment to think of those. Something we like to do - write each persons name on a piece of paper, pass it around the table and each write (anonomously) a reason why you are thankful for that person.

Food, food and food!

Chances are you'll spend a large part of your day either cooking or eating lots of lovely food - and if you want to know what to cook then we've got you covered below!

Don't forget! The USA is now back open for tourists - we have lots of handy guides to help you plan your trip.

What to cook

As we said at the start of this article, for us Thanksgiving is really about the side dishes! Check out our Pinterest board below for some amazing Thanksgiving recipes.

Our personal favourites:

  • Sweet potato (yam!) casserole with marhsmallow and pecan streusel - you have to trust us on this one, it sounds odd but it's oh so delicious.
  • Mac and cheese - you may not find it on every families table but you sure will on ours!
  • Pecan pie - now when it comes out the oven you may think it looks a little over done, but once you taste it you'll be convinced.
  • Bread stuffing - unlike our traditonal stuffing at Christmas which is meat based this stuffing is a mix of herbs, garlic, chicken stock and bread.

Right, we're off to do a big shop to get everything we need for the big day! However you spend Thanksgiving we hope it's a good one, and we are of course thankfull for you all too!