Thankful for a UK Thanksgiving

Stay in the loop! Sign up to BUNAC newsletter

Sign Up Now

With our Summer Camp USA, Work America, and Internship USA programmes, America is certainly near and dear to us so we’re diving straight in to the spirit of Thanksgiving with a special competition. Share a photo showing how you’re celebrating Thanksgiving or what you are thankful for using #BUNACthanksgiving for a chance to win a £50 STA Travel voucher.

We spent our Thanksgiving Thursday surprising American BUNACers on the Intern in Britain programme, helping them celebrate the holiday in their new home away from home. Check out the video and scroll down for some super simple, fun ways you can take part to win!

What Is Thanksgiving? 

We know our friends over the pond celebrate Thanksgiving every year, but what really is it? 
We can take some credit for the American favourite as Thanksgiving actually all started here in the UK in 1620. A ship called the Mayflower set sail for America with its 102 passengers searching for a new and better life. They were greeted by Native Americans 66 days later who helped them learn to cultivate, hunt, farm and live off the newfound land. The following November, the pilgrims and the Native Americans came together for a meal to celebrate their first successful harvest and in 1789, George Washington declared it the national American holiday it is today. 

How do people celebrate Thanksgiving now? 

Think of it as Christmas dinner, a month before Christmas dinner and decorated with autumn leaves and pumpkins. Not sure about you, but to us there is nothing better than getting all Man vs. Food and preparing your metabolism for the deliciousness that is about to ensue over the holiday season with a trial run in the form of gathering your friends and family for Thanksgiving dinner. No idea where to start? Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered ;) 

Thanksgiving Things You Can Do 

Potluck dinner

The most important: Thanksgiving is a holiday for coming together and pitching in so make sure your first Thanksgiving is a group effort. With so many key elements to Thanksgiving dinner, don’t stress yourself out by making it all. While the host is in charge of the turkey* and stuffing, guests can divvy up the cranberry sauce, roast ham, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, and the mandatory pumpkin pie*. Whatever you do, don’t forget the cheese platters in the shape of turkeys (Google them, they’re adorable). 

Pin the feather on the turkey

Get your closest-to-being artistic friend to draw a giant turkey on a piece of paper (or for those of us who were skipped when it came to the artistic gene - draw a circle with two legs coming out of it). Grab some blue tack and a bag of feathers, blindfold a friend, spin them around and let the laughs ensue. 

Thanksgiving photo shoot 

Thanksgiving is a perfectly acceptable time to head to the park, gather some leaves and take that ever-famous throwing-leaves-in-the-air-with-my-friends photo. Before long, the cold, wet winter will take over and there won’t be much of those glorious colours left so get out there! 

*Make the most of it 

Yes, there are some essential Thanksgiving elements which are hard to find here in the UK. While a 22 lb. turkey or the perfect pumpkin pie filling aren’t exactly commonalities on this side of the pond, roast chicken and apple pies certainly are. You can also bring your own favourites to the table – embrace those pigs in blankets which are not even close to being an American thing. It’s the thought that counts though so make do with whatever you find delicious and eat up. 

Last but not least: be thankful!

Yes, it really is a Thanksgiving tradition to gather around the table and say what you’re thankful for. Us Brits may find this completely unknown territory but in the spirit of the holiday, give it a try. Once the meal has finished up and you’re full to the brim of delicious food, go around the table and say one thing you’re thankful for. Regardless of the answers that come out, it’s always nice to have a sprinkle of tradition in the holiday (even if it is just a ‘I’m thankful for weekends and everyone’s delicious food’) 

Thanksgiving table

Whether you’re using our ideas or putting your own spin on the holiday, share your Thanksgiving celebrations with us on social with the hashtag #BUNACthanksgiving for the chance to win a £50 STA Travel voucher! Don’t forget to follow and tag us too: FacebookTwitter or Instagram. T&Cs apply.
Still want more America? Check out our Summer Camp USAWork America and Internship USA programmes! Being able to provide you with awesome opportunities to work in the states is definitely something we’re thankful for.