We have all heard of the American holiday Thanksgiving. From turkey to stuffing to gravy, the holiday reminds many of us Brits of how we celebrate Christmas back home. But the food is where the similarities stop and it’s important to know exactly what to expect if you attend a Thanksgiving Dinner. Here are five Thanksgiving traditions to get you prepared. You can thank us later for the warning!
The Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation
Ever since the 1940s, but more officially since 1989, there has been a nationally televised event in which the President of the United States ‘pardons’ a turkey and sends it to live out the rest of its days at Mount Vernon, which is the former estate of George Washington. That is one lucky turkey! Try and imagine the PrimeMinister of the UK doing the same thing and you can’t help but laugh! Maybe Brits could adopt this Thanksgiving tradition at Christmas and create a TV show where the winning turkey doesn’t get cooked for dinner! We could call it ‘The Great British Turkey Cook-Off’.
Strange Food Combinations
It is usually around the holiday period that we allow ourselves to become a bit more adventurous with food, but if you attend a Thanksgiving Day dinner then you have to be prepared to try some combinations that you would never expect to go together. Here are some of the strangest that we have come across!
- Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows – Dates back to the early 1900s when a marshmallow company hired somebody to make more recipes that included the sweet treat. It went down a storm and has been a staple of Thanksgiving ever since. Most Brits would argue that nothing this sweet should ever be served before dessert!
- Strawberry Pretzel Salad – Not quite the traditional salad that you might be expecting, but a combination of cream cheese, whipped cream, strawberry jam, all on a base of crushed salted pretzel sticks. Making this treat is a Thanksgiving tradition for many but one can’t help think that the sweet, salty, soft, and crunchy combo might be too much for the taste buds to handle. We have heard that it is classed as a salad so that you can still have dessert after this!
- Frog-eye Salad – Another salad and another strange combination. This one is more of a Mid-Western Thanksgiving tradition, but mixing shell pasta, oranges and pineapple, cooked eggs, whipped cream and marshmallows doesn’t sound the most appetising dish! The thought alone for many Brits of having cooked eggs with marshmallows is enough to put most people off their dinner!
One of the Thanksgiving traditions that has started to make its way to the UK already, Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving when stores open up early and offer some crazy discounts. Although us Brits have started to see Black Friday deals in the UK it is nothing compared to what you would experience in the US. Many people will camp outside of stores on Thanksgiving night to get the best deals possible, with some shops opening as soon as it turns to midnight.
What Black Friday may be most known for to Brits is the violence that goes along with it. A simple YouTube search for Black Friday and you will find hundreds of videos showing the lengths some people will go to to get discounted goods! With many favouring online shopping in recent years rather than standing out in the cold for hours on end, the fight for goods has started to decrease and only those most dedicated find themselves camping out on Thanksgiving night. Let’s hope this level of intensity doesn’t reach the UK any time soon or you might find yourself in a Black Friday YouTube compilation video!
Not to be confused with getting three strikes in a row during a normal game of bowling, turkey bowling replaces a bowling ball with a frozen turkey! Created in the 1980s, it takes place in a grocery store and requires you to cover the frozen turkey in soap to throw it down an aisle towards 10 plastic bottles or tin cans. One of the crazier of the Thanksgiving traditions, it has become so popular that there is a competition held every year in Cleveland, Ohio that is covered by a national news network and broadcast to the whole of the US. Contestants in the competition can win prizes from gift cards to cold, hard cash! Animal rights group have encouraged many to replace the frozen turkey with a plastic one creating a compromise to allow this Thanksgiving tradition to continue.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade
The Macy’s Parade has been around since 1953 and is held annually in New York City by the department store Macy’s. It is the world’s largest parade and the second oldest with around 44 million people tuning in each year and thousands of people turning up to watch in person. There is something to see no matter where you look with marching bands, Broadway performers, cheerleaders and even Santa Claus performing alongside magnificent floats and oversized balloons. There aren’t many places where you can see Mickey Mouse, Kermit the Frog and Santa all in one place, but the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade is one of them. Look up this event on YouTube and you will see the magnitude of everything that goes on! If you are ever in the US and see a 90-foot Barney flying past then you will know where it came from!
So there you have it! Now you won’t be quite as surprised if you ever experience any of these crazy Thanksgiving traditions!
AmeriCamp Team x