Frenchified Thanksgiving Traditions

Thanksgiving is one of the most American holidays you can possibly think of, so being in another country can make it feel strange and even a bit difficult to celebrate.

This isn’t the first time I have spent Thanksgiving in France, of course, as I also enjoyed Thanksgiving in Paris in 2018. This year, however, while working two jobs and having a completely different community in the city, my Thanksgiving looked a bit different.

Hand turkeys used to teach my students about Thanksgiving!

Dinner & Family Time

I have lots of fantastic friends in Paris, and I was even invited to a potluck gathering of about 25 Americans to celebrate the holiday together. Unfortunately, this lunchtime activity didn’t work with my schedule, so I made other plans.

I cooked some Frenchified Thanksgiving dishes with special help from my new favorite American grocery store in Paris, The Real McCoy. I enjoyed my dinner spent with family via a WhatsApp video call. I even streamed the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in the background!

The foods I prepared for my Thanksgiving dinner included: rotisserie chicken (couldn’t find turkey), garlic green beans, mashed potatoes complete with turkey gravy, creamed corn, and a baguette.

Other Traditions

Thanksgiving isn’t just about the food and family! When I’m home for the holiday, one of my favorite traditions is participating in the Drumstick Dash 5k race and grabbing Black Friday ads and a Starbucks coffee on the way home.

While I didn’t exactly run a 5k, I did walk 8.37 miles and 66 floors according to my FitBit! After work, I got a mocha from Starbucks and added in a candy cane to make it my classic Thanksgiving Day peppermint mocha.

Later in the day, I checked out the Black Friday ads and put together my Christmas list!

Black Friday

Though Thanksgiving is a foreign concept to French people, Black Friday has actually become a tradition of their own. I went to Les Halles, a massive shopping complex with many of my favorite stores, including Naf Naf, HEMA, Zara, Sostrene Grene, and Mango.

Unfortunately, while there were Black Friday sales at all of these stores, the crowds didn’t seem to equal out to the minimal deals I was able to find. I got a few things and headed home.

A Day Off?

Clearly, Thanksgiving is not a federal holiday in France, but I did get a bit more free time than I expected. I left my teaching job 30 minutes early due to a teacher being out for the day, and then I left my babysitting job early that evening as well. More time to celebrate the holiday!

Thanksgiving in France definitely isn’t the same as it is in the U.S., but overall, I still spent the day doing relatively the same things and giving thanks for my current situation. I’m so grateful for the family, friends, and communities I have supporting me, and of course, I feel lucky and privileged to be succeeding in this adventure of a lifetime!

Joyeux Thanksgiving à tous!

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