With lockdown looming once more and travel restrictions in place across the country, for many ex-pats, 2020 is going to be very different.

Thanksgiving is traditionally a time for families to come together but for those living in the UK who cannot travel to see their nearest and dearest, that just isn’t possible.

So how can you still celebrate family, friends, and food this Thanksgiving while staying safe at home?

Thanksgiving Food

While it is not as easy to get all of the traditional foods that our American friends have readily available, you can still create all of those festive favourites right here in the UK.

Candied Yams

This is a unique dish that you rarely see in the UK but it’s a staple addition to any Thanksgiving feast. In the States, the yams used are actually sweet potatoes, rather than the actual ‘yam’ of Africa and the Caribbean, which is a different vegetable.

That works in our favour as sweet potatoes are readily available in the UK. The candied part comes from adding marshmallows before baking. It may sound weird, but it actually makes for a delicious combination – trust us!

You can find a full recipe here.


This Thanksgiving side dish commonly comes in two forms; as bread and as stuffing.

Cornbread is traditionally baked in a square tin and cut into chunky rectangles to be served alongside the main meal.

The stuffing is more popular in the American South, and it is often mixed with sausage, bacon, jalapeƱos, and nuts before either being stuffed inside the turkey, or made as a side dish.

You can find a cornbread recipe here, and a cornbread stuffing recipe here.

Pumpkin Pie

No Thanksgiving dinner would be complete without a pumpkin pie! Made without a top, but including a lovely pastry bottom and a silky smooth pumpkin filling – you just can’t go wrong!

Finish with a big dollop of fresh cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

There’s a great pumpkin pie recipe here.

Thanksgiving TV

There are two major events that take place every Thanksgiving in the USA; a football game between the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys, and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.

The game between the Lions and the Cowboys has been taking place since 1920 every year on Thanksgiving and many families tune in, even if they are not typically supporters of those teams.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is the largest parade in the world and has taken place in New York City since 1924. Featuring incredible balloon creations of your favourite TV and movies characters, around 44 million people tune in to watch every year.

If you are able, you can watch the live game and parade even if you are located in the UK. If not, you can always find older footage on YouTube.

Alternatively, you can do what one of our team members did one year and watch all of the Thanksgiving episodes from Friends!

Thanksgiving Games

No traditional Thanksgiving would be complete without some party games after dinner!

You don’t need to be in the US to enjoy some of these activities – they are international!

Charades and Pictionary should be on everyone’s list this year. Easy to do, as they don’t require special set up or equipment, and all ages can join in.

Board games are always a winner and you can always find something to suit everyone’s tastes. What about getting prizes ready for the winners? Sweets or small toys always go down a treat!

If you fancy getting creative and have a more grown-up audience to entertain, you could give cocktail making a go. Or try one of these festive drinking games!

Celebrating Thanksgiving

However you are celebrating Thanksgiving this year, the most important thing is spending it with friends and family. Setting up a video call during dinner or during the games later is a great way to bring everyone together, even if you can’t be in the same place this year.