Since moving to Prague, I’ve spent the past couple of years visiting home for Christmas. This is the first time that I come home for Thanksgiving instead. And boy, have I been missing out. It turns out that visiting home during Thanksgiving is far more enjoyable than doing so at Christmas. These are the top reasons why expats should come home for Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving isn’t celebrated abroad
As opposed to other holidays like Christmas, Hanukkah, and Easter, Thanksgiving isn’t celebrated everywhere. Though harvest festivals are common around the world, the menu is the most important difference. If you’re in Europe or Asia, you might find that a turkey is hard to come by, and chances are that most people will think pumpkin pie or pecan pie are disgusting. Instead of coming home for Christmas, which is sometimes much better abroad because of mulled wine and Christmas markets, you’re better off visiting home to celebrate something that doesn’t have a foreign substitute.
Everyone is in a better mood
Thanksgiving is the start of the holiday season. People are just getting the first few days off work, and the country is just a few days shy of beginning the holiday shopping frenzy. By contrast, during Christmas, you have to put up with people who have already spent too much money, have socially overcommitted, and are still scrambling to find last minute gifts. Everything is swarmed, traffic is awful, and everyone is pissed off. During Thanksgiving, everyone is ecstatic to finally have some time off and is still putting off holiday responsibilities so they’re in a better mood.
You get the better part of Christmas
Most expats who go home for Christmas probably yearn for a big Christmas dinner and unwrapping gifts under the tree. But by the time you arrive, everyone’s decorated and the tree is starting to wilt. All you have is an endless stream of holiday parties and family reunions, which can actually be a holiday-ruiner if you don’t get along with family. Not to mention that trying to see people over Christmas is a nightmare because everyone has a million commitments.
Over Thanksgiving, you get to enjoy the beginning of the Christmas season. You get to decorate the tree back home with your family, and when you return to your expat home, you get to welcome the Christmas season all over again. Things are a little less busy, so you can have a more relaxing visit home.
You can save money
Thanksgiving is an expensive and busy time to travel only domestically. But internationally, no one gives a fuck about Thanksgiving, so you’re likely to spend a lot more if you travel home during the Christmas peak season. That’s because people travel for Christmas all over the world. By contrast, November is a low season to travel so airfares are cheaper making it more affordable for expats to come home for Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is delicious
American fall flavors are more delicious than any other holiday, and a massive Thanksgiving feast is the centerpiece of all of it. Thanksgiving is a time to enjoy pumpkin spice everything, a million different pies, and all the best sides… because let’s face it, turkey tastes like nothing. Sweet potato casserole and corn bread are important seasonal staples that you’ll miss out on abroad. All the more reason to come home for Thanksgiving so you can enjoy them.