Whether you're living outside of the country or simply live far away from home, it can be tough to make it back for Thanksgiving with family.
Here are some tips to help you make the most of celebrating thankfulness with your friend-family!
1. Invite Your Non-American Friends
Even if your friends are expats from other countries, be sure to include them! You'll have a chance to share some of your culture with those that don't celebrate Thanksgiving back home.
2. Go Potluck
This is a blast. Encourage friends to bring a regional dish that you may not have a chance to try otherwise. We really enjoyed our friend Wesley's southern cheese grits and Nicole's lentil loaf.
3. Cook with Local Ingredients
You may not have a choice in the matter, as many times the ingredients you're used to back home just aren't available. Take the opportunity to explore cooking with the unfamiliar. I just picked up a piloncillo, a Mexican sugar cone with flavor similar to molasses, for our camotes (sweet potatoes). I can't wait to use it!
4. Start with a Cocktail Hour
Enjoy mulled wine or a brandy drink with friends as you wait for guests to arrive and the food to finish cooking. In San Miguel, we are blessed with beautiful weather year-round, so rooftop entertaining is commonplace. Nothing beats watching the sunset with friends on a San Miguel rooftop overlooking the city.
5. Set a Beautiful Table
Remind friends that they are special guests with a gorgeous centerpiece. We do a lot of home entertaining in San Miguel, so it's important to go the extra mile to remind guests that the holidays are upon us. Grab some flowers from the market and accent with local fruits and vegetables. Skip assigned seating. When you live abroad, you're used to going out of your way to meet strangers.
6. Bond with Friends Over Card Games
Cards Against Humanity is definitely a game reserved for playing with friends after several cocktails. Don't play this one at home with Grandma! Get to know each other better and share some hilarious moments.
7. Top It All Off with Dessert
Once everyone has digested dinner and is ready for the sweet stuff, pull out the desserts. If you can find a traditional pumpkin pie, that's great! If not, I don't know anyone that would turn down brownies or ice cream. Try to throw a regional dessert in the there also. We love churros in Mexico.
8. Call It a Night
Don't let guests help too much with cleanup. They'll reciprocate when hosting you another time. Bask in the good moments of the evening, and plan to do it again next year as part of a new tradition!