It’s turkey time! If you’re an American living overseas, Thanksgiving is often the hardest holiday in terms of logistics. Is it worth the hassle and expense to get a turkey? How will you cook it in your EZ Bake oven? How much are you willing to pay to get cranberry sauce? How much tweaking and substituting can you do before the green bean casserole is no longer recognizable?

I’ve enjoyed reading about how American expats figure out a Thanksgiving meal in China and other locations around the globe. Here are a few fun reads:

How Expat Life Changed My Ideas of Thanksgiving and the Meaning of ‘Home’

“For me, having been an expat for 10 years now, Thanksgiving means a sense of belonging and the warmth of home, wherever that home may be.”

Wish You Were Here: An Expat Thanksgiving In Shanghai

“We had ordered it online a week ago and now we held it in our trembling hands – a turkey, pre-cooked and ready to heat and eat.  The heart, soul and gizzard of our expat celebration. We had succeeded in cobbling together a Thanksgiving dinner in China.”

Oversized Turkey Troubles and a New Thanksgiving Tradition

“Thankfully, I have a resourceful husband and he grew up in Louisiana where they Cajun-fry their Thanksgiving bird. Having seen our fair share of street food carts around, he figured he could rig up a turkey fryer with locally available items.”

How to Celebrate Thanksgiving in China

“As the seasons started to change, I suddenly wished for all of the fall things I took for granted back home. I wanted to import evergreen and pumpkin spice candles, I wanted to eat and drink pumpkin everything, and above all, I wanted an oven.”

Thanksgiving in Faraway Lands

“Most likely we will sit down to eat just in time to hear the call to prayer from the mosque…”


And here are some of my own family’s adventures and mishaps in trying to have Turkey Day in the Big Chicken.

Thanksgiving is Pale, Bland, and Overly Sweet (And We Wouldn’t Want it Any Other Way)

“When a small dollop of cranberry sauce is the only bright, exciting flavor of the entire meal, it’s definitely ‘recovering from a stomach bug or major surgery’ level of bland.”

An Expat Tale (of Taxis, Trains, and Turkeys)

“On the other hand, all of us have that One Thing. A food item so special and wonderful that we are willing to go to great lengths to obtain it. We are willing to pay insanely high prices for it when we come across it at the import store. We are willing to cart it across continents and oceans in our carry-on baggage. We are willing to pay exorbitant duty fees when our loved ones ship it to us. You get the picture.”

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends, and to all who are honorary Americans for this day of feasting and giving thanks!


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