Thanksgiving in Germany

Happy New Year, everyone!!

I am still partying it up in the States for the holidays so I decided to write about a different holiday in the meantime – Thanksgiving.

I have very early memories of spending Thanksgiving with my siblings and Grandmother.  I remember eating Green Bean Casserole and Sweet Potatoes with Marshmellow as well as the big traditional turkey.

As I grew older, my siblings ended up spending Thanksgiving with their mom while I would spend it with my mom’s side of family – the Peruvians. This meant that we would then feast on Peruvian food: Carapulcra, Papa a la Huancaina, Lomo Saltado, Arroz con Chancho, and so on.

We also didn’t always celebrate with turkey – but that was largely due to dad since he is not a fan of meat of the bird variety (both turkey and chicken). However, the occasional turkey did find its way to the dinner table, but a honeyed ham was always a must.

My first year in Germany, I got to go home for Thanksgiving (knowing that I was not going to be able to come home for Christmas), but the year after I had to come up with a plan.  So I hosted a Thanksgiving dinner with a few of my friends (there were five of us that year).

This year, we had decided to do it again – but with more people.


There were twelve of us.  There were a few folks from my work, from T’s work, Nico and her husband, and another friend who also worked at my company and who also happened to be American 😀

I was very excited this year because my American friend brought pumpkin pie and homemade cranberry sauce.  I have not had pumpkin pie for YEARS and I had actually never tasted cranberry sauce. (Weird, I know…..but remember: Peruvian Thanksgiving).  I contributed with Turkey (which I successfully figured out how to do last year), Papa a la Huancaina (essentially a Peruvian potato salad), and Mac ‘n Cheese (since it was a special request).

I get my turkey from a local butcher since we had a shoe-box sized freezer and can’t fit it even if we tried.  I had tried a new place this year since it was closer but they are only opened on Wednesdays and Saturdays (from 9-12).  This meant that I had to pick up my turkey on the day of our German Thanksgiving (since we couldn’t celebrate on Thursday as it is a normal working day in Germany).

Unfortunately, when I got there – something had happened and my turkey had already been sold! I almost started to cry! The poor guy at the butcher was devastated – he searched the back freezer high and low and even began calling all the other farms to see if he could procure one for me before finally coming to me to break the news. In the end, I had to buy two ducks (and they threw in a guinea fowl for free) which ended up being about the same weight as my expected Turkey.  I still cooked them the same way and when the guests came – they were all a little disappointed in the lack of turkey, but at least they were fans of duck.


Overall, it was still a success.  Everyone was happy and full and made new friends.  We ended the evening with a walk to the Überlingen Christmas Market since part of it was already open that weekend.  This is only our second year doing this, but it is a tradition that I have been thoroughly enjoying and will continue to do so!

I know it was last year, but what did you Expats do for Thanksgiving?

Happy New Year and bis nächste Woche!


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