International Thanksgiving Dinner: Spending Thanksgiving in Italy With New Friends by Sheri B Doyle

Travel Notes
3 years ago
International Thanksgiving Dinner: Spending Thanksgiving in Italy With New Friends

Si, due tacchini.” (Yes, two turkeys.) I was confirming my order of two turkeys with the Italian butcher around the corner from my apartment for my International Thanksgiving Dinner.

Since moving to Italy my husband and I had made some good friends. We wanted to share a Thanksgiving dinner with our new friends. The group would be made up of six Americans, two Brits, two Aussies and two Italians. The goal was to be as authentic as possible. This meant friends bringing canned green beans from America on a visit a few months before, other friends bringing sweet potatoes from Switzerland and two of our friends bringing fried onions, pumpkin, mushroom soup and marshmallows from the Army base in Northern Italy. The rest I would get in the local markets or make from scratch.

When we called our Italian friends to invite them there were two objections: the first was to eating dinner before 8. It just wasn’t done, so we compromised and set the time for 7. The second issue was how it was possible to have a holiday meal (or really any meal) without pasta. Once we explained the traditional food, they agreed to give it a try. 

Thanksgiving evening everyone climbed the 67 steps to our apartment and settled in for the evening. We opened bottles of prosecco, handed out our homemade Indian and Pilgrim hats, a last-minute practical joke we convinced everyone to wear as part of the American tradition, and discussed the tradition of Thanksgiving. Soon, bottles of wine were opened and the meal was served. 

After many explanations of what the food was, and overcoming the reservation of our Italian friends about the sweet potatoes, we spent the rest of the evening eating, laughing and drinking. It was magical as the cultures blended at the large table in our apartment. The night turned into the morning. It was 3 a.m. when we all decided it was time to call it a night. 

After everyone left I sat down, letting the joy of Thanksgiving sink in. The large table, now filled with bottles of prosecco, wine and limoncello, had served as the perfect place for new friends to gather and give thanks together. What started as our chance to introduce our friends to an American tradition turned into all of us making beautiful memories we will never forget.

As I got ready for bed, I realized that is really what Thanksgiving is all about.

This Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe With Toasted Marshmallows Is a Thanksgiving Must

Classic Green Bean Casserole Recipe: This 4-Ingredient Green Bean Casserole Will Be Your BFF on Thanksgiving

Cheesecake Factory Copycat Recipe: This Pumpkin Cheesecake Recipe Is Just As Good (No Joke!)

The Real Meaning of Thanksgiving: 5 Gratitude Tips to Keep in Mind on Turkey Day!

Elisa A. Schmitz 30Seconds
How wonderful, Sheri B Doyle ! Making memories around the table is certainly a huge part of Thanksgiving. What a great thing to do with your international friends. You knocked it out of the park, chica! Happy Thanksgiving.
Dieter Schmitz
This year Elisa All Schmitz 30Seconds and I hosted 6 of our 7 adult kids and one brought her college roommate from Beijing, who enjoyed her first ever Thanksgiving!
Sheri B Doyle
That sounds like a fantastic Thanksgiving Dieter Schmitz I love introducing others to our traditions. It reminds me just how special they are!

join discussion

Please login to comment.

recommended tips

Dining Out While Traveling With Kids: Try This Quick Trick to Make It Go Smoothly!

These Kid-Friendly Restaurants Are Tops for Traveling Families!

Make a Jalapeno Cream Cheese Burger Like Roadhouse (It's Famous)!

The Michelin Guide Chicago 2018: 25 Michelin-Star Restaurants to Visit in Chicago

Got 30 seconds? Sign up for and get the best of our tips each week!