Thanksgiving is a national holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. Friends and families across the U.S. gather to feast and celebrate all the things they are grateful for.
This year, things may look a bit different. Friends and families may elect to not gather around the table in person due to the growing concerns of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although, if you choose to travel this year, be aware that traffic patterns may change during the holiday, especially due to complications caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and travel costs may increase due to the surge in demand.
We recommend taking advantage of Thanksgiving break as a way to pause, unwind and destress before we head into the remainder of the fall semester.
The History of Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is a holiday with a complicated background. It is important to be aware of the cultural implications surrounding Thanksgiving. It has become more common in recent decades for Americans to acknowledge the complex history of the holiday, and there are many articles and books on this topic. Do your own research and to find ways to appropriately engage in conversation with Americans about the origins of the holiday, the myth versus the history and people’s personal and unique traditions, stories and connections to Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving Traditions in 2020
Food: Culinary symbols include the Thanksgiving turkey, assortments of pies and the inexplicable phenomenon of sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows as a dinner dish.
However, there is so much more that adorns the table! If you are looking to partake in this American holiday, food is a great way to connect with the culture in a safe, responsible way. Host a virtual dinner party and serve yourself a Thanksgiving dinner for one, complete with turkey and a quick pan sauce, beautifully roasted sweet potatoes as well as classically crisp-tender green beans.
Macy’s Day Parade: The annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is one of the world’s largest parades. Presented by national department store chain Macy’s almost every year since 1924, the parade takes place in New York City on Thanksgiving Day from 9:00 a.m. until about noon EST. The parade features large musical performances, large floats and more assortments of pageantry. While large crowds usually attend the parade in New York City, this year almost everyone will be watching the parade on TV from the comfort of their own homes. Join the festival fun by tuning in to the 94th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade live on Verizon’s YouTube channel.
American Football: There is a long history, dating back to 1876, of American football games being played on Thanksgiving Day. From amateur and high school to collegiate and pro-sports levels, you can find many games to watch on Thanksgiving Day! The day after Thanksgiving, continue the celebration by throwing on your best burnt orange gear and cheering for our Longhorns as they take on Iowa State.
Giving Thanks to the Community
Ultimately, Thanksgiving is about appreciation, community and counting our blessings, which is why volunteering and donation is such an important part of the holiday. This holiday season, consider making a charitable gift to one of the following organizations and supporting the Austin community:
UT Outpost: UT Outpost is an on-campus organization sponsored by the Office of the Dean of Students that supports students on campus facing hunger and food insecurity. If you have extra supplies in your pantry or gently used professional clothes in your closet, consider donating these items or making a financial gift to UT Outpost to help replenish their resources and nourish your peers.
Coats for Kids: Austin can get incredibly cold in the winters, as any student who has spent one too many late nights at the PCL during fall finals can tell you. To keep kids warm during the fall and winter seasons, The Junior League of Austin, Jack Brown Cleaners, 98.1 KVET, and KVUE partner annually to bring the community together to ensure that the children of Central Texas stay warm in the winter by collecting and distributing warm coats to eligible children and teenagers in Central Texas. They are currently collecting new and gently used coats through the first week of December. If you would like to donate a coat, please drop it off at any Jack Brown Cleaners location. If you are not in Texas, you can donate online and every $20 buys a new coat.
Austin Empty Bowl Project: Started by Austin area potters to fight hunger, this annual family-friendly event is going virtual this year. Select your favorite from thousands of locally crafted ceramic bowls from their online store, fill it with your fall favorites and listen to live music from local artists at home. The event will benefit Meals on Wheels Central Texas’ Meals for Kids and the Central Texas Food Bank to sponsor their Kids Cafe Program.
ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot: This year marks the 30th anniversary of the ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot, a Thanksgiving day tradition cherished by locals, with 100% of proceeds benefiting Caritas of Austin. This year, the event will take place virtually. Everyone can do their run or walk on Thanksgiving Day in their own neighborhood wherever in the world that they happen to be. Register for the Turkey Trot on the ThunderCloud Subs website.
However you choose to celebrate this American holiday, we hope that you stay safe, follow best practices in your region and have a wonderful Thanksgiving break.
Kindly note, the Texas Global offices will be closed for Thanksgiving Day. If you require assistance outside of business hours, please email the ISSS hotline and our team will get back to you as soon as possible.
We wish you a happy Thanksgiving and best of luck on the end of the semester!