• I’m an American married to an Italian and have been living in Italy for the past seven years.
  • Back in the US, my family celebrates Thanksgiving the same way every year.
  • I keep my family traditions alive by celebrating the holidays with my husband and our daughter.

As far back as I can remember, my family has celebrated Thanksgiving the same way every year.

As a child, I used to wake up early to the smell of freshly baked goods from my local pastry shop; We always pre-ordered them, and my dad would go pick them up. We gather on the couch with our sweet treats and a hot cup of coffee (or hot chocolate) and switch to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

After watching the parade, my mother and I would get to work and start preparing for the feast.

Every year we looked forward to hosting family and friends around the table and giving thanks for what we had. My parents made sure that, growing up, Thanksgiving was perfect for all of us.

I celebrate Thanksgiving in Italy too

I’ve lived in Italy for seven years now, and not a year goes by when we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. Yes, I live in Italy with my Italian husband and Italian-born daughter, but why would I miss out on this lovely holiday?

While Thanksgiving is an American holiday, people around the world have reasons to give thanks. I love keeping up with our family traditions – it’s important to me to recreate the beautiful memories we shared every Thanksgiving.

Besides, even though I’ve been in Italy for quite some time, I’m still an American at heart in American ways. I want my daughter to know where I come from and to be thankful for all the things we have to be thankful for. I want this day to be as special for my daughter as it was for me as a child.

By sharing Thanksgiving with my husband and our daughter, I am keeping our family tradition alive and well.

I’ve introduced Italian friends to new cuisines and traditions

I’ve celebrated Thanksgiving in Italy every year since I moved here – including before I did with my husband and daughter.

I invited Italian neighbors to share the day with us, introducing them to our American customs, traditions, and cuisine. It was a way of thanking the many people who welcomed me to my new country.

This year I’m especially excited to celebrate Thanksgiving in Italy. My mother and I will be hosting the feast, the first since the pandemic, with friends around the table. We’ll be hosting friends from Australia and Belgium, some of whom have never celebrated Thanksgiving.

holiday anticipation makes me happy

I believe that with holiday traditions, part of the fun comes from the routine. I enjoy decorating the house, listening to Christmas music, creating an entire menu, shopping for ingredients, and cooking for days. I get excited about the anticipation of Thanksgiving and the joy it brings to me and everyone around me.

I’ll finish an over-the-top feast with roast turkey, stuffing, creamed spinach, green-bean casserole, and pie after pie. Some ingredients — like the marshmallows so essential for sweet potato pie — aren’t always easy to come by in Italy, but I’ve found ways to substitute or even have them shipped.

The house will be filled with the aroma of freshly baked maize bread and laughter and joy. My daughter would run around with her friends while my family and I would chat with my friends in the kitchen while we made dinner. We’ll gather around the table to eat, drink, and give thanks (no Thanksgiving dinner is complete without going around the table and each sharing what you’re thankful for).

It doesn’t matter where I live: The heart of the holiday remains the same for me.

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