Thanksgiving in Italy

Thanksgiving EFL activity

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year. It’s a time for family, friends, and food. However, being away from home for the holidays isn’t always easy, especially when you have to spend half of your day trying to find canned pumpkin. Anyway, just because you are living in a foreign country doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate the holidays from your home country. You might just have to forgo some of the classic ingredients, in my case cranberry sauce and pre-made pie crust.

This year I was fortunate enough to have made some great friends at my English school (coincidentally called My English School). My initial enthusiasm for planning the Thanksgiving party quickly faded when I came up empty handed after my search for typical Thanksgiving food items and decorations.

Butternut squash is close enough to pumpkin, right?
Things you might not be able to find in Italy:
  • A reasonably priced turkey
  • Cranberries
  • Canned pumpkin
  • Pre-made pie crust
  • Sweetened condensed milk
  • Fall-themed decorations

While we may only have had a few traditional Thanksgiving dishes, the meal we all shared together was just as delicious and memorable as the typical dinner my family and I consume on the holiday in America. Students from Italy and other countries around the globe came together, in the true spirit of Thanksgiving, and shared a meal together. Students and teachers brought their own dishes to share with each other and everyone talked about what they were thankful for in their lives. It was a night filled with gratitude, good food, and, of course, some American history. If you’re in charge of planning some Thanksgiving themed activities for your students, I have listed some ideas for potential activities.

I’m thankful that I live in a country where it’s acceptable to drink 3 cups of coffee per day


ESL Activities for Thanksgiving:
  • Print a story about Thanksgiving but change some of the facts (i.e. the date, what the Mayflower was, the food items eaten at the first Thanksgiving, etc.). Have the students look for the errors together.
  • Play taboo with Thanksgiving themed words
  • Play Thanksgiving Jeopardy! (This link has a great game already made, but you can edit it depending on the level of your students:
  • Put some fall-themed items in a jar and have students guess how many of them there are. I used miniature pine cones, but you could use pecans, acorns, or any other fall object you can get your hands on in Italy.
  • Play “Pin the Feathers on the Turkey” which is an old spin-off of “Pin the Tail on the Donkey” (find the link here for a great cut-out:

Enjoy the holidays and if you find cranberries or pie crust anywhere, let me know for next year!

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