Thanksgiving is a time to focus on being thankful for what you have, rather than covet what you don’t. Until Black Friday of course! Thanksgiving is a national holiday celebrated mainly in America and Canada. Americans give thanks on the fourth Thursday in November every year. This year Thanksgiving falls on November 26th. If you’re planning on visiting America during this time then hopefully this guide will help ease you into the process of ‘settling’ into the states.

Stage #1: Thanksgiving Eve

The Adicts at SO36. Kreuzberg-Berlin

The best way to kick off the Thanksgiving holiday is by going out and drinking heavily the night before, but only if you’re 21 of course(the legal drinking age in America). Thanksgiving Eve is the biggest drinking night of the year for Americans. Some refer to it as Black Wednesday, playing off of the name of Black Friday. Bar owners see a surge in sales on this night compared to any other night of the year.

Because Thanksgiving is a nationally recognized holiday, almost all businesses, banks, and shops are closed that Thursday. Due to this, the fun starts early. Americans seize the opportunity to catch up with old friends and family they have not seen, in the comfort of  familiar bars or pubs in their hometowns.

If you find that you are from out of town, than any bar will do the trick. Thanksgiving Eve is really about the company you surround yourself with. If you’re spending time away with friends and family than any bar can feel like home.

If you know that you will be out celebrating on Thanksgiving Eve, it is important to remember to never drink and drive. Many car companies in America, such as Uber, give great discounts to those who choose to travel with them to encourage drinking responsibly.


Stage #2: Thanksgiving Day

thanksgivingThanksgiving Day is a day full of tradition for many families. One of the more well-known traditions being the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It has been an American crowd favorite since it’s humble beginning in New York, in 1924. Fans bear the cold weather and line the streets to watch the parade live. Giant balloons, marching bands, cheerleaders, floats, and live performances entertain the millions of onlookers.

It’s estimated that 3.5 million people will be brought to the streets of New York to watch the succession of floats and balloons.  If you find yourself lucky enough to be one of them, be sure to take in as many of the sites that New York has to offer.

New York is a big city. If you’re just spending time there for the holiday, it can be hard to navigate. There are specific apps that work offline when you’re traveling in a different country to ensure that you get where you need to go. One such app is offered by For Less Guides. The app comes complete with a list of tourist attractions, sights, and activities to help you get the most out of your trip. You can also find discounts to many of the New York’s attractions, on Smartsave’s New York  page. 

If you find that you’re one of the 50 million people watching the parade from home, then this next stage is probably for you.


Stage #3: Football and Turkey

051222-N-9866B-079 San Diego (Dec. 22, 2005) - The U.S. Naval Academy Midshipmen position themselves defensively in preparation for a play by the Colorado State Rams. Navy defeated Colorado State 51-30 at the inaugural Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego at Qualcomm Stadium. U.S. Navy photo by Journalist 2nd Class Zack Baddorf (RELEASED)There is, arguably, nothing more American than football and turkey. The two go hand in hand on this holiday. Usually, the people who choose to spend the majority of the day in front of the television are sports fans. Hoping to watch whatever teams are paired against each other in a storied rivalry. For some, it’s the most exciting part of the day.

This Thanksgiving there will be not one, not two, but three, NFL games broadcasted throughout the day. Which is enough to keep any sports fan happy. It’s obvious that Americans love their football, but they love their turkey even more.

It is estimated that 46 million turkeys are consumed on Thanksgiving day every year. That’s a lot of turkeys. Each year, the sitting president pardons a turkey. Which means that one lucky turkey’s life is spared and sent to live out its remaining years in Disney or on a farm.

Thanksgiving usually ends with people stuffing themselves sleepy with turkey and pumpkin pie. Many people call this a food coma and the only cure is giving in to the nap that’s creeping up. That’s okay though because nothing much happens on Thanksgiving night. Most people pack it in early and rest up for the adventures that await the morning after.


Stage #4: Black Friday


Black Friday can be described in one word; pandemonium. For those who don’t know, Black Friday is the Friday after Thanksgiving every year.  Its name was coined when a stores sales moved from the red, meaning a loss, to the black, meaning a profit.

People line up hours or sometimes days, before stores open, waiting and hoping, to get the best deals. If you’re brave enough or just crazy enough to take part in Black Friday shopping, it can be rewarding. Shops and department stores slash their prices so low that it’s really no wonder why people go crazy.

Although Black Friday counters a lot of what Thanksgiving is supposed to stand for, it’s still a long lasting tradition in the history of Americans.

No matter where you’re traveling in the US, whether it’s San Francisco or Miami, north or south, these will likely be the stages of your Thanksgiving. The important thing is to remember what the holiday really stands for and to always be thankful.