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10 Activities for Thanksgiving 2020

Thanksgiving in the UK won’t be normal this year, but there’s still plenty of ways to celebrate

Published on November 23, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving

Large parts of the UK are currently undergoing lockdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic. For many, the restrictions will remain in place until early December, meaning that Thanksgiving - on November 26 - isn't going to be normal. However, the world has become very good at innovating during 2020, and with the Holiday season just beginning, here are 10 activities you can take part in this week to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Order a Thanksgiving delivery

Restaurants may not be open for seated meals, but plenty have managed to find different ways of bringing Thanksgiving to your home. If you're excited by the prospect of cooking your own Turkey this year, there are lots of shops which are offering Turkeys ready for roasting. We've also got some top tips from Butterball on how to roast your Turkey, as well as a recipe for Sweetcorn Fritters from Anglo-American chef James Willis of Charlie's Restaurant.

If you'd prefer to get your Turkey and sides all as one, check out Charlie's Restaurant, which is also offering a Thanksgiving feast delivered to your door.

Also, don't forget to bake yourself a dessert - the US Ambassador to the UK, Woody Johnson, kindly shared his Grandmother's Apple Pie recipe in 2018.

Donate food to a food bank

If you find you bought way too much for Thanksgiving, consider making a donation to a food bank. If you're in the UK, there are lots of local food banks supporting people throughout the Winter period, particularly those who have been hit financially by the pandemic. You can find many food bank donation points in supermarkets, or check out charities like the Trussell Trust. In the US, check out Feeding America for a list of food banks located across the country.

Join in a Thanksgiving quiz

Nothing says the holiday season quite like a quiz, and video technology has certainly made it easier to meet up with others all over the country (and beyond!). Benjamin Franklin House in London is hosting a Thanksgiving themed quiz on Tuesday November 24, from 6pm GMT. To take part, click here to buy tickets.

Also, don't forget the free Philomath e-book created by a Texan expat living in London, Wim Vanderhoof. The e-book contains loads of great questions, and is also aimed at supporting charitable donations to American art and culture organizations.

Take a moment to reflect with a virtual Thanksgiving service

St Paul's Cathedral in London has been hosting a Thanksgiving service since 1958, the year which marked the opening of the American Memorial chapel, commemorating the 28,000 American service personnel who died during WWII while stationed in the UK. Although St Paul's is unable to host a Thanksgiving service this year, they are presenting a pre-recorded service which will be available to watch from Wednesday November 25, after 11am GMT. See www.stpauls.co.uk/worship-music/worship/us-thanksgiving-service-2020.

Watch a Thanksgiving Parade online

The famous New York Thanksgiving Parade, known widely as Macy's Parade, is going ahead as always this year. It'll be available to stream live on Verizon's social media accounts for Twitter and YouTube. The fun starts on Thanksgiving Day, November 26, from 2pm EST (7pm GMT).


A lot of charitable organizations have faced difficult times during 2020, while many regular volunteers for charitable causes have also found themselves shielding or in quarantine to protect themselves and their family from coronavirus. If you can volunteer your time, you'll be helping charities to continue offering their vital services. If you're in the UK, find your nearest Volunteer Centre, or check out the do-it.org, a database of voluntary roles.

Contact your family or friends in the States or anywhere in the world

When you're living on the other side of an ocean the size of the Atlantic, or anywhere away from your friends and family, one of the best activities you can participate in is a video call with those you care for. There are plenty of free video calling apps that have become popular during 2020, including zoom.us, Google Hangouts and Skype.

Skype is particularly useful if you'd like to call a relative who doesn't use modern technology and prefers a good old fashioned phone call.

Learn about the history of Thanksgiving

2020 has marked the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower crossing, and a big part of commemorations has been to tell the full history of Thanksgiving. Lots of educational resources, books and tools have been made available online as part of efforts to highlight the story of the Wampanoag tribe, and the realities behind the origins of Thanksgiving. There are lots of useful resources on the Mayflower 400 website, and on the website for the Plimoth Plantation Museum.

Go for a walk

Nothing beats a walk in the Autumn, and the UK has plenty of fascinating trails to follow. We may be in lockdown, but exercise is still encouraged, and there are lots of walks available wherever you happen to be living. A great resource for walks is the Ordinance Survey, which offers maps of public walkways and tracks.

Participate in free online events

2020 has been the year of the virtual event, and true to form, there are plenty taking place before, during and after Thanksgiving day. A brief browse for the phrase 'Thanksgiving' on Eventbrite yields information on everything from Thanksgiving Day Zumba to yoga, readings, music, historial talks and much more,

However you're spending Thanksgiving, have an enjoy day, be safe, stay well, and enjoy the Holiday. Happy Thanksgiving from The American magazine!


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