Thanksgiving Day 2018

Happy Thanksgiving to our American clients and friends!

Thanksgiving Day is an annual national holiday in the United States and Canada celebrating the harvest and other blessings of the past year.

Americans believe that their Thanksgiving is modelled on a 1621 autumn harvest feast shared by the English pilgrims and the Wampanoag people. The holiday is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, this year it falls on Thursday 22nd.

For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. In 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln declared a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November to promote unity.

Canadian Thanksgiving, however, is celebrated earlier than its American counterpart on the second Monday in October. Canada is geographically further north than the US, meaning the harvest season arrives earlier. Since Thanksgiving for Canadians is more about giving thanks for the harvest season than the arrival of pilgrims, they celebrate the holiday in October.

The American holiday is particularly rich in legend and symbolism and the traditional meal typically includes turkey, as the inaugural Thanksgiving possibly began with a few colonists going out “fowling”.

Whilst Thanksgiving celebrations have lost much of their original religious significance, the holiday now focuses on cooking and sharing a meal with family and friends. Served with the turkey is bread stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn and cranberries followed by pumpkin pie. This American classic dessert is made with fresh pumpkin for a delicious flavour and wonderful texture. Why not try out the recipe!

Volunteering is a common activity as well as watching the parades in cities and towns. Macy’s department store in New York has the largest parade with huge balloons. Another popular pastime are the Thanksgiving Day football games, which began with Yale versus Princeton in 1876.

Read our Case Study: Country Briefings: Mastering American Customer Service Expectations

Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Nutrition: per serving

Kcal 357, fat 18g, saturates 7g, carbs 45g, sugars 27g, fibre 2g, protein 5g, salt 0.65g


  • 750g pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into chunks
  • 350g sweet shortcrust pastry
  • Plain flour, for dusting
  • 140g caster sugar
  • ½tsp salt
  • ½tsp fresh nutmeg, grated
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 25g butter, melted
  • 175ml milk
  • 1tbsp icing sugar


1. Place the pumpkin/squash in a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Cover with a lid and simmer for 15 mins or until tender. Drain and let cool.

2. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas mark 4. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and use it to line a 22cm loose-bottomed tart tin. Chill for 15 mins. Line the pastry with baking parchment and baking beans, then bake for 15 mins. Remove the beans and paper, and cook for a further 10 mins until the base is golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.

3. Increase oven to 220C/220C fan/gas mark 7. Push the cooled pumpkin through a sieve into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, salt, nutmeg and half the cinnamon. Mix in the beaten eggs, melted butter and milk, then add to the pumpkin purée and stir to combine. Pour into the tart shell and cook for 10 mins, then reduce the temperature to 180C/160C fan/gas mark 4. Continue to bake for 35–40 mins until the filling has just set.

4. Leave to cool, then remove the pie from the tin. Mix the remaining cinnamon with the icing sugar and dust over the pie. Serve chilled.

Recipe from Good Food magazine.

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