Help your Au Pair Feel like Part of the Family on Thanksgiving

November 22, 2016
For many international visitors, Thanksgiving is the quintessential American holiday. Celebrated by most Americans, it is a holiday that encourages pulling an extra chair up to the table, eating a little (or a lot!) more than necessary, and taking a moment to be grateful.

While your family’s Thanksgiving holiday may usually run on celebratory autopilot, consider stepping back and thinking about the holiday as if you had never celebrated it before. What are the traditions? How do people get involved? What is considered vital to the celebration? Your professional au pair will likely be celebrating Thanksgiving for the very first time and be unsure about how and if she should get involved.

Thanksgiving is a wonderful opportunity for cross-cultural sharing and a great way to help your au pair feel like a member of the family. Unsure where to start? The below tips will help you think about some ways to share Thanksgiving with your professional au pair:

Share History: Read up on the history of Thanksgiving so you can give your au pair a primer on the holiday. For example, some American’s don’t know that the concept of Thanksgiving originated in England and is also celebrated in Canada, or that President Lincoln first declared it a national holiday in the U.S.

Talk about Traditions: Most American families have specific traditions that go along with their Thanksgiving lunch or dinner. Maybe it’s running a “turkey trot” race in the morning, or watching a football game in the afternoon, or reviewing the “black Friday” advertisements, or passing a wooden spoon around the table with words of gratitude. Talk to your au pair about these traditions and encourage her to participate fully.

Spice up the Thanksgiving Table: Some au pairs may want to make a traditional dish from their home country to add to the delicious bounty of food. Others might like to learn how to make one of the traditional Thanksgiving dishes in your home. Talk to you au pair about how she would like to be involved and encourage her to help out with the cooking or decorating.

Remember the Moment: During some point in the daylong chaos, take some photos of the celebration so that both your family and your au pair will have a memento of your first Thanksgiving celebration together.

From all of us at PROaupair to all of you, have a Happy Thanksgiving!