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How to Host a Potluck on Thanksgiving

Posted on November 1st, 2015 by Bryanna Davis

Thanksgiving inside the US is a time for friends and family to gather and celebrate what they’re thankful for- and is usually focused around a Thanksgiving feast.

If you would like to celebrate Thanksgiving during your time as an international student inside the US, the best way to do this is to host a Thanksgiving potluck! Before sending out the invitations make sure you have access to a kitchen and a room large enough to seat everyone you invite! As long as you have these two necessities you’re in good shape.

The great thing about a potluck is that everyone only has to cook one dish, but everyone will have access to numerous dishes. Although one or two dishes might be devoured quicker than the others, there is typically more than enough food for everyone at a potluck. When inviting your friends make sure you convey to them that it will be a potluck Thanksgiving dinner and explain to them the concept if they’re not familiar. A simple, free and informative way to send out an invite to your Potluck Thanksgiving is through a Facebook event. In the invite, make sure you convey if you would like guests to bring a dish from their home country or a more traditional Thanksgiving dish like mashed potatoes, stuffing, pumpkin pie, turkey or cranberry sauce.

At the potluck you will need to ensure that all dishes are able to be displayed, everyone has somewhere to sit and that each dish after the meal goes home with the correct owner. Ensure that everyone will have a plate and eating utensils by either asking them to bring their own, by providing these yourself, or by asking someone to bring them instead of a dish.

Although this US holiday is often centered around the Thanksgiving feast, there are other activities that go hand in hand with Thanksgiving day. Early in the morning, before guests arrive, make sure that you watch the Thanksgiving parades, later it will be time to turn on the big football game, and sometime during the meal make sure you go around the table and have everyone say one (or a few) things they’re thankful for.

Since Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on everything that you’re thankful to have, it’s also a great time to give back to those who might not have as much to be thankful for. Many individuals throughout the US find this day to be the perfect time to volunteer. If time allows after your potluck feast, head down to a local food bank or homeless shelter and volunteer your time and give others just one more thing to be thankful for this year.

Written by Bryanna Davis

Bryanna joined EIC in 2011 after returning to the United States from teaching English in China. Her interest in international education, sparked initially by her own study abroad experience in Wales, led her to the company. Bryanna is originally from Missouri and is a graduate from the University of Central Missouri.

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12 Responses to “How to Host a Potluck on Thanksgiving”

  1. Mary Ellen Steria Says:

    Volunteering is a great activity to do with friends and family. I am glad that you mentioned it. Many people don’t have the resources to make a big meal. One great website for finding places to volunteer is Students can find local opportunities at this site.

  2. Bryanna Davis Says:

    Hi Mary Ellen,

    Thanks for the additional information!

  3. shuai Says:

    I think thank given day will help people to celebrate with their family. it can keep good relationship with family. on the other hand, I think thank given can teach people do not forget say thanks for other person.

  4. dan Says:

    I have hosted a potluck thanksgiving dinner last year, with your information I am excited to do that again!

  5. Basel Says:

    This is a great source of information, it’s really helpful for someone that’s not native. This will really help me setup a potluck now that i know what is needed.

  6. zhenjie Says:

    Thanksgiving is a USA holiday, I knew the story of thanksgiving. Local people help them who from Europe, which was wonderful. I would like to enjoy foods on this holiday,such as turkey, stuffing and potatoes.

  7. zhenjie Says:

    Thanksgiving is a USA holiday, I knew the story of thanksgiving. Local people help them who from Europe, which was wonderful. I would like to enjoy foods on this holiday,such as turkey, stuffing and potatoes.

  8. xuan Says:

    actually I didn’t experience any thanksgiving day. I have just stay in America for only two months. I am very interested in the thanksgiving after reading your blog. I hope I could have chance to experience it this year before I go back to China. According to your information about thanksgiving day, I think it is like the spring festival in China. All family members stay together, cook and have dinner. I also have some questions about thanksgiving day like what is the Origin of thanksgiving day and why people start to celebrate it? is there any other culture for this day?

  9. Bonnie Says:

    Potluck is a good way to share food with people, especially big group. I usually like to host potluck with my friends. By the way, do American like to spend time with family or friends on Thanksgiving? is potluck popular in big a family?

  10. Na Says:

    In Japan, we do not have culture like a potluck. This information is really interesting. I think many people bring different dishes is so fun for them, and everyone can join the party naturally. Not just guests. If someone said, they will hold a potluck party, I will try to cook and share it.

  11. Bryanna Davis Says:

    Hi Na,

    That is great! We hope you’re able to attend (or host) a potluck while you’re here!

  12. Bryanna Davis Says:

    I’m glad you all found this information helpful! Hopefully you will be able to experience a Thanksgiving Potluck this year! If so, make sure you take pictures and share them on our social media pages!

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