Thanksgiving is fast approaching, which means that many people who aren’t hosting this year will now be turning their minds to what to bring for a gift. While it dates back to the Pilgrims in the 17th century and giving thanks for the harvest, Thanksgiving is also a great reason for families and friends to come together, especially if they live in different parts of the country, or the world – similar holidays are celebrated in places as diverse as Germany, Japan and Liberia!Are there any rules for Thanksgiving gifts?
While there are no real formal rules for Thanksgiving gifts, we think it’s a good idea to stick with a couple of informal ones.
The first is that you really should contribute something to the meal itself if you’ve been invited to Thanksgiving at someone’s home. Your hosts will have been labouring away in the kitchen, perhaps for several days depending on the number of people arriving. They will have been decorating the house too, and also preparing for overnight guests. It’s not just hard work, it’s also costly, so if you can help out a little with some good wine, a few loaves of fresh bread, or even a bowl of salad, it will surely be appreciated. Just make sure you check beforehand what is needed.So we’ve established that you should bring something along to help share the load, but this is where rule number two comes in.
It’s important to remember that Thanksgiving meals aren’t just dreamed up and served on the day. Chances are, your hosts will have been planning their Thanksgiving celebrations for some time. So to avoid causing extra hassle, you must ensure that your gift doesn’t either cause them to have to shake things up, or feel obligated to do so. What that means is, if you’re bringing food, it ought to be pre-prepared and not something that will take a lot of time to make in an already busy kitchen. If you’re bringing some form of entertainment such as a board game or a film, then it needs to be family-friendly so everyone can get involved.How much should I spend on a Thanksgiving gift?
In terms of expenditure, the price of your Thanksgiving gift might depend on a lot of factors, such as whether you’ve been invited to stay overnight, or how deep your connections are to the family – perhaps you’re spending Thanksgiving with your girlfriend’s family for the first time.
It’s tricky because you don’t want to spend too little, but spend too much and your hosts might feel awkward on receiving your gift.
For that reason, it’s best to think back to times you and your own family have hosted Thanksgiving, and what kind of gifts you received, for inspiration.Thanksgiving gift ideas
Here’s a few suggestions on what to give your Thanksgiving hosts:
Pumpkin pie. Although pumpkins are native to the United States, the recipe was brought over by the pilgrims from Tudor England as their dessert of choice. Of course there could well be one on the table already, but you never have enough, or you could bring a different dessert.
You might go with a new serving dish (always handy when there are big groups coming together), homemade seasonings to go on the table, or just a reliable old standard like flowers or a good bottle of wine.
Eggnog is often drunk on Thanksgiving so you might make up a fresh jug if you don’t have to travel far.
A cheeseboard can also be a good Thanksgiving gift idea, to be passed around after the meal.
Scented candles, herbal teas, bath salts or even massage vouchers are a nice way to help your hosts relax after a busy week.
Consider bringing something for breakfast the next day if you’re staying over, as your hosts will probably want to take it easy. Cinnamon rolls can go straight into a cupboard to be reheated the morning after.
Lastly – one of the best ideas for Thanksgiving gifts is time. Try to arrive early, so you can lend a hand in the kitchen or with the decorations, shop for anything that has been forgotten, or at least keeping the kids entertained for a while.