How to enjoy an Aussie thanksgiving

It's November, there's a juicy brown turkey roasting in the oven, cranberry sauce waiting patiently on the dinner table, and the whole family is in their glad rags potentially waiting for the feast to follow.

Actually, scratch that – you're in Australia, there's no snow outside, and if you wished someone a happy thanksgiving, they would ask you why you have an Australian accent when you're clearly not from around these parts.

But why do we have to miss out?

We grew up with these mid-November feasts on our television sets and in movie theatres. Thanksgiving is an American icon, right up there with line dancing and mandatory tipping.

In the States, the annual gathering is all to do with the autumn harvest. It began as early as the 1600s, when, as legend has it, the first colonists sat down with a group of Native Americans to give thanks for an abundant crop yield. A century or two later, President Abraham Lincoln made it official and announced a national public holiday on the third Thursday every November – and Americans have been going back for thirds and letting out their belts on this historic day ever since.

So how do we take part in this fantastic tradition?

The traditional thanksgiving

If you want to go the whole hog and do it just like it's done in the US, you'll need three main ingredients.

Start with a decent-sized turkey and somebody who knows how to cook it. Add a game of football on the television (the American kind), and gather around the extended family to share it all.

Spice this up with plenty of other traditional dishes, such as corn pudding, green bean casserole, roast and mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, apple pie, pumpkin pie, chocolate pudding, and plenty of sparkling apple juice to wash it all down.

Remember to go back for seconds and thirds as desired, and have something ready to be thankful for to share before you start your meal.

An Australian alternative

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie! Oi, oi, oi!

Not all of us will want to give up our Aussie sides, however, so there are some ways to embrace this American tradition without saying goodbye to our Australian preferences for a day.

A turkey is a pretty big part of this gathering, but feel free to opt for a roast ham with mustard sauce instead. The football is easily Aussie-fied – just find a game of real footy to play in the background.

As for the family gathering – this is a great way to get everyone together, but we know how much Australians love to travel, so this might be easier said than done. So unless you feel like enjoying your feast over Skype, why not organise a 'friendsgiving'?

Get your mates together, organise who can bring which plate and mix in a few Aussie favourites.

Roast some veggies, make a pavlova, and serve your meal up with an eski full of ice and beers. There are plenty of ways to turn this American tradition into a true blue Aussie favourite.

All you need is good food, good people and something to be thankful for. And if you're already living in Australia, we think all those bases are pretty well covered.

Have you ever celebrated thanksgiving in the Land Down Under?

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