Thanksgiving in Oxford | Holly Goes Abroad

This past Thursday was my second favorite holiday (after Christmas, of course): Thanksgiving!! Every year since I can remember all of my family members have come over to my house for Thanksgiving dinner. Sitting crammed around our too-small dining room table is one of the few times each year when we’re all gathered together in one place and I always look forward to the food and festivities. Needless to say, I was quite sad when I realized that studying abroad would mean that I wouldn’t be home for this lovely holiday. Fortunately, Mansfield College already had this problem covered!

The smaller high table at the front of Chapel Hall.

Since Mansfield is used to hosting visiting students from the States each year they always put on a Thanksgiving dinner in the Chapel Hall. We weren’t quite sure how it was going to go, but we needn’t have worried– it was amazing! They served the usual turkey with all the trimmings and even had pumpkin pie for dessert (we had all been craving it for days now). Not only was it great to have a familiar meal, but it was also really fun to share the experience with my friends from the U.K. who had never been to a Thanksgiving dinner before. (They were so confused about the corn bread for some reason…)

Of course, nothing is comparable to Thanksgiving dinner back home. I think it’s safe to say that we all found this a bit too formal for our liking, especially since most of us are used to a relaxed, casual dinner with family. We missed the quirky twists that each of our families inevitably puts on the traditional meal (I missed the cheesecake my mom always makes) and spent a majority of the time talking about all of our different ways of doing Thanksgiving. Who knew that there were so many variations on turkey, stuffing, and squash?

The front of Chapel Hall– they’ve already started decorating for Christmas!

Despite these differences, I had a fun, delicious, and incredibly memorable Thanksgiving in Oxford. I must admit that for an American holiday, the British do it pretty well! I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving if you celebrate it! ❀

Click here to check out other posts in my Holly Goes Abroad series!

Have you ever celebrated Thanksgiving (or another big holiday) somewhere other than where you usually celebrate it? What’s your favorite Thanksgiving tradition? Let me know in the comments section below!




14 responses to “Thanksgiving in Oxford | Holly Goes Abroad”

  1. awww, i’m happy you still had a thanksgiving dinner although you weren’t home!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Me too! It would have been so sad without one.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m glad you had a good time! And that you got pumpkin pie. 😊 This was the second time I was away from home for Thanksgiving, and I was sad but still had a really nice dinner with my boyfriend’s family. They were quite skeptical of the pumpkin pie, but I think they liked it! I was so happy with it that I didn’t let them take home any leftovers. πŸ™ˆ

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve never celebrated a holiday away from home, but I’ll miss my mom’s birthday because I’ll be in Manchester, which I’m really sad about.
    It’s great that you could still celebrate, even though it’s a bit different from back home! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so glad you had such a lovely time for Thanksgiving, Holly, even while being away from home ❀ Thank you for always sharing bits of your Oxford adventure with us πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Why do they find cornbread such an odd thing?? My boyfriend had never seen it before either, before Thanksgiving last year haha. Your photo looks like the hall in Harry Potter!!


  6. I also found myself in the UK this Thanksgiving (not for the first time), but I managed to celebrate a bit with a fellow American book blogger who’s studying abroad in London right now. That’s great that your college hosted a Thanksgiving dinner, but I could totally see how the formality might be off-putting. But how fun to introduce your British friends to the holiday and discuss your traditions with others!


  7. That sounds like so much fun!! But although I do agree, sometimes having it away from home isn’t best. Even if it’s in a well decorated hall with amazing food!


  8. I’m not American and don’t do thanksgiving. But I’ve had 3 birthdays away from my family, and they were all super duper weird. Mostly okay though (one time I was on a school trip and fell off my bike and injured myself and that wasn’t very fun oopsies). I’ve always had Christmas with my family though πŸ™‚ πŸ˜€


  9. Glad you had a good holiday! Holidays can be some of the loneliest times abroad, when we long not just for our friends and family but for our home, for the familiar things. (We say homesickness in English but I like the German term better: Heimweh, that is home pain or home suffering. ) it hit me hard around the Fourth of July in Germany, but fortunately the local US army base wives hosted us. I will never forget those fireworks! Enjoy the rest of your stay!


  10. I’m glad you still got a good Thanksgiving meal, even if it didn’t quite have the casual quirks of the holiday at home.


  11. It’s wonderful that your school puts something on! And chatting with lots of Americans away from home about their various traditions sounds really fun.

    I haven’t been in America for Thanksgiving in a long time – and it’s my favourite holiday! I miss my family’s old traditions, but we’ve come up with some cool substitutes:

    The first year in the UK, we went to an Indian restaurant with family friends – we decided it was more about the Thanksgiving spirit than the food. This year we had a traditional meal, but it was made in an Airbnb in Dublin. My favourite was going to the Mayflower Pub, which sits on the bank of the Thames where the Mayflower was docked before it left to pick up the pilgrims in Plymouth. They serve a traditional Thanksgiving meal every year, and it feels about as authentic as British Thanksgiving gets.

    Have you gotten to celebrate any UK-specific holidays you’ll take home with you yet? πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oooh I’ve heard of the Mayflower Pub from one of my friends who is studying abroad in London– it sounds amazing!! I haven’t gotten to any UK-specific holidays yet, although Oxmas sometimes feels like a holiday all on its own πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  12. […] has been a flood of holidays and celebrations. Not only did I have a birthday this month, but we also celebrated Thanksgiving and Oxmas. Since most students move out of their college accommodations for winter break, the city […]


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