Thanksgiving in Bay Area

As a newcomer to the Bay Area (and the US for that matter), I am always excited during Thanksgiving. I had never lived in North America before, so Thanksgiving is kind of new to me. So far, the only place I’ve learned about it is from movies and a little bit of reading. But to experience it firsthand is exhilarating. For me, it’s because of these three reasons:

The colors of Thanksgiving

If you have been living in a four-season area, please forgive my overbearing excitement. As someone who has been living in the tropics for most of her life and knowing only rain or shine, fall is wickedly awesome! It’s like your life is changing colors, literally. From the dull, brown summer (because of California drought), trees are starting to get colorful. It’s like having your toddler who insists on coloring everything black is suddenly interested in using  the whole pack of crayons. Make sure that you take a walk around your neighborhood and enjoy this scenery because the red and yellow leaves aren’t there for long!


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It feels like bliss to have the temperature drop after a hot summer. What better way to spend a cold evening than to enjoy a meal together with the ones you love? I remember my excitement when I had my first Thanksgiving dinner. Not only that it was my first time eating a turkey (A huge bird with cranberry sauce? I didn’t know it was so good), but being exposed to a new tradition is an enriching experience for the soul. It’s also a good way for a family to get together, what with everyone’s busy schedules.

Black Friday

It’s going to be my second Thanksgiving and believe it or not, I have never been to any Black Friday sales before. “What??” you might ask me in disbelief, “but Black Friday has the best shopping deals ever!” I hear you loud and clear, my friend. Yet the thought of having to stand in line for hours and do ‘Hunger Games’-style shopping is just… exhausting. Or at least until I heard that we can get Tory Burch sandals for $20. Say again? Ok maybe this year I will try it.

However, Thanksgiving is not merely about having a feast and shopping till you drop. This is a great way for you to try many other activities. What can you do other than savoring a delicious buffet. 

Help others

If you have just resettled in the Bay Area with not that many friends yet, this is a good chance for you to deepen a prospective friendship. Find someone that you think you clicked with and offer them help with Thanksgiving preparation. During all those errands and cooking, you can get to know each other better and maybe find a lot of things in common. Besides, everyone loves a helpful fellow and who knows? It could lead to a lifelong friendship.

Thanksgiving is the time when we are grateful for our life and what we have. There are others living around us who are not as lucky, and maybe we can help lend a hand. You can volunteer for a soup kitchen for the homeless. There are ample opportunities to volunteer in the Bay Area. You can check out SF-Marin Food Bank or this. There is nothing more heartwarming and fulfilling than sharing the love around. A little help on your part might mean a lot for them. 

What’s friendsgiving?

Not everyone moved to the Bay Area with their family. I had a chat with a friend who said Thanksgiving is rather boring for them because everyone is with their family and they are not. I know it sounds a little bit sad but hey, Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be a bummer even if you are single! Find a group of friends who are here on their own too and do a friendsgiving! Go take a group hike. Plan a road trip together. Organize a Secret Santa (or guardian angel, or whatever name you call it) and do a gift exchange. You can also plan a potluck and have a little dinner party. Just make sure you don’t eat out because very few restaurants and eateries are open. Even if they are open, the line can get extremely long and you might end up with nothing. My friend from Morocco celebrated her first Thanksgiving by standing in a three-hour line restaurant in Las Vegas. It doesn’t sound very fun now, does it?

Whatever you plan to do this Thanksgiving, I hope that you can make the most out of it!

Happy Thanksgiving from Life in the Bay!


About Gita A

I have spent one third of my life away from home. I was born and grew up in Solo, Indonesia. After high school, I took my business degree in Nanyang Technological University in Singapore where I met my husband. Eight years later, we moved to the Bay Area when my husband was offered a position at Google. Moving to the other side of the world was not an easy task. Struggle was of course a part of it, and I have my ups and downs. Slowly but sure I find new friends along the way and life is getting more colourful each day. I know that my story is not unique. I’m glad to join the LITB team and I hope that our stories can help those who find themselves a thousand miles away from home feel not alone. We are in this together; and we, as a community, can grow stronger. Welcome to the Bay Area!

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