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Travel nurses and others who find themselves working away from home during Thanksgiving can still make the holiday special and memorable. Here are some ways they can celebrate:

nurses celebrating thanksgiving

1. Host a Potluck with Fellow Travelers

Coordinate with other travel nurses or healthcare professionals in your area to host a potluck-style Thanksgiving meal. Each person can contribute a dish, making it a collaborative and festive event. See below for a list of regional Thanksgiving dishes you can try!

2. Explore Local Cuisine

Embrace the opportunity to experience the local culture by trying out traditional dishes from the area. This can be a fun and educational way to celebrate.

3. Volunteer at a Local Shelter or Food Bank

Give back to the community by volunteering at a local shelter or food bank. Many places have special Thanksgiving events where volunteers are needed.

4. Video Calls with Loved Ones

Connect with family and friends via video calls to share the holiday spirit. You can even coordinate meal times so it feels like you're dining together.

5. Host a Virtual Dinner Party

Invite family and friends to a virtual Thanksgiving dinner party. Set up a video call and enjoy the meal together while catching up.

6. Explore the Outdoors

If the weather allows, consider spending time outdoors. You can go for a hike, have a picnic, or simply enjoy the natural surroundings.

7. Attend a Local Thanksgiving Event

Look for local events or parades happening in your area. Participating in community celebrations can be a great way to feel connected. (check out the list of some of the best Thanksgiving parades in the US below, or find one local to you!)

8. Create Your Own Traditions

Establish new traditions that are meaningful to you. This could be something as simple as writing down what you're thankful for or starting a gratitude journal.

9. Decorate Your Living Space

Decorate your temporary living space with Thanksgiving-themed decorations. This can help create a festive atmosphere and make it feel more like home.

10. Visit a Restaurant Offering Thanksgiving Meals

Many restaurants offer special Thanksgiving menus. Consider treating yourself to a meal prepared by professional chefs.

11. Attend a Friendsgiving Event

If you're close to colleagues or fellow travelers, consider hosting or attending a Friendsgiving celebration. It's a great way to build camaraderie.

12. Practice Self-Care

Take some time for self-care. Whether it's a spa day, a long walk, or simply relaxing with a good book, doing something you enjoy can be a meaningful way to spend the holiday.

Remember, the essence of Thanksgiving is gratitude and togetherness. However you choose to celebrate, focus on the things you're thankful for and cherish the connections you have, whether they're near or far.

Regional Thanksgiving dishes in the United States

Thanksgiving in the United States is a diverse holiday, and different regions have their own unique dishes and culinary traditions. Here are some regional Thanksgiving dishes – whether you’re looking for a taste of home or want to try something new, there’s something here for everyone!

  1. New England
    • Pilgrim Pie: A variation of shepherd's pie made with ground meat, onions, and vegetables, topped with mashed potatoes.
    • Indian Pudding: A traditional New England dessert made from cornmeal, molasses, milk, and spices, often served with vanilla ice cream.
  2. Mid-Atlantic:
    • Oyster Stuffing: A stuffing made with oysters, bread crumbs, onions, celery, and seasonings, popular in coastal areas like Maryland.
  3. Southern:
    • Cornbread Dressing: A savory dressing made with cornbread, vegetables, herbs, and sometimes sausage, a staple in Southern Thanksgiving meals.
    • Sweet Potato Casserole: Mashed sweet potatoes mixed with sugar, butter, and spices, topped with a crunchy pecan or marshmallow topping.
  4. Midwest:
    • Jell-O Salad: A retro dish made with flavored gelatin, fruits, and sometimes marshmallows, popular in the Midwest.
    • Wild Rice Casserole: Often made with a combination of wild rice, mushrooms, and cream, reflecting the abundance of wild rice in the region.
  5. Southwest:
    • Green Chile Cornbread: A variation of cornbread made with green chiles, reflecting the influence of Southwestern cuisine.
  6. Pacific Northwest:
    • Dungeness Crab: In coastal areas, fresh Dungeness crab can be a featured dish alongside more traditional Thanksgiving fare.
  7. California:
    • Artichoke and Sourdough Stuffing: Reflecting the abundance of artichokes and sourdough bread in the region, this stuffing is a local favorite.
  8. Hawaii:
    • Kalua Turkey: A variation of roasted turkey seasoned with Hawaiian sea salt and cooked in an underground imu (earth oven) for a smoky flavor.
  9. Alaska:
    • Salmon: In Alaska, salmon may be a featured dish, reflecting the state's rich seafood resources.
  10. New Orleans and Louisiana:
    • Cajun and Creole Louisiana:In Louisiana, you may find dishes like gumbo, jambalaya, and étouffée alongside more traditional Thanksgiving offerings.

Remember, these regional dishes are just a sampling of the diverse and creative ways people celebrate Thanksgiving across the United States. Many families also incorporate their own unique family recipes and cultural traditions into their Thanksgiving meals. Being away from home can offer a fun opportunity to try new dishes and traditions!

Thanksgiving Celebrations in the United States

Part of the fun of travel assignments is that you get to live all over! From large cities to the smallest towns, Thanksgiving Parades are a fun tradition that everyone can participate in. Some of the most popular and well-known Thanksgiving parades in the United States are listed below – if you happen to be near any of these, they’re worth the trip:

1. Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (New York City, New York)

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is one of the most iconic Thanksgiving parades in the world. It features giant character balloons, floats, marching bands, and celebrity performances. The parade route stretches through Manhattan and attracts millions of spectators.

2. Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Known as the oldest Thanksgiving Day parade in the country, the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade features floats, giant balloons, marching bands, and special appearances. It winds through the historic streets of Philadelphia.

3. America's Thanksgiving Parade (Detroit, Michigan)

Hosted by The Parade Company, America's Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit is one of the largest and oldest Thanksgiving parades in the country. It features impressive floats, helium-filled balloons, marching bands, and celebrity guests.

4. Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade (Chicago, Illinois)

Also known as the McDonald's Thanksgiving Day Parade, this event features a variety of colorful floats, marching bands, equestrian units, and performers. The parade travels through the streets of downtown Chicago.

5. Houston Thanksgiving Day Parade (Houston, Texas)

This parade is known for its diverse and vibrant floats, balloons, marching bands, and cultural performances. It's a major event in Houston and is televised locally and nationally.

6. Raleigh Christmas Parade (Raleigh, North Carolina)

While officially known as the Raleigh Christmas Parade, it takes place on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. It features marching bands, floats, giant balloons, and festive entertainment.

7. Stamford Downtown Parade Spectacular (Stamford, Connecticut)

This annual parade is a popular event in Stamford, featuring giant helium balloons, marching bands, and festive floats. It's a beloved tradition in the area.

8. Seattle Macy's Holiday Parade (Seattle, Washington)

Formerly known as the My Macy's Holiday Parade, this event features a wide array of floats, bands, and performers. It kicks off the holiday season in downtown Seattle.

9. Orlando Christmas Parade (Orlando, Florida)

While officially a Christmas parade, it traditionally takes place on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The event features Disney characters, marching bands, festive floats, and celebrity guests.

10. Chick-fil-A Parade (Atlanta, Georgia)

Formerly known as the Children's Christmas Parade, this event takes place on Thanksgiving morning in downtown Atlanta. It includes marching bands, giant helium balloons, and floats, and benefits Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

We’re Thankful for You!

However you’re spending Thanksgiving this year, we’re thankful for all of the healthcare professionals and allied providers who work hard every day to take care of others!

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