November 10, 2011
Thanksgiving 101 for au pairs and host families

Contributed by Danielle Wood, Cultural Care host mom and editor at

Who exactly were the pilgrims? When was the first Thanksgiving, and why? What with prepping the turkey and dreaming of pumpkin pie, you may have forgotten that at least one member of your family is probably a little hazy on the details as to what Thanksgiving is about, and why we celebrate it.

Here’s a quick Thanksgiving cheat sheet, that will answer many of the questions kids and au pairs throw at you. But in the meantime, here’s a quick recap of a few facts you may want to have at the ready:

  • The pilgrims were a group of about 100 people who set off from Europe in 1620, many of which to seek more religious freedom.
  • They settled in Massachusetts, in an area they dubbed Plymouth.
  • The first Thanksgiving was a celebration they threw in honor of their first harvest. It had been a tough winter and many settlers had died. The survivors held a big feast with a group of Native Americans who’d helped them learn the skills to make it through the winter.

Now that you’ve got the facts in hand, don’t forget to share a few. But most of all, be sure to share your own family’s traditions this holiday season. Getting a taste of our holidays and customs is part of what makes an au pair year more than just a year of babysitting. Maybe this year, you can have a dish on your table that comes from your au pair’s country, alongside the stuffing and sweet potatoes.

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