If you didn’t get the hint from the Target toy magazines or pumpkin-spiced everything, Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching. It’s another day off from work…another day to watch live TV until it’s time to sit down and indulge in buttery mashed potatoes and turkey. And while you might feel slightly cheesy going around the table to say what you’re thankful for, not everyone has the chance to be with family and list off what they appreciate. In 2018, foreign laborers comprised 17.4% of the United States workforce (US Department of Labor 2019 Statistics). Odds are one of your coworkers who sees these toy magazines and fuzzy warm commercials does not have the opportunity or time to fly and be with loved ones. Some easily dismiss their affliction because Thanksgiving is an American holiday, so why should they care about celebrating it? But being left out of a national happening rooted in family and tradition is isolating. So companies are taking Thanksgiving into their own hands. 

Companies are reducing the anxiety around not having a place to go for the holiday and enhancing employee relationships simultaneously by hosting a celebratory dinner. There are many options to consider when planning a company Thanksgiving dinner, but enthusiastic employees and the wide variety of food options will help you plan a successful and cozy meal.

The Night Of

Some employees might not want to go into the office on their day off. So it’s becoming more popular to hold it on the Wednesday evening prior instead. This also opens up the invite to everyone who’s free that night, so anyone from the company can join and celebrate together, instead of isolating the internationals. The easiest way to choose which night to host is to send out a poll, and see which night would get the most attendees. 

The Food

Grocery chains such as Wholefoods make it easy to buy traditional plates in bulk, and local restaurants also allow you to order to-go Thanksgiving meals so no one is stuck with the burden of cooking. They also give accurate portions to prevent food and money waste. Potluck style is a more budget-friendly, homey approach — all attendees sign up in advance to make a dish and contribute to a massive feast. Potluck also gives attendees the opportunity to showcase some of their own traditional foods so diners can appreciate flavors of multiple cultures. Just make sure to note which foods contain allergens (dairy, gluten, nuts, etc.) to prevent any mishaps. 

The Location 

 If you want to make the dinner feel more like a Friendsgiving, ask around to see if any employee wants to host the dinner at their home. Some people absolutely love any excuse for hosting dinner parties, so it could be the perfect opportunity for the holiday lover. Provide a small stipend for cutlery and decor as a little “thanks” to them for hosting and making the winter holiday a bit cozier. 

No matter where the dinner is hosted or where the food is from, your international employees will appreciate the effort you put in to make them included in a national holiday. It’s a good opportunity to kick off the chilly winter season with a happy, warm start.