Vanessa | Holiday Season in the USA!

by Au Pair in America

Halloween in the USA, Friendsgiving, Christmas with the host family – you name it, she’s done it all! Au Pair in America blogger Vanessa is back with a post-holiday update. Spoiler: This blog post can and will give you random food cravings!



Vanessa and her two friends ready to go out for their first Halloween in the USA

Vanessa and her two au pair friends about to head to Georgetown for their first Halloween in the USA!

If you’re from a country where people don’t usually celebrate this particular holiday, you will definitely enjoy Halloween in the USA. From spooky decorations that pop up in people’s yards, to stores that are bursting with all types of candy: It doesn’t take more than that to get excited for Halloween! The day before, I went trick-or-treating with my host kid. We went to a nice little area downtown, where kids could go on their annual Halloween candy hunt. The adults waited patiently, whilst trying to stay warm with some hot apple cider. On the 31st, we went to a parade at my host kids’ school. But in the evening we all stayed home to give away candy to the trick-or-treaters in our neighborhood, as is tradition. Later that night, my friends and I walked around Georgetown to get a good look at the different costumes. Definitely a memorable experience!



The infamous "Bean" in Chicago, USA.

The infamous “Bean” in Chicago.

In November, we flew to Chicago for the weekend! We arrived Saturday morning and let’s just say… the weather was “not ideal”. It was raining, super cold and windy. But after all, that’s what Chicago is known for! The city center is just a short train ride from the airport, and only 5$. The first thing on our list: The famous “deep dish pizza”. Once our feet were toasty warm again, we walked alongside Chicago’s beautiful river, visited “The Bean”, and went on the architecture boat tour. In the evening, we went for amazing desserts at the “Nutella Cafe“. If you’re a Nutella fan… that’s the place to go! Due to the bad weather conditions we couldn’t visit the Skydeck on Sunday, but we just headed to the Navy Pier instead. Chicago was a cold but beautiful trip. I totally recommend going there if you ever get the chance!

Vanessa and two USA au pair friends posing in front of the Chicago skyline.

Vanessa and her au pair friends in Chicago!


Vanessa and her friend Franzi are sitting at the table, waiting for first ever Thanksgiving dinner in the USA to start.

Vanessa at her friend Franzi’s house, ready for their first Thanksgiving dinner!

Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Rolls fresh out of the oven! A very common sweet treat in the USA.

A very autumnal treat, perfect for Thanksgiving: Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Rolls!


Fall in the United States is PACKED with holidays! Next on was my first Thanksgiving ever, with lots of food and good people. My host family was away for Thanksgiving, so I spend it with my friend Franzi and her host family. I didn’t learn how to stuff a turkey, but I made some pumpkin spice cinnamon rolls instead. Right before dinner, we all wrote down everything we felt thankful for in 2017. There was so much love in the air, so many kind words were exchanged! Of course I missed my family and friends, but I got to meet so many lovely people that day! The best part was the food though! I went a little crazy with the dessert… Before I knew it, I had three slices of cake and one cinnamon roll on my plate. But you know what: no regrets!



The thing I’ve been looking forward to most this year? Celebrating Christmas “the American way”: In Germany we celebrate on the 24th, rather than the 25th. On Christmas Eve I went to church with a fellow au pair – and  I’m glad I did. It felt a bit like home! Afterwards I had dinner with my host family, and we prepared some cookies for Santa. On Christmas morning my oldest host kid woke me up to tell me that Santa had been here – finally time for the presents! My host kids were beyond excited. Every one of us had a stocking with some Christmassy goodies.  I’m so thankful for every presents I got! I had expected to be sad on Christmas, but my host family made me feel so loved that I hardly got a chance to be homesick. In all honesty, my first Christmas in America was amazing!

Red and green iced cookies on a cookie plate for Santa, as is tradition in the USA

It’s tradition in the USA to leave some milk and Christmas cookies for Santa and his reindeer on Christmas Eve.

And on the 26th I hopped on a plane to fly to the other side of the country, to Los Angeles for a week: But stay tuned for the next blog post to learn more about that trip!

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