Thanksgiving – South African style

Welcome to my blog! This post forms part of a Blog tour full of entertaining, decor and recipes for Thanksgiving. So make sure you take full advantage of this awesome source of information and take the full tour!

If you are taking our Thanksgiving Blessings blog tour, you probably landed here from Beth Davidson’s  page, The Frenzied Hostess, who I personally believe is not frenzied at all! If you haven’t seen her Thanksgiving inspired tablescape, pop over and take a look!

Thanksgiving is not a day that is generally celebrated in South Africa. But I’ve always loved the idea of having a day where you celebrate what you are thankful for. We after all have so much to be thankful for. This year I’ve decided to put words to actions and start a new tradition in our house. Since we are Afrikaans speaking, we called it our “Dankbaarheidsfees”. This will translate to a gratitude festival.

A simple and budget friendly Thanksgiving, doing it in a South African style.

But this year, while planning and having this festival, I cannot help to think where this tradition came from. Without giving a history lesson, it has to do with gratitude for the harvest. For us in South Africa, that at the moment has a dark cloud over it.

Why you ask? Well, as some of you might know (or not), that on 30 October we had a #BlackMonday, where thousands of South Africans marched against the brutal killing of South African farmers. Those people that provide us with the food we are supposed to be thankful for. You can read about it in the news here and the statistics here. So while you celebrate Thanksgiving in your homes this year, I ask you to say a prayer for the farmers in South Africa.

But back to our little celebrations! What an awesome day this was.
I love making things pretty, but also believe that you can do it on a budget. So this celebration was no different.

our thanksgiving table

Our little table was set up simple, but friendly and inviting. I’ve decided to add a little rustic feel to it, since I wanted to add some succulents to the table (in the lack of available pumpkins at the beginning of summer).

And let’s face it, children will be children and if there is one thing if learned. If you have children and a white table cloth, it will get stained! So added some brown paper as runners on the table. It added to the rustic flair and helped protecting my table cloth! The under plates I made by cutting round circles in some cardboard and stick some red felt to it. This helped to add some color to the table.

For each person I added a little cardboard bread basket with a name tag added to it. (You can read here how to make them and get the free template. ) Each guest received two little jars. One with a tuna pate and one with the most amazing sun dried tomato pesto. This was our little feasts starter.

But since the point of this feast was to say what we are thankful for, I’ve added a little card with a pencil (see how I glammed it up with some glitter, cool right!?)

So in the spirit of being grateful, I am sharing this printable with you. FREE! No signup, no nothing. Just because I’m grateful that I have the talent to create them. So share this post with your friends so they can download it too!
Remember to check out my etsy store if you would like to see more of my work.

And for the South African locals who prefer Afrikaans…

My boys thankful list: “for a mommy and a daddy and a brother and a house and a bed and food” Sounds like he got all basis covered!

It was amazing to see how all of us were thankful for family. Guess it shows you that family just stays the most important thing for everyone.
You see the apples on the table – the were my substitute pumpkins but I love the color that it ads. Then the little Graptopetalum paraguayense or Ghost plants replaces flowers on the table, but also helps to add to the rustic feel.

The thanksgiving food

The buffet was small but I love how my little candle apple arrangement turned out. Again the apples replaced pumpkins and the ghost plants replaced some flowers. I must admit, my boy thought the fact that he can eat the arrangement afterwards was just the best idea ever!

Although the food was simple, this made a typical South African plate. The chicken we made in the rotisserie with some small onions sucking up the juices underneath. No meal will be complete without some potatoes! I made some potato stack by cutting them into thin layers and drizzle them with a mixture of melted butter, garlic and lots of Parmesan. Then you bake them for about 45 minutes and take out the yummiest potatoes!

Veggies isn’t a big thing in my house (like not at all – we officially have a veggie day where the boys have to eat their veggies!) We had some green beans with bacon, garlic and cream. A winner in our house!

For desert we had a South African favorite. Dom Pedro!  I’ve used the recipe that you can find here. You can read more about the amarula fruit and find some more recipes at

my Family
My family! With Pieter always being the joker!

This was our first Thanksgiving or “Dankbaarheidsfees”.  A new tradition for our little family. I do believe that you should celebrate what you are thankful for. After all, we have a lot to be thankful for.

No party is any fun without some folly! Not sure if Rudi tested the quality of the paper or the strength of his muscles… Boys will be boys!

Thank you for your visit  our home!

Time to continue the Thanksgiving Blessings Blog Tour.

You can now move on to the the beautiful and talented Brianna Adams’s page, Half Pint Party Design and see her amazing chic holiday tablescape.

If you’ve missed any of the previous posts in the tour, hop over to to start at the beginning!

Help others to party along!

6 Replies to “Thanksgiving – South African style”

  1. I love learning more about your culture and I seriously live under a rock and don’t hear about all the sadness happening in the world. By choice…it gives me too much anxiety! I will pray for the farmers. Your table was beautiful and I love the use of the apples and your beautiful ghost plants. I might just try an apple arrangement for next year!

    1. Thanks Bri! I also tend to ignore the news for the same reason, but when it’s so close to home, you simply can’t ignore it. Thanks for popping in!

  2. You have a beautiful family, Marlize! I loved hearing about Dankbaarheidsfees, and how you started a new family tradition. And your little one’s are adorable, and I love the idea of a “thankful list”!

    I am, however, deeply saddened to hear of farmers in your country being murdered. There’s so much senseless and horrific events all over this world, that it’s hard to comprehend why one would commit such heinous acts. I pray that you and your family are safe and out of harms way. Take care, my sweet friend.

    1. Thanks Kristy! Family is so important and I really do believe that you should never take each other for granted. I am every day thankful for hubby and my two monkeys.

      Unfortunately our country is filled with senseless murders. It saddens me deeply that human beings can’t give each other a little place in the sun. But we will keep praying!

  3. I’m a news junkie and I still haven’t heard about the killing of farmers. That’s terrible. And the US news needs to do better on world events! Anyway, on a happier note, I love that we’re both into history this week. 🙂 I also think the paper table runner is a great idea, even if you don’t have kids.

    1. Thanks Beth. Yes, it is truly sad the killings in our country. But on a happy note, I’m so glad I started this new tradition with my family! Oh, and the table runners made great after dinner entertainment for the boys. Pieter tried to create his first signature!

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