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Colleges serve a special meal for students remaining on campus during Thanksgiving, and international students are often invited to share Thanksgiving with local families. U.S. troops stationed overseas are served a Thanksgiving meal. When Americans at home sit down at the table and give thanks, they often express gratitude for their freedom and the sacrifices made to preserve it.

Many people prepare Thanksgiving meals and serve them to the needy. Others donate to food drives, work at food warehouses or deliver groceries to soup kitchens, churches and other charitable groups.

Thanksgiving is the busiest travel period of the year because families make a special effort to be together. Some favorite pastimes include watching television coverage of the annual Macy’s Department Store parade in New York and of American football games played around the country. The day after Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season, an important time for U.S. retailers.

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