|No November turkey for us this year!|
I remember all too well the first year we were in New York. It seemed as if everyone I knew was going off to celebrate with their families and was incredibly excited, and for us, nothing was happening. We were saved at the last minute by our lovely German expat friends, who invited us round for a turkey and all the trimmings (plus some Germanic additions such as dumplings). It was actually rather wonderful.
From then on, celebrating Thanksgiving with our friends became a tradition for us. We had them back the following year, and then went to their house again. We became more familiar with the rituals of the day; watching the Macy's Manhattan Thanksgiving parade on TV in the morning, going for a walk after lunch in the usually glorious autumn weather. In 2011, I ran the annual town "Turkey Trot" before lunch, and appreciated the slap-up meal afterwards all the more.
So this year it seems a bit strange not to be celebrating the last Thursday in November. Not only seeing my friends' photos of their own celebrations on Facebook, I also feel left out as my work colleagues (all in the US) are on holiday and our offices are closed. While they are all being thankful, we're here in drizzly London on an ordinary Thursday, with everyone at school and work.
You see, I came around to Thanksgiving after all. It's an excuse for a big meal, a party and a festive feeling at a cold time of year when there's not much going on. (Many Americans I know say they even prefer it to Christmas, as there's no pressure to buy presents.)
Never mind. One thing I will appreciate this year is Christmas in England - my first since 2008. Mince pies, proper English carol services, mulled wine, Christmas pudding - it's all to come, and I intend to make the most of it. It's not been the easiest of years, but for that, I'll be thankful.
In the meantime, happy Thanksgiving!