Last week, Americans celebrated their national holiday Thanksgiving, so we asked our resident American Christa to share some of her favourite Thanksgiving traditions with us! Please be sure to share any of your Thanksgiving traditions in the comments below.
Thanksgiving is my favourite holiday. I am sure as a kid I was drawn more to the magic, toys and snow of Christmas, but even before I moved away for university. Thanksgiving has been the more important holiday. I am lucky, even though I don’t have a large family we all made an effort to get together, flying in from all over the USA. It is a holiday that remains genuine and relatively untainted by commercialism. The emphasis is on being together as a family and there is no stress of last minute shopping or the disappointment of yet another scarf.
My Aunt is an amazing host and has a big house that we easily fill with 20-30 people. This number has inched up over the years as boyfriends are replaced by husbands and the children multiply. Whole families of in-laws are added at a time as families don’t want to be separated. These new families bring with them new traditions and food. We startle the newcomers with our noise and my Uncle amazes them with his smoked turkey.
In our family Thanksgiving is a bit nuts and everyone loves to drink. This always ups the entertainment value of the day- as does a karaoke machine. Once we were hosting some strays, as we do every year, a British teacher and her older mother. They were particularly startled by the karaoke machine and grown women belting out “California Girls”, commenting they did not know karaoke was traditional for Thanksgiving. Well, of course it is not, but it should be.
Since the mountain of food we make for the evening is never enough, my aunt kicks us all out of the house on Thanksgiving morning to go to Ihop (International House of Pancakes), an American institution with plastic menus and huge breakfasts. We gorge on pancakes, eggs, sausage and carafes of coffee with no heed for the meal we will eat later. I am always thankful to the staff at these lone restaurants open on Thanksgiving, as most others are closed.
Living here in the UK I don’t miss the USA but I do miss Thanksgiving. There is no English equivalent. I want my children to grow up celebrating Thanksgiving and knowing this ruckus, food filled holiday. Next year I think we will just take the kids out of school to sing karaoke and eat turkey with their family.