No, I'm not talking about Christmas. Over in the US of A we have the other Turkey Day to get through before Christmas - Thanksgiving. You'd think it would form a sort of barrier against ridiculously early Christmas ads, but alas it doesn't.
It’s a bit weird being an expat in the US at this time of year.
“Are you going anywhere for the holiday weekend?” usually gets a blank stare from me even after almost twenty years here.
“Oh Thanksgiving” (with emphasis on the second syllable, please note). “No, not really”, I reply to looks of disbelief mixed with pity.
When you’re not brought up with Thanksgiving, or anything remotely like it, it’s easy to miss the gravitas that this “holiday” has. Most of the time it completely sneaks up on me and I run around at the last minute, gathering up other expat waifs and strays for a big meal.
For many Americans however, Thanksgiving is more of a family affair than Christmas. Fortunately we have a teeny family here and we’re seeing them at Christmas so the pressure is off. It also helps that my husband travels a lot on business so the last thing he has ever wanted to do was take a flight at THE busiest travel time of the year with three kids in tow. Flight prices are ridiculous, the airports are packed, and of course the weather is usually at its most unco-operative.
Friends of mine are already fretting about how to make peace with the brother-in-law from hell who got drunk and shouted at everyone last year, or the fact that they are guilted into staying in their parents’ house even though there’s no room for all the kids. Happy families indeed!
This year, for some reason, the Ball & Chain is going berserk and doing the entire meal himself, from scratch. I keep popping my head into the kitchen to see if there’s “anything I can do”, but apparently it’s all under control. So far he’s only damaged one small Pyrex bowl when he tried to make caramel and it went a bit hard. He’s made the cornbread and biscuits (more like unsweetened British scones) for the cornbread stuffing (yee-haw), and has identified his chosen method of brining the turkey, which he will pick up on Wednesday. I will probably end up peeling potatoes like Cinderella, but that’s fine by me.
As long as he doesn’t make that bloody awful green bean casserole I’ll be happy.
To read about the sad tale of an American in the UK at Thanksgiving, pop over to Pond Parleys to read Mike's piece.