Living in England almost 6,000 miles away from our family means that we have not celebrated Thanksgiving with our family in three years. I really miss having Thanksgiving dinner with our family in California. It is one of my favourite holidays. Not a religious holiday, a day with family and friends, food, and fun. To me it is totally a family day. We live such a fast paced lifestyle and for me Thanksgiving is a time to slow down, relax and enjoy catching up with each other, having interesting conversations, cooking together, and even playing some family games. Since most shops and businesses are closed, you can enjoy just being together and not feel like you should be doing something else, or that you are missing out on something. I like our family traditions that we started when we first got married – almost 32 years ago.
This year my cousin in Sheffield asked if we would have a proper Thanksgiving dinner at our home and have them over.
This is the first time in three years that we are having a real Thanksgiving dinner at our home in England. I invited an English friend Brian who lived in the USA for thirteen years, so he is familiar with the American culture, and a special neighbour Jean who we have been friends since we moved into the apartment building. She is going to be 90 years old in June!
Including Steve and myself, we are seven family and friends getting together to celebrate Thanksgiving together in England.
I can safely say that I was the only one in the checkout line buying a turkey. They are very popular for Christmas dinners here, but as we approach the end of November, most Brits will wait a few more weeks before rushing out to get their turkeys. I noticed on the packaging that the turkey is French, which added to the international ‘flavour’ of the dinner. I’m not sure if the turkey appreciated it very much.
We had a beautiful spread of food including turkey, stuffing, sweet potato pie with marshmallows of course, cranberry sauce, gravy, green beans, roasted potatoes, salad with Hidden Valley Ranch dressing (brought from the USA), and fresh cheesecake from a special shop here in Lincoln (I do miss my pumpkin pie but this is next best thing). And let’s not forget Steve’s homemade bread, filling the downstairs with the smell of freshly baked bread.
It was a new experience for all of us. Everybody ate a lot – like you do on Thanksgiving. We told stories from our different cultures and most of all enjoyed the time we spent together on one of my favourite holidays of the year.
Maybe next year we can plan to be in California with our family to celebrate Thanksgiving.
Wishing a Happy Thanksgiving to all of our family and friends in the USA and to those living abroad in other parts of the world.
Maxine and Steve celebrating Thanksgiving in Lincoln, England.