Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Thoughts on Thanks Giving

The trees are out, the lights are up, markets are in full swing: Christmas is here in London. Without Thanksgiving to slow down the advance of the Christmas season, it is full steam ahead with the holidays here.

But fortunately, I have a solid crew of Americans in my life over here and we have banded together to bring Thanksgiving to our colleagues and spread the traditions of turkey, pie and bourbon to our British brethren. And while we're bringing the culinary traditions over, I also wanted to think on the purpose of the holiday.

When we talk about Thanksgiving, we think mostly of football, food, family, the Macy's parade. General togetherness. But I discovered that something that isn't as traditional is the actual giving thanks part of the holiday, despite its name. Granted, the first person to say what they're thankful for is basically obligated to say 'I'm thankful for the friends and family here today' and it digresses from there until the last person can say something ridiculous like 'my stretchy pants so I can eat more pie'. But how often do you pause to think about what you're thankful for or what was good about your day?

This year has been a doozy. The ups and downs of the year have been felt far and wide, by Americans and non-Americans. With everything that's going on, this Thanksgiving is especially poignant as a time to pause and reflect.

This is my first Thanksgiving outside of America, my first Thanksgiving without my grandparents to call in Oregon, the first Thanksgiving in my adult life where I have just one dinner instead of one with family, another with friends and another with coworkers.

But it's also my first Thanksgiving with non-Americans, my first Thanksgiving with my adopted family, the first Thanksgiving where I am in a position to teach rather than follow traditions. It's the first Thanksgiving where I'll bring the sweet potato casserole instead of my sister (but based on her recipe...except with marshmallow on top--imported from America--because marshmallows).

I'm grateful for this year of opportunity, for the different cultures I've witnessed and learned about, for understanding and tolerance, for compassionate friends, for heated conversations about the world and equally heated conversations about how to make sweet potato casserole. For being able to explain America, the weird foods like Peeps and the traditions like pie. The things that make us great and the things that we have to work on.

Although we've had our ups and downs, there's a lot to be thankful for so here's a toast to you and yours and whatever makes you smile today.


  1. Well this made me cry a little bit. I'm thankful for YOU, my lovely pair. And pie. But mostly you. But also pie. ❤❤❤❤

    1. Let's make pie next time we're together...pear pie...'cause pair :)