My first official Thanksgiving here in the USA has come and gone. In the lead up, I wasn’t sure how to feel about it. Hailing from Australia, Thanksgiving is totally new for me. I made sure I learnt a bit about why Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, as it’s important to me to understand why we do things. I also very much miss the Australian public holidays and different days we celebrate, but I wanted to make every effort to enjoy Thanksgiving.
The planning began weeks prior. My daughter and son-in-law were coming down from Oklahoma, and as it was to be my first Thanksgiving (my daughter’s second), it needed to be done properly. My husband loves Thanksgiving, so he largely set the menu, and the only thing we really balked at was turkey. Turkey is eaten in Australia but it’s not widely popular. Some Australians have turkey at Christmas, but growing up, I rarely ate it. I also have never cooked it. I did ask my husband if he could choose something else as he’d be the only one eating turkey, and it seemed so wasteful. He agreed, and chose Swedish Meatballs, which may sound bizarre, but he loves them. They are cooked in a creamy sauce which is similar to a white gravy, and as I don’t have any lingonberry jam, I serve them with cranberry sauce. We had the meatballs with mashed potato, green beans with bacon, steamed asparagus, a brown-sugar-glazed baked ham, and eggnog. That was followed up with mini pecan pies. As is the way, there was a lot of food leftover, and it’s perfect for lunches.
I even decorated the table, which is something I normally don’t do. I figured that if we were going to the effort of making Thanksgiving a real celebration, then the table needed to be decorated. Miniature pumpkins and matching napkins, with pretty Pioneer Woman glasses, all done as minimally as possible. It added a nice feel and it gave the meal a special touch. After the meal we played Scrabble (which is my happy place), and enjoyed each other’s company. It was such a pleasant and relaxing time.
While the food was really lovely, we made sure to remember what we were celebrating. We went around the table sharing the things that we are thankful for. We found it hard to narrow it down as there really is so much to be grateful for. We live in strange times. Political uncertainty, a world deeply divided, and for many, the fear of covid and the variants, but regardless, there is much that is good. For me, Thanksgiving is a time to remember what is good, and what brings joy, and to look forward with hope.