I didn’t grow up eating Thanksgiving Dinner. I was born in the United Kingdom, so it makes sense that traditions in England would be different to America. There is no Thanksgiving Day in England. No turkey or stuffing or pumpkin pie for me. It’s an entirely American tradition.
What is odd is that for most of my elementary school years, my family lived in the United States…New Jersey to be precise. Yet in all the years we lived in the U.S., I have only one recollection of celebrating Thanksgiving. My family joined a couple of English families at a resort for a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner. I have no recollection of what we ate, but vividly remember ice skating after dinner. Must be hard to move to a new country and have to adapt to a whole set of traditions.
For my middle and high school years, we lived in the United Kingdom…Manchester to be precise. We immersed ourselves back in to all the British traditions…Guy Fawkes Night…bank holidays…Boxing Day. We didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving or even dress up for Halloween.
Fast forward a few years to college and I gradually adopted one American tradition after another. You see I didn’t attend college in England. Instead I graduated from a college in liberal arts college in Pennsylvania. All my friends talked about were their holiday traditions.
My first Thanksgiving in freshman year I visited an English family living in New Jersey. Ironically this was the family I had eaten T-Day dinner with at the resort so many years before. In fact that Thanksgiving break, I had two T-Day dinners…the first was at the Jewish day school where my host worked, and the second was at my host’s home. It was fun to completely immerse myself in a very American holiday.
These days I am more American than English. Not just I because I became a naturalized U.S. citizen in the early 90s, but more because I have lived more of my life in the U.S. than in the U.K. I’m far more American than English at this point.
Even though I’m an American when it comes to traditions I defer to my husband on traditions, like Thanksgiving. His 40-plus years of celebrating Thanksgiving is a far cry from my measly 20-plus years. He loves all things Thanksgiving, possibly even more than Christmas, Easter, and Halloween rolled in to one.
The one concession my husband makes to the holiday is that we split the day. Even though my parents are not American by birth, they now celebrate Thanksgiving, largely because of wanting to celebrate with grandchildren. As long as my husband can have lunch at his parents and catch a ball game, he is a happy camper.
We eat two dinners on Thanksgiving Day. It’s a marathon not a sprint. We need to pace ourselves. The trick is not to overeat at either meal. Eat enough to feel full, but push the plate away…definitely push the plate away.
We start with lunch at his parents after we watch the parade. His parents do all the traditional stuff…turkey, delicious stuffing biscuits (I need to have @DadKnowsBetter post about his dad’s recipe on his blog…the biscuits are that good), sweet potato casserole…some years with marshmallows and some years without, Watergate salad, and of course pumpkin pie with Cool Whip.
After thoroughly stuffing ourselves it is off to Dinner #2 at my parents. The grandparents for dinner either order dinner from the from the Honeybaked Ham Company or they cook from scratch. Either way, it is fun to celebrate with my family.
I’m a little embarrassed to reveal that I have never cooked a Thanksgiving Dinner.
In honor of the holidays and seizing family time, I am giving away a Hickory Farms Party Planner Gift Box. It was delish…we enjoyed munching on the different cheeses and sausages in the gift box. Enter here!