On the Holiday Season and Being Grateful in Times of Trouble

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The holiday season is upon us. With so much angst in the world (i.e., politics and the coronavirus running amok), it helps to get a little perspective. So, let’s focus on the good there is in the world and do our own part to spread joy, peace and love this holiday season. 

Every year, for 17 years, we’ve celebrated Thanksgiving in the UK surrounded by 22 of our English friends for a gigantic feast, fun and charades. But our holiday season will be different this year. This year, we are back in quarantine for the month of November due to the rapid increase in coronavirus cases, which puts a kibosh on our fine annual tradition. This means we’ll be having a very quiet Thanksgiving dinner without a single guest. This is, to say the least, very disappointing.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year and the one non-commercial US holiday left. Since they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in the UK and have no expectations, I’ve tweaked the US holiday to adapt it to the UK and make it even more fun. Pumpkin pie is a love or hate it dessert here (they don’t like the idea of mixing sweet with savory). So, I always make apple pie as a backup. Most English people choose apple pie served with thick English clotted cream and sprinkled with finely chopped crystallized ginger on top – a delicious twist! And instead of watching football after dinner, as my father would, we play charades until midnight with prizes for the funniest. And, as the English love getting dressed in costume (they call it “fancy dress”), we select a costume theme each year. This brings a hilarity to the event (aided by a fair bit of Prosecco). The kids have a sleepover with friends and eat before the craziness begins. I know, a radical change from the US family dinner! We use our leftover dinner the next day at lunchtime with the kids.

This year, without our friends’ company, we’ll have a traditional American Thanksgiving dinner for the four of us. We always have pumpkin pie for breakfast (great served with a cup of coffee). We’ll have turkey and mashed potatoes for dinner. After dinner, we’ll play some games and take a walk on the beach. I’m grateful that we are alive and well. I am thankful that we have plenty of food on the table. And I am grateful that we have friends and family we love, even if we can’t physically share the feast. We will donate the money we are saving on our annual feast to charity to do our small part in making the world a better place. 

I’ve taken the liberty of excerpting from Seth Godin’s Thanksgiving Day Reader, which is a lovely collection of poems and prayers designed to be read at Thanksgiving Dinner. You might enjoy selecting your own favorites to read at your own Thanksgiving dinner. I’m asking my girls to each pick something they would like to read out loud. Of course, there are many beautiful poems in the world. So, pick your own personal favorites and make your own Thanksgiving day reader.

Wishing you and your family health and happiness!



Thanksgiving Day prayer
















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