Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving Blues


So, this year’s Thanksgiving is going to be depressingly low-key. 
I say ‘depressingly’ because, in a country where Thanksgiving is just any other day, it’s difficult to be anything but low-key.


Truth is, I didn’t realize until now how much working in the French school system kept my American-holiday spirit alive every year. Explaining the history and traditions behind Halloween and Thanksgiving to hundreds of kids made me feel kind of like an Autumn Holiday Fairy, spreading the before-Christmas cheer wherever I went.  


My colleagues and students always enjoyed learning about Thanksgiving, more than any other holiday. Because it was so different from anything they have here. Their eyes would go wide when I told them we had a whole day dedicated to being thankful for what we have. (Not something that comes easily to the French:) Then we’d go around the room and offer up examples of things we were thankful for. We’d watch the Mayflower Voyagers as a class (I have a copy in French), and I’d show them the Macy’s Day Parade book with fold-out posters of the balloons over New York City. They’d ‘ooh and aah’ over the never-seen before pictures of spider man and snoopy floating amidst the sky scrapers and ask me if they’re ‘really that big?’  

They’d listen with mouths agape as I told them what’s involved in our annual feast, raising their hands whenever they thought something sounded ‘good’ or ‘gross’.  The little ones would make colourful hand-turkeys and the older kids would come to class later that week with stories about trying to make their first pumpkin pie with the recipe I handed out.

I feel like, in my own little way, I made the holiday real, not just for them, but for me, too. And being out of work this year, I’ve missed the build-up and excitement that comes from sharing Thanksgiving with people who know nothing about it. It was a really great feeling, and I hope to be able to do it again someday.

Until then, I’m thankful to be sharing the holiday with my own little family and for the little things. There may not be cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie filling at the grocery store, but there’s also no mad rush of people looking to buy last-minute ingredients, crowded parking lots or lines, or panic attacks over finding a turkey in time. So, I guess sometimes low-key isn’t so bad:)

I hope all of you back in the states have a wonderful holiday! 

18 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Make the day special for you and your family anyway. As you said, at least there are no shopping crowds!

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Enjoy your Thanksgiving with your family, even if it is low key. I admit it's never been my favorite holiday, partly because it comes right after report cards and parent/teacher conferences -- which leave me physically drained -- and partly because I just don't like turkey.

But this year my husband is making lasagne bolognese and poached halibut. :D

Stina Lindenblatt said...

The craziness you described doesn't describe us here during Canadian Thanksgiving. Or maybe I'm just too organized to leave it to the last second. No, our issue is always getting the turkey defrosted in time. But at least dinner is now ready at 6 pm. When my hubby and I first started cooking turkey's. We were lucky (and thankful) if it was ready by 10 pm. :)

Enjoy your low-key Thanksgiving, Katie.

jaybird said...

If you keep the tradition of being thankful alive, between you and your girls and The Hubs, that's all that matters! Hope you have a wonderful (low-key) Thanksgiving.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Enjoy the holiday with your family Katie. Interesting to hear how different it is in France.

Angela Brown said...

Low key is cool. May not have the pomp and circumstance leading up to the actual day of celebration, but it's meaning and purpose are etched in your heart and mind. May your holiday with your family be joyous and filled with Thanksgiving love :-)

TC Avey said...

This year is bitter sweet for me and my family. It's the first Thanksgiving without either "Papa" as God has called them all home.
But we are still Thankful for God is Good! His Love endures forever.

Happy Thanksgiving. May you be filled with joy and peace. God bless you and your family.

Kathryn Rose said...

As a Canadian living in the States, I know exactly how you feel when your own holiday comes and goes and it feels like no one else has any idea. I'm happy to hear you still celebrate Thanksgiving in France! It's such a great holiday. :)

Johanna Garth said...

Sounds like you'll still figure out a way to make the day memorable for your family.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

It's hard to imagine living in a place where they don't have any concept of one's holiday traditions. I hope you find a little Thanksgiving joy tomorrow with your family.

Suzanne Furness said...

I hope you have a lovely time with your family, I'm sure you will make it memorable.

D.G. Hudson said...

But you get real baguettes!

I think that's great that you share some of the traditions with the students and your colleagues. But this year, you're getting a break. Enjoy it.

Go have a nutello crepe.

Susanne Drazic said...

Hi, Katie! Sometimes low key can be a good thing. Enjoy Thanksgiving with your family.

Gina Gao said...

Have a great Thanksgiving with your family.

www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

Paul Anthony Shortt said...

Happy Thanksgiving! I wish we had a holiday like this in Ireland. The closest we have is getting drunk in honour of a Welsh priest who got rid of all the snakes. And it's not like we need an excuse to get drunk. ;-)

I do know a few people here who have started having Thanksgiving dinners anyway. Some have friends or loved ones who are from America, others just love the sentiment.

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Lexa Cain said...

What a great story! I'm so pleased you shared your happy memories with us. :-)

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