Pumpkin Spice – Apple ciders – Crisp fresh air – Vibrant colours – Autumn is here!
My one year Au Pair anniversary is fast approaching which means I have celebrated and experienced a number of the American holidays and traditions to date. With Thanksgiving next on the US calendar.
As the country prepares to celebrate one of their biggest holidays, I am feeling excited with the growing holiday atmosphere, vibrant colours of Autumn and having the opportunity to spend the day with my host family, eating good food.
In this post I will talk about my experience of the holiday and how Raleigh is getting ready for their celebrations. But first, here is some background on the meaning of Thanksgiving, courtesy of my Raleigh born and raised friend.
Thanksgiving is a long standing holiday in the US that we, as children, learn about from a young age. It becomes the biggest reason to get excited about the month of November. When you’re young, you are taught about the pilgrims and Native Americans sharing a meal together and fostering peace. As an adult, you can make it more about football, eating too much, and napping after dinner. At its core however, its the one time of year to stop, reflect and appreciate all the wonderful things you have in your life. You simply give thanks for the people around you, the food on your table and the opportunities you are fortunate to have
Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. Which then leads to the ‘Black Friday’ sales. We are all familiar with this famous annual sale, even in Ireland ! It goes without saying that the sales are popular amongst the bargain hunters and it usually marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping. My favourite time of year 😀 !
Right now, Christmas is not the main priority, Thanksgiving is. However, there is a glimpse of Christmas spirit here in Raleigh. Alot of people in passing have asked me “What are ya’ll plans for the holidays?” and I automatically tell them my Christmas plans and then soon after I realize they are asking about my Thanksgiving plans. In Ireland we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, so our next major holiday after Halloween is Christmas!
With the holiday fast approaching, the children are excited, getting ready for a few days off school, the stores / public areas have different operating hours and during the previous weekend, the city Christmas parade and Christmas lights switch on took place.
On Thanksgiving day, my host family participate in a local run , called the ”Turkey Trot”, and this year I will be joining them for the 8k at 8am before the feast preparations begin. We will have earned our dinner and the treats that follow. Also, it’ll be a nice start to our day :-).
Relatives will come into town and we will gather around the table to enjoy our feast, whilst being thankful and appreciative of all fortune we have in our lives. My youngest HK has told me that his favourite things about the holiday are “spending time with my family, eating stuffing and being off school. Being off school is pretty cool”
What I am enjoying most about the Thanksgiving holiday, is the gap between Halloween and Christmas. Instead of jumping straight from Halloween to Christmas, the beauty of Autumn is appreciated. I can completely understand why Teresa misses the American Fall. The scenery is stunning and the gradual change in weather offers fresh mornings with milder days.
As I write this post, I am reflecting on my experience to date, thankful for all the opportunities and being able to celebrate the holiday this Thursday with my host family.
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