Thursday, 24 November 2011

A Thanksgiving for Brits

I always look forward to Thanksgiving, even if I technically don't celebrate it, being British.  But I love an excuse for a good roast dinner, and I like the simplicity of the holiday's message: be thankful.  Not so keen on the commercialism of Black Friday, but Thanksgiving itself is very nice.

Some years we get invited to share in somebody else's Thanksgiving meal.  Other years, we don't actually do anything but enjoy the day off.  We've tended to view it as a holiday we can opt into or out of as we see fit.

But while we are wholly British, the children are half-American.  They have dual citizenship until they reach eighteen, at which point they will choose whether to be British or American.  We hope they'll want to be British, in the vague expectation that, as a family, we'll be settled back in our homeland at that point.  But we don't really know what lies between now and then.

Among our social circle in the UK, it is not considered terribly cool to have American children.  However, I see no point in pretending that they aren't American nor in being ashamed of that.  Moving to the US has brought our family a lot of luck--it certainly wouldn't exist in this current format if we hadn't!  My husband's job isn't American, he's just at the American base, but we've certainly benefited from the resources available to the American middle class.  In the spirit of the holiday, I appreciate that.

It would be petty to shield the children from American heritage and culture, and that means we should celebrate the American holidays with them (it's a running joke that they're going to be very conflicted on the 4th of July).  Besides, my son is at an age (almost three) where he can see that there is something different about today--plus he attends school, so there's no escaping it there!

I talked briefly to him about being thankful this morning, and we had my brother and his wife around for a roast dinner (we opted for beef and yorkshire pudding instead of turkey).  I'm not sure, in the end, how much he took on board, since he spent most of the day singing "Happy Birthday" to himself.  He knows full well he's got a birthday party coming up, and I think that's what he's really waiting for.

Still, he refused dinner and then threw up all over himself, so he entered into the family holiday spirit, after all.  His sister was fussy because I was cooking and making other people hold her.  Wails, stress, vomit and good company.  I think we can consider ourselves fully indoctrinated.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!  May we all have much to be grateful for.

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