Thanksgiving Day is one of America’s most celebrated holidays, and one I look forward to every November. We Americans have an uncanny homing instinct this time of year, when people travel an average distance of over 200 miles over the hills and through the woods to be with family and loved ones. For an ex-pat like me, it can be a day tinged with homesickness. Luckily, the American community in London has a tradition of gathering at St Paul’s Cathedral for the Thanksgiving Day Service.
The US Ambassador to the UK, Matthew Barzun, addressed the congregation and read out the President’s Proclamation. He spoke of the “special relationship” between the United States and the United Kingdom.
Then we all sang America, the Beautiful accompanied by the Combined Choirs of the American Congregations in London and I was flooded with a big dose of the warm-fuzzies.
After church, it was home to roast the turkey and make those last-minute adjustments to the Thanksgiving table before the guests arrived.
For my Thanksgiving table centerpieces this year, I used bouquets of blue thistles, hypericum berries and sprigs of green bell. I love the architectural beauty and the periwinkle grey color of the thistle blooms.
I had some extra sprigs of berries, so I tucked them into the napkins to make the place settings a bit more festive.
With the candles lit and everyone excitedly gathered round the table, it was time to feast!
There have been so many wonderful things happen this year. As dictated by tradition, we went round the table with each person sharing just a few words about what they’re thankful for this Thanksgiving. There were some teary eyes, a few excited whoops, and lots and lots of laughs.
Before we knew it our plates had been cleared, and it was time for dessert. Two American behemoths – a beautiful latticed apple pie made by Maria, and a traditional spiced pumpkin pie I whipped up (with a slightly burnt crust – oops!)
By the end of the meal, we were all feeling the love – and the silliness!
As the Christmas season kicks off, and we will soon be consumed with the worry of what to give (and what we will get), Thanksgiving is an opportune moment to simply appreciate what we already have.
I am so lucky to have such wonderful friends to stand in for family when I can’t be home for the holidays. A wonderful evening, keeping our home traditions alive!