Happy Thanksgiving from Down Under!

I stare at the beautiful blue sky with fluffy white clouds, the rolling surf and the nearby seaside cliffs, and I forget that it’s November. I forget that Thanksgiving is a few days away, because it’s not celebrated here. 71(F) degrees, sunny and breezy is a far cry from the 30 to 45 degrees in New Hampshire, and as NH keeps getting colder into December, we will continue to grow warmer here in AU.

I am so happy to be back in Australia, although I will miss seeing my kids over the holidays. But I have celebrated many wonderful Thanksgivings every year for the past 65 years, and now I’m doing things a little different. I am very grateful for my life, my family, my ancestors, and my homes both past and present, but I’m not into throwing parties anymore. I will gladly attend a celebration if invited, but I’m done with hosting.

Thanksgiving is in the Heart Not the Turkey!

I’ve always loved family gatherings, and I still do, but sometimes we need a change of pace. I never enjoyed the Thanksgiving meal very much because turkey and gravy and overcooked vegetables were just not my kind of food. I was a vegetarian or pescatarian for a long time and gluten free as well as having other food allergies, so I’ve always had to make alternative meals for myself during the holidays. But it didn’t matter because the food was never the point to me. Being together with family and friends is what fills my heart at these gatherings.

When I was growing up, we had very large Thanksgiving celebrations. Our family had a very close relationship with another family so each year we would alternate whose house we would celebrate Thanksgiving at. Our two families would work out the menue together and who would bring what, but the turkey was always the responsibility of the home we were celebrating at. Both families could also invite others like extended family members, but the host family could invite as many friends as they wanted. So, we usually had anywhere from 20 to 30 people our Thanksgiving meal and sharing the day’s festivities.

Extra tables and chairs were lined up in our open space living areas, and the food was served buffet style. As we children became teens we could also invite close friends, and after we left home we would often return with college roomates or significant others. As parents grew older and life changed for both families, we carried this tradition in our hearts always. Celebrations may have become smaller and more close-knit, and locations have changed, but friends have always been welcome.

Traditions are wonderful but sometimes a change of pace is too.

At the moment I’m enjoying the tranquility of unrushed hours and the calm space of living alone with fewer demands. Although busy life goes on all around me, and I have plenty of friends and activities to occupy my time, I can also do nothing but stare at the ocean if I choose to. It’s the right place for me at the moment after spending eight months cleaning out my parent’s house and preparing it for sale. Next year I might make different choices.

I am filled with gratitude for all the lovely Thanksgivings of my life, and I wish everyone could be so blessed. But this year I needed a break from tradition, time for reflection, and space to chill with a different perspective. I’m not thinking about turkey at all, but from my heart I’m wishing everyone a very…

HAPPY THANKSGIVING DAY!

9 thoughts on “Happy Thanksgiving from Down Under!

  1. I wanted to congratulate you on making the transition back to your life in Australia. I know it is not an easy one, and probably will not really be over for a long time. I recognize in my own life the need to acknowledge and accept the changes that life leads us to make, often contrary to our hopes or expectations. And I wish you every success in the process!

    Thank you for sharing your 2-family Thanksgiving experiences growing up. That is quite amazing.
    This past Sunday I attended my daughter’s Friendsgiving in Hudson, MA. It was my first time, although this is her 2nd or 3d year doing it. She had 15 people crammed around two tables in her living room, aging from 8- 71. I saw how people greeted her when they came in, big hugs that were familiar. Wow. You mean I’m not the ONLY one who gives her those kind of hugs??!!? I saw how gracious and relaxed she and Alexi were as hosts, and how comfortable everyone was. Everyone brought something, and there was way too much eating, of course. The main takeaway for me was that she is investing in building community and strengthening her relationships with friends and neighbors. Every newly wed couple needs that kind of support. And it’s important that it comes from various sources, not just physical family.

    To conclude, I’m not a very traditional person. I don’t pay much attention anymore to holidays, birthdays, etc. And I’m never attached to celebrating them on the actual prescribed date. What’s important is that we create our own meaningful opportunities to gather and celebrate, and to keep the conversations going long after the holiday is past. Big hug!!!

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    • Thanks Robin, you always understand me, and it makes me feel seen and heard. I’m not very traditional either but I appreciate traditions that are carried out from the heart, like your daughter’s gathering. Big hugs to you too!

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      • Thanks Cheryl! I’m feeling pretty happy right now, sitting at a little cafe, with my computer, downloading new songs I want to learn with the band 🙂 It’s been a difficult few days…we had an election Monday for a new board, and our team lost by a single vote. It’s hard to take. There has been so much foul play ~ forged signatures, uncounted votes, etc etc~ it’s been a long and exhausting battle which we seem far away from winning. When we move forward one step, we fall back 3 or 4. Sometimes I lose the heart to fight. BUT miracles happen, and I’m telling myself that I’m not the one in control here, and that help is coming, and we just have to do what we can and not give up. Turns out there’s a tie and we may have another vote…hmmmmmmm….Interesting!

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