So as you probably know by now, Thanksgiving is my favourite holiday.
For me, it’s a holiday that cuts across everything that can divide us- religion, region, race, nationality- and all the other thousand things that people find to fight about and wage wars over. At the heart of Thanksgiving is food, friends, family, abundance, and gratitude. It is about being thankful for those around you and for the previous year, sharing whatever meal you can cobble together, and being surrounded by those you care about.
It’s probably the one day a year that I miss home the most- and also the least celebrated of all the American holidays here. Yes, you can find Thanksgiving meals (mostly at American-esque restaurants) but overall, Thanksgiving goes unnoticed here. I’ve noticed over the past 13 years that Halloween has become super popular- there were houses in our neighbourhood decorated this year- with jack-o-lanterns and spider webs…. We didn’t get any trick or treaters but there were a few hanging around the neighbourhood. Even 4th of July has the occasional firework or two in Darling Harbour—ok actually there are always fireworks in Darling Harbour so I’m not sure if they’re specifically for the 4th of July but it adds to the festivities. Super Bowl Monday morning- yup becoming a thing here.
**I know you’re confused by this, but due to the time difference the Super Bowl is shown live across Australia on a Monday morning…. And people go to pubs to watch during their “lunch” break. I say “lunch” because I swear some people disappear at 10am and come back when the game is done at 2pm.
But Thanksgiving? Nope. Nada. Zilch. Not interested. Aussies are too busy celebrating Christmas starting in September to even bat an eyelid at Thanksgiving. And sadly, I’m not joking about Christmas in September, I swear major shopping centres have already had decorations up for over a month. It’s not right. It’s very awkward.
Australians have missed the memo that there is an entire holiday devoted to hanging out with mates and being a glutton. You’d think that every country would be on board with a holiday like this. On paper (and in reality) it’s a genius idea. “Hey everyone, let’s convince one person in the family to cook a lot of food, and let’s go to their house every year and spend 6 hours eating.” Where is the downside to this plan? I don’t see one!
So, I’ve made it a bit of a personal mission. I’m bringing Thanksgiving to Australia. For nearly all of the last 8 years- I, and now we, have done Thanksgiving. And not a small, contained, quiet family affair but a big Thanksgiving BBQ event. I think one year we had 60 people, this year…. Well, we’ll see. But the excitement of planning the BBQ takes the edge off the homesickness for me- and it gets me excited. It’s like a little project for me… one of many little projects we’re working on at the moment. There’s a menu to plan, a house to clean, and lots of food prep to do. And I love it!
This year, we’re doing it a week later- due to a triathlon, of course. So it’s going to be a late Thanksgiving/early Christmas BBQ on December 6th. Stop by if you’re in Randwick. There will be plenty of food and hopefully plenty of friends…..Oh, and in 20 years when Australia starts celebrating Thanksgiving as a public holiday, you can thank me. But no, you don’t have to rename it Stephsgiving, Thanksgiving works just fine.