It's rather wonderful how many people I know in England are starting to celebrate Thanksgiving. Some of us have been to the United States and just loved a Thanksgiving experience. Some of us are half American and have been raised by an American parent determined to hand down the tradition. Some of us are Americans, living long-term overseas. Some of us are married to an American and just trying to figure it all out.
This month I am listing 3 ingredients for a great Thanksgiving, where ever in the world you happen to be this November.
1. It's the people. As you read my book, Parents on the Move! (which is for everyone wanting a great relocation, not just parents), you will see that knowing the level in which you are happiest living in any community enables a great meal-time occasion. I am a Level 4, so that means I am happiest with a multi-cultural table. My American side comes to the forefront on Thanksgiving more than on any other holiday, but still I like to see all nationalities of my family and friends digging into the turkey or the vegetarian option.
2. The food. This year I want to thank Bekah Duncalf of The Wey Community Gospel Choir for introducing me to Longacres Garden shop in Bagshot. It was a bit of a drive from Farnham but easier and a little cheaper than heading up to the lovely and little American store in Holland Park. I will link to both of these places of blessing, but want to focus on the Longacre experience today. Bekah drove me, along with her beautiful baby girl to this mega store of a garden centre. Parking! It's free at Longacres!
If you haven't spent time in an English garden centre, believe me it is a place for the entire family. My husband is a gardener and I can tolerate these places due to the seasonal shopping- and the tea room. But Longacres has a Worth the Drive Level of items for anyone planning Thanksgiving with authentic American food (you get the turkey frozen in your local grocery store- or pay £400 for a fresh turkey!). At Longacres I found the dried onions, the Stove Top Stuffing, among everything I needed for evening s'mores as well as the Ranch Dressing for the starter dips. The list could go on, but plan a visit and have fun. As a Level Four, it made me happy to see aisles of food from various parts of the world.
3. Attitude. Warn people in advance that Thanksgiving is about taking that rare moment when you come to a meal with something of gratitude to share. Give thanks to God unashamedly. No politics. Take time to let each person around the table say one thing for which they are thankful to God for in this past year. Whether nor not your guests bring a food item to share is a matter of negotiation, but whatever you do; encourage the attitude of gratitude. You can get back to solving the world over Christmas.
Now, you might ask "Why isn't location on the list?" While you perhaps know someone with a big dining room, it really doesn't matter. It's the people, the food and the attitude of gratitude to God that makes the day a good day to remember.