One of my favorite holidays since living in the U.S. has definitely been Thanksgiving. I love getting together with friends to cook, chat, eat, and just have a great time. We do have Thanksgiving in Germany as well, but it’s not being celebrated the way the Americans do, at least when I was still living there.
When I was a child in elementary school, I remember that our class hosted a play for the parents at a farm in the forest on the actual Thanksgiving Day. The families gathered at the school in the morning before everyone, including teachers, kids, and parents participated in the approximately 20-minute walk towards the forest.
Once we reached the destination, the entertainment part started. I don’t remember many specific details except all of us singing songs together and the kids performing a play for the parents, praising all the great things the earth provided us with. That was pretty much all we did for Thanksgiving.
Coming over here, I really started seeing Thanksgiving more as a holiday and opened up to celebrating it. I mean, I moved all the way over here to get used to a different culture, might as well indulge in the American customs. I have celebrated in Texas a couple years and in California. Sometimes, my friends put together a Friendsgiving a couple days before the actual Thanksgiving Day, so I got to celebrate it twice in one year.
This year will be the first year where I won’t be celebrating on the actual day. Fortunately, my dear friend Katy (name changed due to privacy) put on a wonderful Friendsgiving celebration this past Saturday. It had an interesting twist giving the fact that my friend is vegan. I personally don’t eat meat myself and am pretty open to different diets and loved the various dishes.
Another Thanksgiving “tradition” I had to get used to as well was Black Friday. It is so crazy to me how people are lining up in front of stores for hours just to get a great bargain, when Thanksgiving should actually be all about being thankful for what we have. I love that there are certain stores that advertise the importance of being with family instead of shopping and keep their doors closed.
But however all of you are spending your Thanksgiving, I hope you are having a wonderful time.
Anne-Kathrin Schulte, is a contributor for CaliforniaGermans.com. She writes on her personal experience of the American Dream as well as on working as an au pair in CA. She was born and grew up in Düsseldorf, Germany, where she completed her degree as a state-approved Kindergarten teacher. After her au pair engagement in the US and a quick return to Germany she decided to attend university in California and moved back to the United States. She has been living in Southern California since 2011.
If you would like to contact Anne-Kathrin, please send an email to californiagermans(at)gmail.com and place her name in the subject line.