Can you feel it in the air? Your imminent turkey coma, last minute gift buying at a jam-packed mall, and best of all, over-crowded, bustling airports. Yes, my friends, the holidays are here again! It seems like just yesterday we finished the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers with one final turkey sandwich topped with a dollop of cranberry sauce. Yet, here we are again, two days away from an American holiday based entirely around eating. How very American, indeed! In all seriousness, though, Thanksgiving is one of my most favorite holidays for that very reason. Unlike Christmas, Hannukah, Valentine’s Day, or even birthdays, there is no pressure to find the perfect gift or plan something for someone to top the previous year. No, Thanksgiving sticks to the basics. Family, friends, and food. Being Middle Eastern, gathering over meals is a large part of our culture. In fact, my entire family even gets together each Sunday at my grandparents’ home to have dinner. We’ve been doing this for over 30 years (though hard to imagine, they actually had a life even before I was born) and it is something we look forward to each week. Thanksgiving provides us with yet another day to break bread together and count our blessings, this time with members of our extended family.
Because Thanksgiving is a holiday so based around gatherings with family and friends, you can imagine that travel is at an all time high. In fact, according to the Bureau of Transportation, the average Thanksgiving long-distance trip length is 214 miles. This is still less than the average of 261 miles for other trips throughout the year, while Christmas/New Year’s takes the cake with an average of 275 miles. With the influx of travelers, be sure to allow extra time at the airport to make sure you don’t spend Thanksgiving in the food court. Doesn’t quite compare to grandma’s homemade stuffing, huh?
The average age of the Thanksgiving traveler is just under 34 years old, and 99% of these people are traveling within the United States. This seems obvious, considering it is an American holiday, but I am all about starting new traditions. Thanksgiving in Turkey (it’s fitting, right?) for 2012! Who’s with me!?
One of the best parts about Thanksgiving is tradition, both remembering old ones and creating new ones. Some of my friends from my program when I studied in France told me about their American Thanksgiving they tried to recreate with a hot plate and not much else in an attempt to satiate their craving for mashed potatoes and gravy. And this year, rather than the traditional turkey, my family will be switching things up with a pig roast. Should be interesting.. I will report back next week. Just goes to show, no matter where in the world we are or how we choose to celebrate, the sentiment of togetherness stays the same! Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, and don’t be afraid to go for that second (or third, or fourth) piece of pumpkin pie.
Have you ever celebrated Thanksgiving somewhere other than the US? Do you have any unique traditions?