24 November 2010

Ringing In The Holidays

Posted by Happy Homemaker UK

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the US. My kids do not have the day off for the holiday, but I will be in their classrooms to help celebrate this American tradition. 

A few Americans I know will go to the US for the holiday, but most will be enjoying it in their UK home over the weekend or going to the local restaurant that caters to the Americans for this annual meal.

Classroom Thanksgiving Turkey Craft with London Map for Wings

I feel one step closer to the Pilgrims without my pre-made pie crust and other conveniences. And we may be eating chicken instead of turkey due to the size of our teeny weeny oven. The Pilgrims were good at improvising, weren't they? Or was that the explorers?

Anyway, Thanksgiving is possibly my favorite holiday due to its simplicity. No strings attached - just food and family, no gifts or fanfare.

As I reflect on what I am thankful for, the traditional list comes up - good health and friends & family who we cherish near and far. Yet this morning, I surprised myself by being thankful for my massage therapy training ten years ago that quietly transformed my thinking (I was a massage therapist until I had my first kiddo.) 

No. 1: Positive Thinking
One's mind, no matter the message, always wants to prove itself right. No matter what. So if you say 'I'm fat', you will try to make that message correct. If you say 'I'm creative', your mind will try to make that message correct too. Keep self-talk positive, always.

No. 2: Forgive Yourself
So while it may have seemed foolish to have moved that last piece of furniture by myself, which caused my disc to herniate in January, I didn't beat myself up over it.  If I could look into the future, I wouldn't make any mistakes, but not having that superpower and not being perfect, I make mistakes every day. I don't allow guilt to eat at me.

The next holiday is, of course, Christmas. Such a magical time, especially with kids. As I mentioned in a previous post, the Christmas season comes almost a month earlier than I am accustomed to. In the US, the season starts after Thanksgiving (end of November) while in the UK, it is kicked off after Guy Fawkes Day (beginning of November). 

I wasn't sure how I'd feel about having a longer season, but it actually is quite nice to have Thanksgiving in the middle of the Christmas season. I also don't feel as rushed to buy Christmas gifts because I've gained 3 weeks to do so. 

Yesterday a friend and I went to the Cologne Christmas Market in London along the River Thames.

Cologne Market with Big Ben in the Distance

If you are needing some 'cheer' while you are there, you can grab a cup of Jagermeister with Red Bull (Jager-Bombe). It tasted like cough syrup, but we had to give it a try. (Being explorers, not Puritans)

My favorite stall sold handmade Lithuanian houses. Smoke comes out of the chimney from a lit candle inside. I wish I had bought a whole village of them, but I'll have to settle for a photo of one. So adorable, don't you think?

So here is our current 5 day forecast. I think it is so interesting that 'white cloud' is a possibility. I've always smiled at their expression of 'sunny spells' and 'sunny intervals'.

We haven't had any snow yet - I hear the whole city shuts down with even the smallest amount because they don't have the equipment to care for the roads and train tracks. Apparently many cars here do not do well on ice or snow either. Another week of adventure ahead of us, now in the weather department!

Wishing you a very Happy (warm and cozy) Thanksgiving!!! Sending you the love...

XO Laura


Privet and Holly said...

Happy Thanksgiving
and loads of love
from across the sea.
I just love hearing
about all the little
nuances that set our
culture and that of
those in the U.K. a
bit apart. One thing
that is not different
is our love for peace,
joy and gratitude, which
I send to you in
abundance today, Laura!
xx Suzanne

Robynne's Nest said...

Happy Thanksgiving Laura. I know it's tough at times like this to not be home with family and friends. I love your comments re. the weather. I was dismayed last year when the weather girl mentioned 'freezing fog'! It had me worried, us Aussies are not really use to these conditions...but it is fun to rug up in nice coats and boots. Also you can keep your Jager-Bombe to yourself...very bad memories of eldest son's first drunken experience...Have fun and eat lots! Robx

Raine and Sage said...

I like your sentiments that this is your favourite holiday as it's got no strings attached, just family, food and that's really enough. Not to mention a time to be grateful. I like the tradition of Thanksgiving. I used to be a Remedial Massage Therapist and taught it too. Small world. :)
Sounds like a great day to spend with your children at school. Always great to learn about different cultures. Have fun and enjoy all the yummy food!

laura said...

Hi laura, i love everything you said about positive thinking, etc. I totally agree with you there. One great thing about getting older is that we get wiser!! (I will keep telling myself that I am actually wiser!!)
Enjoy your thanksgiving and festivities...
much love, laura c xxx

Bethan said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.
How lovely that you were able to spend some time in the school to share the occasion with your children in their new environment - and to teach the locals a bit about it too.
Hope you enjoyed the Jagermeister. I first sampled it in the States and I think it tastes like cough medicine too!
Keep warm.

Meg and Mum's said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you Laura! I have tagged you in my latest post by the way - check it out :)
Megs x

JoAnn said...

What a beautiful post Laura! You are just a bright and sunny ray of light in our lives over here in England! The market looks like fun...think we'll have to check that out! Looks like you had a beautiful, sunny spell while you were there! :) I WILL BE IN SWIMSUIT SHAPE BY APRIL, I WILL...I WILL! :) We'll see if I can keep that attitude! :) I'll do my best my friend! :) Oh...cookies are done....back to baking for tomorrow's parties! :)

La Vie Quotidienne said...

Happy Thanksgiving!(-: Love the market...such fun.

Make mine Mid-Century said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Laura. I really enjoy your blog ... I'm not American, and I'm not English ... but I get to experience a little bit of both in your musings.

That market looked lovely. I think it's fabulous how you're throwing yourself into your new life in London and how you're always reflecting on its affect on you as an American - and never once have you complained about the differences.

ladyliberty said...

It is so fabulous that you are going to spread the joy of Thanksgiving at your children's school. I was just trying to explain to my husband about making a turkey by tracing your hand and completely confused him. I will have to show him this photo and he will finally understand! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

Young at Heart said...

happy happy thanksgiving....I always loved that holiday too ...... 4 days of feasting and fun with no pressure ...... and have occasionally celebrated it here but without a bunch of Americans it's just not the same.....