Sustaining the Tradition of Giving Thanks

The last Thursday in November is Thanksgiving day; an American holiday steeped in tradition. While originally representative of the Pilgrims coming to America and sharing a meal with their new Native American friends, over the years it has morphed into an excuse to over-eat and spend the day watching football.  Christina and Cathy’s personal Thanksgiving traditions have evolved over time, but one thing has remained the same. We both appreciate this holiday, officially ushering in the festive season, and use it as a reminder to be grateful for all our blessings every day and not just this one. Read on to see how the celebration has changed for us over the years.IMG_0009Christina Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area with relatives all living close by, I enjoyed the quintessential big family celebration at my Aunt’s home every year. The day was filled with wonderful memories of playing with my cousins, food in abundance, sitting at the “little blue table” (reserved for us kids even long after we grew taller and had trouble squeezing our legs under to fit) and evening games of Charades. Once my children were born and we were living in Phoenix we started creating our own tradition. Both my husband and I, having grown up celebrating in the typical way, decided to start a tradition to celebrate untraditionally. We decided to turn that customary four-day weekend into a week spent enjoying the beaches of Hawaii with our boys. The Luau became our “tradition” for a number of years. But in 2009, when life brought our family to live in Dubai, the celebration evolved once again. While living in the Middle East these past six years, some Thanksgivings have been spent with just the four of us and others have been shared with friends who  have become our family. Every year may bring something different, but each year I am always reminded of how lucky I am to have my family and friends every one of those 365 days.  These bonds will sustain my soul for a lifetime, long after the turkey hangover is a distant memory.

Cathy As an Aussie, Thanksgiving was an unknown concept until I married and moved to the Bahamas. It has since become my sons’ favourite holiday based on the traditional turkey meal, but more so a time to celebrate with close friends. As any expat family appreciates, our friends become our family. We have celebrated on the beach in Dubai, at our home in Portugal and even in the Cotswolds. And finally, for Thanksgiving 2015, our family will be celebrating in the USA complete with the obligatory football game at a nearby park. A friend from Dubai is opening her home to us, our children, and the sons and daughters of Dubai friends who need a “family” over this break. I feel blessed that I will be cocooned by my husband and boys, albeit for 4 short days, and thankful that we are healthy and safe.

ethical muse celebrated the holiday together before Cathy and her husband headed to the U.S. to meet up with their two boys. Putting an untraditional spin on the traditional American cornucopia style centerpiece, opting for one with a more Middle Eastern feel of fresh local dates, dried fruit and nuts, provincial chocolate and nougat, pumpkin-coloured roses and perfumed with regional fresh-dried roses. The evening lived up to all expectations; a wonderful meal, time to relax with the perfect company and to reflect on all that we are truly grateful for…including those seemingly endless bottles of wine. ethical muse Thanksgiving

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