We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in South Africa – for obvious reasons, but I always loved the idea. Coming together as groups of people and affirming your country is a powerful reminder to put away political argument for a moment and just be together. With all the strife and turmoil that is happening across Africa, in the middle-east and various parts of Europe: where austerity measures are causing dissonance, it seems timely to remember that as humans we share a goal – which is to survive and progress. It’s time to put aside our differences and break bread together: family, friends and food.
During the three years that I lived in Manhattan, I spent Thanksgiving variously in a hotel dining room in the Bahamas, in front of my TV, and with casual aquaintances, who couldn’t bear that I was going to be alone over this most important of holidays. The resultant glimpse I got into other people’s lives showed that sofafamily are not alone in having drama on high days and holidays. So, as I left the family do, I promised my mortified hostess I would never reveal anything I had heard that day. (L, I never have.)
One other thing that really stuck in my mind about that day is how beautifully she had decorated both her apartment and her table. Americans really do that better than anyone else – they have a natural affinity with celebration. And, that evening, as I wandered home up Fifth Avenue, I passed window after window of such warmth and beauty it actually bought tears to my eyes (well that’s my excuse). American retailers really know how to do display – I want to continue that tradition here. My niece has made me promise she can decorate our Christmas table … and I can’t wait to show her these pictures for inspiration. I love how the objects seem found and not to have cost a fortune. Of course, Hannah may well have her own ideas.
So, to my American friends, and especially camparigirl, who is heading off to Palm Springs for the celebrations – thank you for the inspiration – and happy holidays.