Wednesday, November 21, 2012

thanksgiving? what's that?

"why are you flying to oakland?" i asked my sister on skype today.

because i cannot seem to keep it in my head that tomorrow is thanksgiving.  

i've very recently come to realize that the collective acknowledgment and acceptance of, and participation in a holiday is what makes it be.  and i guess what i'm trying to say is, if no one gets a day off work because of it... i will forget it's there.  no, not really.  not all the time.  eighty percent of the time though, yes, and it's not about not being grateful or thankful.  i am these things (also eighty percent of the time).  but, we are not completely without celebration tomorrow, though greg will go to work as usual, and the boys will go to school.  our american neighbors have invited us over for thanksgiving dinner and there will be pumpkin pie.  now that is something to be thankful for!  

and because the danes (obviously) do not celebrate thanksgiving, there is nothing stopping them from getting into the christmas spirit beginning at least two weeks ago.

today though, i saw santa standing in the super best for the first time, next to a sign which reads 'freshly slaughtered christmas geese'... 

but there has been other evidence of christmas in the store for awhile now...

my perception of how christmas is playing out here, is that things happen early...

you buy your freshly slaughtered goose (or duck) over a month in advance... or at least you have the ability to do so.

william and henry both have christmas events coming up in their classrooms.  next week i bring some little cookies called brunkager (brown cakes) to henry's class so they can do a little advent thing... starting... and perhaps, finishing... next week... but i am fuzzy on the timeline beyond that i must bring the brunkager in week 48 and next week is week 48.  then, on december 6th, there's a christmas coffee time in henry's classroom... which i hope i'm translating correctly when i read that parents are invited.  william's classroom performs a christmas concert on december 12th.  do these seem early to you?

and the other day i told greg, 'we should plan to go have a traditional danish 'christmas lunch' at a restaurant in town when your parents are here.'  this is because, back in november, i noticed advertisements all over the newspaper about special christmas lunch deals and make your reservation and maybe, just maybe i'm imagining that's what i saw, because it was november and so i didn't pay much attention to them... and also, once again, it's possible i'm doing some poor translating... but when i went to look for these same advertisements the other day, they were nowhere to be found... as if... these lunches had already occurred?  or everyone knew to reserve their spots a month in advance, and now the tables are all full and the advertisements have been pulled... i really don't know... maybe next year i'll know...

also, they celebrate on the 24th.  so that's a day early right there.

now, off to read... i did no reading today... only writing... but i'm now the equivalent of a day ahead, and i need to stay that way, because there is at least one day next week where i will probably not have a chance to write, and next week is the last week for this crazy task.


nina said...

Do you have a go-to Danish person who serves as your question answerer for all these culturally specific issues? (Here's one: do Danish kids celebrate St Nicholas more than Christmas in terms of gift getting? -- that's a Polish thing.)

I remember when I lived as a kid in NY with my parents: we were not in the States permanently and my parents just could not get into the Thanksgiving celebrations. We went to the movies while everyone else ate turkey. In fact, I don't think my mother ever baked a turkey in her life. When I came here on my own as an adult, it was a no brainer: do as the natives do. Over time, Thanksgiving became one of my favorite holidays.

So, happy Thanksgiving to you, just because, you cannot wake up on this day on this side of the ocean and think something other than Thanksgiving thoughts (unless you're my parents, in the 1960s).

greg|regan said...

We do sort of have go-to Danes we can ask questions to for culturally specific issues... but it's kind of strange, and Greg's noticed this too... that for the factual questions you'd think there'd be a single answer to, you will three different, yet, definitive answers. And to those questions you'd think would have a wide range of answers... you often have a single, unanimous, Danish voice emanating from many people. So, I often never know just exactly, what is what.

Your mom is in CA now, if I remember from a blog post-- does she celebrate Thanksgiving now?

nina said...

No, she does not. She'll go downstairs to eat dinner with her senior friends, so I suppose she makes some effort to do something out of the ordinary. She used to eat with us when the kids were little and she lived (for a few years) in Madison. But if nothing happened on that day, it would be okay by her. She is a no holiday fuss kind of person.