This just isn’t my time of year! Even though I’ve lived here in America for nearly 41 years and been married to the same person for all that time, this is still not ‘my’ holiday. You see, I spent our first wedding anniversary (yes, we were married on November 25th because my husband thought it would be wonderful to be married on the same day as his parents - little did I know!) and my first Thanksgiving away from my husband. He had work obligations and since he then worked for an English company they had no concept of what Thanksgiving meant as an American holiday.

My parents were here with us and the three of us went to Key West, also with no idea of what Thanksgiving meant. If I tell you that we had our ‘traditional’ Thanksgiving meal at a Howard Johnson’s restaurant my American readers will understand what the meal was like! If you understand the traditions of an English Christmas for the years when I grew up and before I left England in the early 1970s, this American ‘turkey dinner’ wasn’t anything like ours.

So for many of the last 40 years (this year I was off the hook!) I’ve cooked Thanksgiving dinner and turkey the American way in later November and by Christmas I’m cooking another turkey my way! It is really overwhelming.

The ‘holidays’ in America, from Labor Day (first Monday in September) onwards, are too much - especially when Christmas starts in the shops and with TV advertising in mid-November, or sometimes earlier. Hardly is one ‘holiday’ over and done with and another rears its ugly head, but most especially the materialism of Christmas. I think even Hannukah has become more materialistic. Children used to receive nominal gifts for the eight days of Hannukah but I’m sure that’s increased to keep pace with the excess of Christmas giving.

So for me what was a gentle wind up to Christmas with time to think about and look for little but meaningful (!) things you might buy your family there is the exhaustion of Halloween and the long Thanksgiving weekend (with the unending games of college football!), followed by a very short Christmas Day (only) holiday, after which many Christmas trees are discarded out on the road ready for pickup!

I like my Christmas to start slowly with a few Christmas gatherings (that don’t involve present giving) to get festive and then perhaps during the week before Christmas setting up the tree (it’s been the same small and plastic one most years since our oldest son was a year old and mobile). Perhaps I’d have bought a small real tree if any had been available - nothing under six foot tall seemed available; not forgetting a real tree cost about as much as I’d normally spend on Christmas itself! Today I saw living ‘table top’ Christmas trees for the first time!

This isn’t a festive time of year for me. American Thanksgiving has spoiled my Christmas, just as I guess Christmas spoils Hannukah for many Jewish families.

Just my umpteenth Thanksgiving season rant! I can’t ever be an American!