I found out (via a total informal poll) that British people do not know what the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is. Nor do they really understand the concept of parades. I put on a recording of Macy’s 2010 extravaganza and watched as my English friends flocked to the screen, mesmerized.
You may wonder why England and the words “bland” and “grey” often get mentioned in the same sentence. It’s not just the weather, it’s their total lack of large inflatable balloons and the desire to put random celebrities on garish vehicles and force them to lip synch. Even as they watched one of my friends said, “I need to move to America. There is so much… color.” (He said it with the ‘u’ inserted, but as I am writing a blog about America I shall use the American spelling.)
America is unique in that it has a holiday dedicated to just being thankful, whereas England has several holidays, all called “Bank.” It’s common sense, as the banks are closed on holidays, but sometimes I wish they would just go a bit nuts and start naming them. I also wish England would have Black Friday, which British people also ask me about, as they don’t have this glorious day either. (They did have Black Friars, which were a religious order that now has several Tube stops and bus stations named after them, but it’s not the same.)
For those non-Americans, Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving, so-called because it is the day stores open early and put on a host of insane sales in order to get their companies “in the black.” You may note, should you read international news, that this day is more famous for the amount of violence one person can inflict on another for a waffle iron. Apparently a woman even pepper sprayed a crowd in order to secure a video game system.
Consumerism at its finest.
When I first moved to England it was about this time, so I went out with this naive hope that England had sales.
Sometimes they go nuts and do 20% off, but in all actuality, it’s amazing how unlikely England is to have sales. I mean, sure, Tesco runs these amazing deals on doughnuts right before they close, but overall you don’t get the madness and the insanity that comes with eating too much food the day before and being locked inside with nothing but a pile of advertisements.
Flee to the shops at 4:00 AM after coping for 6 1/2 hours with distant relatives? Sounds good!
This leads me to my final point, which is that England also needs a holiday dedicated to food. There is nothing quite like overcooking for several dozen people and then sending them home, fat, happy, and laden with leftovers. They only have Christmas, which also comes with gift pressure. There isn’t really pressure on Thanksgiving, unless you are cooking the turkey. There is always turkey pressure, but it’s nothing in comparison to finding that perfect gift. If I had to rank trying to find a gift over cooking a turkey at least I had control of the turkey.
So, in sum, Happy Thanksgiving. May you find the perfect gift this holiday season, and, if not, may you instead cook a wonderful turkey.