Thanksgiving is one of the busiest days in our home here in the United States. My family is a close one and so every time there are significant celebrations like this, we really make it a point to prepare for it. In fact, one day before the Thanksgiving celebration, the whole family is already occupied with the preparation. This is basically because we need to prepare a lot of food and because we go to the Macy’s parade every time.
Elaborating further on the food preparation, my mother would then marinate the largest turkey she had bought so the only to thing to do the next day is to stuff the turkey. In addition to that, my father, who is also extremely excellent in cooking, prepares the marinade for chicken, which he will stuff inside the duck, which he will eventually place inside the turkey. Since, we usually celebrate Thanksgiving with my uncles and aunties or the brothers and sisters of our parents along with our cousins, we usually prepare a lot of food in our home, which by the way, is the usual venue for traditional celebrations for the whole clan. My big sister prepares the home-made ham, my big brother, on the other hand, is assigned on the Dungeness crab. My little brothers and sisters and I, however, being a little too young to chop whatever ingredients needed, or to handle electric stoves or to cook, are tasked to bring over little things to them, for instance, getting the cranberry sauce from the kitchen, fetching the gravy or stuffing etc.
There are other side dishes served during the big day and these include the following: green bean casserole, bread rolls, buttered peas and carrots, baked macaroni and cheese or lasagna, corn on the cob, as well as, mashed potatoes. For dessert, my mom makes sure to prepare and serve countless pies including apple pie, which is the whole family’s favorite, pecan pies and pumpkin pies as well. A variety of beverages are also served by my parents to cater to everyone’s wants and needs. For us young ones, we are allowed to have soft drinks, grape juice, as well as, apple cider, for my parents, uncles and aunties, as well as, my big brother and sister, on the other hand, they drink wine and cocktails during the main meal and coffee during or just after dessert.
My family is extremely traditional, thus, we also guarantee to make time for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in Manhattan. The whole family loves watching the parade, which starts at 77th & Central West Park to Columbus Circle to Broadway then eventually to 34th and ends at 7th Street (Macy’s.. n.p.). In fact, the young, little ones, including my little brothers and sisters, cousins and nieces would have their eyes fixed on the “floats” of the cartoon characters, as well as, the large balloons that these characters hold on to.
On the other hand, Christmas is also a very busy day for the whole family. The major difference is that we do not spend it in the United States. We go to the Philippines to celebrate it with the family’s close friends or business associates. In the aforementioned country, so many food are prepared as well, the only difference is that, in the Philippines, we are not obliged to help it prepare, they are extremely hospitable people that they treat visitors as “guests” strictly. They make sure that the only thing their guests will do is to enjoy.
Families there are also very traditional as well. They put up Christmas lights all over the house. They set up large Christmas trees and tend to overly decorate it. Just like Christmases in the US, their trees are so full of gifts as well.
For those who are members of the Catholic religion, they go to church at 11pm and attend the Mass which will end at 12midnight. They greet Jesus Christ a happy birthday before leaving.
In their houses, everyone sits at a long table and share all the food that has been prepared. In their Christmas tables, “fiesta ham” is always there, they usually have whole roasted chicken instead of the typical turkey served in the United States. The tables are over flowing with barbecue, fruits, all types of salad, stir fried noodles, spaghetti, etc.
Finally, after eating, gifts will be distributed and opened. Everybody stays up until about lunch time the following morning. They drink, dance, sing, go to neighbors and share the food they have prepared etc.
Macy’s. Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. 2006. n.a. 13 October 2007