I'm an American who's married to an Italian and has been living in Italy for the past seven years.
Back in the US, my family has celebrated Thanksgiving the same way every year.
I keep my family's traditions alive by celebrating the holiday with my husband and my daughter.
For as long as I can remember, my family has celebrated Thanksgiving the same way every year.
As a child, I would wake up early to the smell of freshly baked goods from our local pastry shop; we always ordered them in advance, and my dad would go pick them up. We'd gather on the sofa with our sweet treats and a hot cup of coffee (or hot chocolate) and switch on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
After watching the parade, my mom and I would get down to business and start preparing for the feast ahead.
Every year we looked forward to hosting family and friends around the table and giving thanks for what we had. My parents made sure that, growing up, Thanksgiving was perfect for all of us.
Even in Italy I celebrate Thanksgiving
I've been living in Italy for seven years now, and not a year has gone by that we haven't celebrated Thanksgiving. Yes, I live in Italy with my Italian husband and Italian-born daughter, but why would I ever give up celebrating this beloved holiday?
While Thanksgiving is an American holiday, people all over the world have reason to give thanks. I love keeping up our family traditions — it's important to me to re-create the beautiful memories we shared every Thanksgiving.
Plus, even though I've been in Italy for quite some time, I'm still an American at heart with American ways. I want my daughter to know where I came from and give thanks for all we have to be thankful for. I want the day to feel special for my daughter, just as it did for me as a child.
By sharing Thanksgiving with my husband and my daughter, I'm keeping our family tradition alive and well.
I've introduced Italian friends to new recipes and traditions
I've celebrated Thanksgiving in Italy every year since I got here — that includes before my husband and daughter came along.
I invited Italian neighbors over to share the day with us, introducing them to our American customs, traditions, and recipes. It was a way to show thanks to so many who had welcomed me to my new country.
This year I'm especially excited about celebrating Thanksgiving in Italy. My mom and I will host the feast, which will be our first time celebrating since the pandemic with friends around the table. We'll be hosting friends from Australia and Belgium, some of whom have never celebrated Thanksgiving.
The anticipation of the holiday makes me happy
I believe that with holiday traditions, part of the fun comes from the routine. I decorate the house, blast Christmas music, have fun creating a perfect menu, shop for ingredients and cook for days. I get excited just about the anticipation of Thanksgiving and all the joy it brings to me and those around me.
I will cook an over-the-top feast complete with roast turkey, stuffing, creamed spinach, green-bean casserole, and pie after pie. Certain ingredients — such as the much-needed marshmallows for sweet-potato pie — aren't always easy to come by in Italy, but I've found ways to make substitutions or even have them shipped.
The house will be filled with the aroma of freshly baked cornbread and with laughter and happiness. My daughter will run around with her friends while my family and I will chat in the kitchen with our friends while I prepare dinner. We'll gather at the table to eat, drink, and give thanks (no Thanksgiving dinner is complete without going around the table and each sharing what you're thankful for).
It doesn't matter where I live: The heart of the holiday remains the same for me.
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