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Time for a celebration – or two

Dec 14, 2017

Now I have no objection to people having a good time. I even remember once having one myself. But have we now got to the stage where we have so few opportunities for celebration that we have to import them?

Last Thursday was the fourth Thursday in November which, in America, is Thanksgiving Day. Wonderful! It’s a celebration with a real history and is an acknowledgement of a time when some of the original settlers in the New World were genuinely grateful for the success of their harvest and support of their Native American neighbours. Other nations have harvest festivals too, but Thanksgiving Day seems to be a uniquely American event celebrated for the most honourable of reasons. There can be no better reason for Americans to party. But why do we, the British, import it?

For the first time in my life this year I heard British people wishing other Brits a happy Thanksgiving. Do they not understand? Do they have any idea what our American friends are giving thanks for? It’s perfectly understandable for Brits to offer their good wishes on this special day to American friends, but not between neighbours from Acacia Avenue who have never even seen St Johns from 35,000ft let alone have connections across the Atlantic. I just don’t get it. Do Americans celebrate Guy Fawkes night? Do those who set off fireworks on 5 November know why? I have my doubts.

Then there’s Halloween which, I admit, originates from this side of the Atlantic but for the commercialisation of it, I believe, we can thank our American friends. Do we have to do it here too? Can’t we just stick to a toffee apple and a scary bedtime story!

Now, we have Black Friday too. The day after Thanksgiving when Christmas shopping panic (don’t get me started) starts to kick in. I like a bargain but why do we have to choose the same day as America – without the preceding day off? Why does there have to be a day at all?

To calm my nerves, I think I’ll head off to Starbucks: a place where they have ten different kinds of coffee, all a mystery, all carefully crafted by a highly-trained 20-something called a Barista (nothing to do with the law apparently) – but only one way of making tea: badly. I wonder where that idea came from? Merry Christmas.

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