Thanksgiving tradition of immigrants

My very first Thanksgiving

I am sure that all of my America born fans have their family Thanksgiving traditions. Have you ever wondered what Thanksgiving would be for someone who did not grow up in this country? Is it just a day off? Certainly not.

The first Thanksgiving set the tradition

My very first Thanksgiving was in 1993 in Boulder, Colorado. My husband and I were visiting the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the NOAA labs in Boulder, Colorado after an ozone conference in La Joella, California. I had given a presentation at NCAR the day before, and we planned to meet with colleagues at NOAA on Friday.

Euro chic Thanksgiving outfit in midlife
Cashmere sweater with Tucker brocade skirt, silk scarf, knee-high boots, Kieselstein Cord belt and belt buckle and Chanel chain bag (all own)

The weather was lousy – a rare event in Boulder in my opinion. Nevertheless, we decided that we would go out for dinner, and not order in. The plan was to get a recommendation for a restaurant nearby at the hotel’s reception. When we went down we passed the dinning room and a great smell was in the air. A young lady, probably a music student, was playing the piano and another young woman played a harp. Thus, we decided to take our dinner there. It was delicious, the music was breath taking, real nice dinner music.

In 2001, we immigrated to Alaska. When Thanksgiving was approaching, we remembered that nice evening in Boulder and decided to go out for dinner to have the Thanksgiving food. The sweet potatoes, the green beans, the pecan pie, the mashed potatoes, the salad with fresh cranberries, for my husband turkey and for me corn pudding, and other good stuff.

mature woman in Thanksgiving outfit with brocade skirt
Side view of Tucker brocade skirt with GNW sweater, tall boots, and silk scarf (all own) look to show the pockets of the skirt

Invited Thanksgivings dinners go with the traditions of the host except for potlucks

Except for two years, we always did this. The reason not to stick to our tradition in those years was that we were invited to a Thanksgiving dinner. One was a potluck and I did the turkey, but in the Rheinland tradition. This means the turkey is filled with a mix of hashed pork, raisins, nuts, as well as apples, mushrooms and onions cut into 2/8 of an inch pieces. This mix is spiced up with black pepper, salt, and hold together with eggs and bread crumbs. My friends thought that that was funny as it was in first the year of me being an American. The other time we were invited to Greek friends, but they had to fly out last minute due to a family emergency. Since a day before Thanksgiving, it is impossible to get a reservation in Fairbanks, I cooked the Thanksgiving dinner. It was delicious, but we missed our tradition to go out for Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving outerwear with Alaska traditional Kuspak style parka
Thanksgiving outerwear with Alaska traditional Kuspak style inspired self-sewn parka with the hood worn up

Thanksgiving with brocade skirt

The photos above and below show my outfit for this year’s Thanksgiving. I wore a brocade gold and navy Tucker skirt, a navy cashmere sweater over a long sleeve T-shirt, I completed the outfit with navy blue tights, black knee-high boots, a shiny necklace and a European silk scarf, a birthday gift from my husband years ago. Since Thanksgiving is special, I took my beige Chanel bag along.

midlife woman in posh chic traditional Kuspak for Thanksgiving
Side view of DIY kuska parka with hood worn down


What I wore

For the transit to the restaurant, I wore my Alaska style hunter green velvet parka. We decide to drive instead of walking and just crossing the frozen river. It had snowed yesterday and we would have had to wear suitable boots for taking that shortcut. Such snow boots would have broken our Thanksgiving outfits. It is our tradition also to be dressed up. Remember, the first ever Thanksgiving was on a business trip where we were dressed up for business.

Happy Thanksgiving

What’s your Thanksgiving tradition?

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Photos: G. Kramm

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