This past week was my 8th Thanksgiving in France. While the first few years I tried to participate in or host a big meal with friends and/or family, the past few years I’ve gone to the restaurant dinner organized by the Lorraine Etats-Unis group I belong to. It’s very French (three separate courses, small portions, not a cranberry or pie in sight), but it’s in a beautiful building, it means no cooking or cleanup for me, and I get to see my friends from the group.
This year I assumed it’d be the same, but because there was the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Metz during World War II, there was a group of veterans in town (and their wives, children, grandchildren, etc.) So the traditional dinner was in an even bigger, fancier restaurant, with enough space for everyone. I was sitting next to a 90-year-old veteran, and we talked about all sorts of things. Mostly about cranberries, but there were a few war stories too. It was such a special evening, celebrating Thanksgiving while also thanking these men for what they did all those years ago. They all looked so much younger than 90, so while they all laughed nervously when there was talk of the 75th anniversary, I feel like they’ll all be back in five years for sure.
Me and my husband had a little mini-feast on Thursday, with stuffing, which we’ve done the past few years as well. His grandmother’s birthday is at the end of November, and this year his mom hosted it. What I expected to be a small lunch was actually a huge family gathering with all the cousins and uncles, etc, and bébé got to meet a few cousins he hadn’t seen yet. It all felt very Thanksgiving-y, sitting at a long table with family, talking over each other, telling jokes, little kids yelling and running around. It even started in the early afternoon, and continued into the evening, like the Thanksgivings I had in the states.
I was actually kind of sad thinking about bébé’s first Thanksgiving and how it would just be another Thursday. However, he’s still so little, I know he won’t remember his “first” Thanksgiving (or Christmas) anyway. I was thinking that next year, I want to start doing the dinner myself, so bébé can have a tradition similar to what I grew up with. But I managed to celebrate it three different ways this year, so maybe we’ll just make our Thanksgiving in France tradition to celebrate it as many times as possible during the last week of November!