Thanksgiving is one week from today — in the US. Austria doesn’t have Thanksgiving, so far as I know, and it certainly doesn’t have it next week. Next Thursday is just a normal day here.
The most important thing to me about Thanksgiving has always been getting together with my family. The food is good, and football is always fun, but the real reason to celebrate is that everyone is off of work and able to be together. This year, we won’t be there.
So, if Austria doesn’t mark Thanksgiving, and the reason we care about Thanksgiving is entirely on the other side of the Atlantic, what does that mean for us? We’ve debated. We were going to take a long weekend and travel away from Vienna — go and see another part of Austria, maybe Salzburg, maybe the mountains. I thought it would be a good chance to take advantage of it being a festive time for us, but without any additional “holiday” charges at the hotels, and without having to worry about what would be open or not. Good idea, but I didn’t get it together to actually make any plans.
Our next plan was to do nothing — just have Dan go to work as usual, have B go to school as usual, maybe do dinner out somewhere on Thursday, but otherwise, not really do anything and save our vacation time for another time (maybe when I actually *did* get it together to plan an excursion).
But that didn’t really feel right. The thought of basically ignoring Thanksgiving, although it made some logical sense, was just a bummer. So, we’re going with “plan C”. Dan’s going to take Thursday and Friday off, and we’re going to do some fun things around Vienna as a family — go to dinner (we’ll look for turkey, but everyone is serving goose here now, and that’s probably close enough), explore some Christmas markets, try and sleep in, maybe go to the zoo, and see if we can find some Christmas movies, or maybe even the Macy’s parade, on TV or online. And we’re definitely going to try to Skype our family at home so that we can be a part of Thanksgiving there, too.
It’s certainly not our usual Thanksgiving itinerary, but I’m looking forward to it. I think it’ll be fun, festive and relaxing, which sounds perfect.
It’s also going to give us a little taste of what Christmas will be like. Of course, Christmas is enthusiastically celebrated here, so it won’t be a “non-event”. But, it’s going to be really strange to be away from home, and away from our family’s celebration, for Christmas. I’m really glad we’ve decided not to ignore Thanksgiving — it’s a chance for us to take what’s familiar from home and tweak it to fit our current surroundings. At Christmas, in particular, it’s going to be so important for us to do that — to mix the familiar and the new — so I’m glad we’re going to practice a little.