So that whole thing about 'first' thanksgiving isn't really true – I'm not going to write a history lesson about pilgrims, indians and founding fathers; not because it isn't interesting, or because it wouldn't be helpful to 99% of the people reading this but mainly because I don't know and therefore there's a good chance I'd get it wrong!
So here are a few bullet points of what I've learnt today about thanksgiving traditions:
* Nobody buys presents (gifts) but you really need to bring flowers/chocolates/wine/strange turkey shaped candles/copious amounts of food/etc – so in fact a boring book or socks is beginning to sound good.
* There is only one meal, it is planned as lunch, but starts late, and tends to drag on into dinner.
* Everyone tells you not to eat the day before, so you starve yourself; then drink too much wine on an empty stomach while everyone else prepares the meal and you get to talk to the matriarch/patriarch who cross examines you on your European heritage.
* When you finally sit down, the plates aren't big enough to hold all the food and you need a second plate to hold just your first helping.
* Everything is sweet regardless of what course it is: Sweet potato, sweet chestnut, pecan pie, sweet stuffing.
* It tends to be freezing in the evening and you still have to somehow make it back home to the city in a combination of warm car, freezing sidewalks and strangely crowded subway.
But at least you eat well!