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6 Thanksgivings in China

Popularity 3Viewed 15164 times 2016-11-25 18:10 |Personal category:Shanghai|System category:Life| Thanksgiving, Black Friday, dinner, USA

Yesterday I hosted a group of 12 (mainly Americans) in Shanghai at a Thanksgiving Dinner. I have experienced a few in USA too! 

This was my 6th special dinner on fourth Friday of November in China, all restaurant based. A big difference is that my experiences in USA have been in American friends' homes - it is the traditional way, bringing family and friends together in a cosy warm place - There have even been movies about the struggles to get home to family from other parts of the USA - delayed flights, bad weather - yes many parts of USA are cold, even experiencing snow that time. Some of my students told me they would have had the whole week off if still back on home campus - others would have had a five day weekend starting on Wednesday.

That five day period also includes the holiday on the Friday after Thanksgiving - The famous Black Friday. That is a crazy shopping time which now encroaches on the Thursday Thanksgiving. No sooner has the Turkey been digested than the shops open their doors to bargains later that evening and remain open throughout the night. It is supposed to be an opportunity for bargains but not always a great catch. In the days I observed it first hand in the USA, folks lined up (as a Brit I would have queued up!) to grab limited supplies of half price flat screen TVs and sofas - I guess the sofa is useful for watching the TV? Then others had to settle for buying something at reduced price having got in, but did they really want it? What might disappoint people is that sometimes the same items are then found on sale at cheaper prices after Black Friday!  After all, it kicks off the Xmas or holiday shopping season and more sales are needed to keep stores busy.

The name Black Friday itself originated from the description Philadelphia City Police gave to the congestion and traffic problems faced in the city center on that shopping day decades ago as crowds poured in. The name stuck but retailers have put a positive spin on it - accountants use black to show profits and mark losses in red - Black Friday puts retailers in the black!

Back to those Thanksgiving Dinners in China - I started with an all-you-can eat buffet in Nanjing in a Japanese restaurant - that was not very authentic but it brought a large group together and the key words were "all-you-can-eat"  - American students have big appetites. After that I did three in Beijing that were more authentic but limited servings in American Tex-Mex and American Diners, and last year in Shanghai Spanish style. Last night I returned to the "all-you-can eat" concept in an authentic American style buffet. So pumpkin soup, salad, turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, squash, mashed potatoes, vegetables, pumpkin pie and apple pie. Yummy!

Hard to trump that! Well, we know it is a special time of year for American students abroad and they will be heading home soon. America may have changed a bit in the meantime.

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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Comment Comment (4 comments)

Reply Report SEARU 2016-11-26 11:03
稀客(xi_ke)    I haven't seen you for so long!
Reply Report SEARU 2016-11-26 11:12
I have eaten up all of this blog that is delicious but I am not full!  How about three bowls more soon?
Reply Report voice_cd 2016-11-28 09:19
thanks for sharing here, we have highlighted your blog.
Reply Report Liononthehunt 2016-12-30 19:07
It is a very informative blog about Thanksgivings in the US, rather than in China as its title suggests.  

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International Educator, Economist, goal of helping to increase understanding of China by the West


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