Of course, it's an American national holiday, but the vast majority of people here in Ireland are at least vaguely aware that Thanksgiving Day was celebrated this Thursday. We will also be aware that Friday was a shoppers dream as retailers offered huge discounts on the day known as Black Friday. And after this weekend, we will see the relatively new phenomenon of Cyber Monday. But pushing aside this commercial exploitation for a moment, we speak to our CEO Cori Calvert, a native of San Diego, California, on what Thanksgiving Day means to her, what she is thankful for, and what she gets up to over the holiday period.
”Without exception, Thanksgiving always falls on the fourth Thursday of November. In the US, government offices, businesses and schools close on Thanksgiving Day - with many closing on the Friday after, too, giving employees a four-day weekend,” Cori begins.
The traditional Thanksgiving meal revolves around turkey, stuffing and vegetables. You'll also hear Americans talking about eating yams. Yams are a starchy root vegetable grown in the Caribbean. But usually when Americans talk about yams, they actually mean sweet potatoes. The meal is traditionally rounded off with a pumpkin pie. Playing and watching American football as you eat, is a long-held Thanksgiving tradition. NFL and college have played over the Thanksgiving weekend practically since the game's invention, and it's one of the biggest days in the football calendar; “It is a day rooted in a bit of murky history, but in modern times consists of an elaborate Turkey roast where you give thanks amongst your family and loved ones (and watch a lot of American football on the tele),” Cori continues.
Many big cities hold a Thanksgiving Day parade, the most famous of which is the Macy's parade in New York. The three-hour event features floats, costumes and huge helium balloons in the shape of cartoon characters including Mickey Mouse and Felix the Cat. Cori, however, partakes in slightly smaller congregations of people; “If you are a runner like me then you would start your Thanksgiving morning doing a "Turkey Trot" in your local community where you and your family dress as turkeys and run a 5k ... Americans are weird, I will admit.”
“In honour of my first Thanksgiving away from the US, I am trying to keep a few traditions alive now that I live here in Ireland. I got up in the morning and ran a 5k (albeit not dressed as a turkey or any other seasonal fowl). I then made a list of the things I am thankful for in my life. Typically, during Thanksgiving dinner we'd go around the table and share our list but luckily, I have this little blog space to do my sharing. So, in November 2017, I am thankful for:
- Agriculture – It’s an American tradition that this is always top of the list. I come from a farming background, and can safely say without our farmers none of us would be able to eat each day.
- Glas Éireann Solutions – It’s the thing that occupies my mind 24/7. I am so proud of what we have achieved to date, and so excited about seeing it reach its full potential.
- Family - Here in Ireland as well as back home in America.
- Ireland - You are a beautiful country filled with wonderful, welcoming people. Shout out to the woman at Spar in Tipp Town who very patiently explained to me all my chicken fillet roll options (we don't have them in America)!
- Roundabouts - Every country should have more of these. Especially now that I know what lane I should be in to turn the direction needed. Sorry to anyone on the road with me before I gained that crucial knowledge!
- ACORNS (Accelerating the Creation of Rural Nascent Start-ups) - A wonderful program that has given me an amazing opportunity to meet fellow female entrepreneurs across Ireland.
- My Business Partner, Brian O'Callaghan - We couldn't be two more different people but in business we make a solid team!
- The Limerick and Munster Business Community - Top notch. Nowhere else in the world have I experienced such a tight and welcoming business community. I would encourage any startup looking for a place to start in Ireland or Europe to highly consider Limerick. Not only does it have a high calibre of existing businesses but also an amazing network to get involved from Limerick Chamber of Commerce, to Network Ireland, LEO Women in Business, and Tipperary Green Business Network amongst many others!
- Hurling - Really all GAA sports but hurling especially! Love that game!”
- My partner, Patrick.
For most of us, the idea of Thanksgiving comes from the annual holiday episodes of Friends. You may remember Chandler boycotting the holiday because it reminded him of his parents' divorce and the time when a Macy's parade balloon escaped and the cartoon character Underdog flew away - leading to the gang being locked out of Monica's apartment while the turkey burned? But comedy aside, it is a holiday period which runs deep within the American psyche, and should make us all take stock and wonder – What are we thankful for today?