A Kiwi Thanksgiving

What do you do when you live in a country that doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving, and doesn’t have turkeys, cranberries, and all other “Thankgsiving-ish” foods available in late November?  You improvise.

Yesterday, T and I had our second annual “Kiwi Thanksgiving”, which consists of Chinese takeaway and homemade desserts.  Why Chinese takeaway?  Because I was so over trying to make things from home in a place that doesn’t have things from home, that I just gave up.  Chinese it was, and it was delicious.  It all started with the dessert, you see.

Last year, I made gingerbread pumpkin trifle.  It’s a thirty minute recipe, assuming you have gingerbread mix, Cool-whip, Libby’s canned pumpkin, and Jello vanilla pudding mix.  When you have none of these things, it’s a five day recipe.  Between roasting pumpkin, whipping cream, researching how to make pudding mix (this could be the subject of a blog post all on its own!), and paying $10 for a bottle of molasses to make real gingerbread, this became the most expensive and time-consuming dessert in history.  To make matters worse, when I was finished, I was universally confronted with the following questions:

“Pumpkin for dessert?  Really?  Why would you ever do that to a pumpkin?”

These questions were usually followed by slight shivers and vaguely green cast to the skin of the questioner.

This year, though, I was prepared.  Not only did I make sure I had vanilla pudding mix from home, I used crushed gingersnaps instead of gingerbread.  And I made sure to make two other desserts–chocolate pecan pie and cranberry orange apple pie.  That, plus some creative papermaking ideas from this blog, and I was set.  We had sixteen guests this year, and plenty of orange beef and egg foo young to go around.  Here are some pictures from the event.

To all of my friends at home, happy, happiest of Thanksgivings to you.  Know that I thankful that all of you are in my life.

Our buffet table. (I spent an hour ironing that sheet. I'm not very good at ironing...)

My Thanksgiving "fast facts". Did you know that Thanksgiving used to last for 3 days

The thankfulness basket--anonymous and read aloud after dinner. This is always fun. Especially when you can tell who wrote what! We got a lot of thoughts of thankfulness for good friends and family, but a few thoughts for bare-chested, very fit men running in the summer.

Banners! (We, perhaps, went overboard)


What says Thanksgiving like Chinese takeaway!?

why not have some fun with the descriptions?

Yes, one more banner....

And finally…

The Thanksgiving Smurfs are courtesy of our good friends Anna and Paddy, who found them in a second-hand shop last year.

Happy Thanksgiving to all I know and love!  To my friends at home, eat some pumpkin pie, cornbread dressing, and cranberry sauce for me.  (And some turkey, too!)


12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. CS
    Nov 21, 2011 @ 23:28:13

    Why are you celebrating Thanksgiving a week early? I know there’s a time difference, but a whole week?


  2. friedgreensavannah
    Nov 22, 2011 @ 09:22:30

    What a cute idea! Love it 🙂 Happy Thanksgiving!


  3. Jude
    Nov 22, 2011 @ 11:31:47

    We had a lovely time thanks Jen. It’s so nice to celebrate something that isn’t as commerical as Christmas and has a point to it that’s relevant even if you aren’t christian. In fact, when you think about it that way,thanksgiving should be way bigger in NZ than Christmas! Cheers, Jude.


    • kiwijenn
      Nov 22, 2011 @ 13:07:27

      So glad you all could come! Especially given that you’re now completely part of the tradition. 😉 In all seriousness, it’s my favorite holiday from home, so it’s great to be able to celebrate it–in whatever form it takes–in my new home with such awesome friends.


  4. seamunchkin
    Nov 22, 2011 @ 21:18:31

    So glad the Thanksgiving smurfs got another outing! 😉 Sorry we weren’t able to make it this year. It looks like you outdid yourself!
    For the record, I am thankful for family, good friends, fair winds and calm seas (oh, and David Bowie in sparkly tights!)
    Looking forward to catching up with you guys again soon xxx


    • kiwijenn
      Nov 23, 2011 @ 07:50:52

      Of course they got another outing! They are now firmly ensconced in the Thanksgiving tradition. 😉 Love that you’re thankful for Mr Bowie, and for friends and family. As for “The Book”, Midnight is a great read, and in many respects, an accurate description of what living in Savannah is like. Now you know why I’m so homesick sometimes! Can’t wait to see you guys. Hope you’re still having a blast. xxx


  5. seamunchkin
    Nov 22, 2011 @ 21:21:57

    PS – I found a copy of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil in the book swap at the Opua cruising club and have just finished it. A great read and Savannah sounds lovely!


  6. LeeAnn
    Nov 23, 2011 @ 12:43:45

    Wow – you totally outdid yourself!! Your place looks beautiful and love all of the decorations!! I also like the idea of take out on T-day – way less stressful. : )


  7. kiwijenn
    Nov 23, 2011 @ 16:23:05

    Yes, LeeAnn, but “outdid yourself”, I think you mean I went a little crazy with the paper banners.

    Take out was great, but I do miss a more ‘traditional’ meal of turkey and dressing and whipped potatoes. Hopefully, next year. 😉


  8. kiwijenn
    Nov 23, 2011 @ 16:23:24

    by outdid yourself, I mean. By.


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