Photo: Wikipedia

You may have noticed that Thanksgiving in the United States is this Thursday.

As I write this, many Americans are on holiday or are about to leave. It is a huge celebration in the States.

I would say that it is, in fact, more important than Christmas.


Thanksgiving is also celebrated in Canada but on the second Monday in October, whilst it is always held on the fourth Thursday in November in the US.

As my sister and her family live in the States and are now US citizens, I thought I’d join in the celebrations and write about this very North American tradition in my blog. I’d also like to introduce you to some idioms connected with the symbols of Thanksgiving.

BLOG_Thanksgiving2_pumpkinThanksgiving or the act of “giving thanks” is not unique to the North Americans. For centuries, communities throughout the world have given thanks to their gods for all sorts of reasons. One of the most important reasons has often been to give thanks for a good harvest, especially after a particularly difficult period. People would celebrate their good fortune by preparing a feast, blessing the food and merrymaking. For more information about the history of Thanksgiving, take a look at this.

When I think of Thanksgiving, the following images come to mind: family reunions, holidays, huge family feasts, turkeys, pumpkin pie, corn bread, stuffing, cranberry sauce and those spectacular parades you see on television like this one in New York.

Taking three symbols of Thanksgiving – turkey, stuffing and blessing, let’s take a look at 7 idioms that are commonly used in English.

1. To be stuffed – To be full and can’t eat anymore.
The meal was absolutely delicious. I’m afraid I can’t eat one morsel more. I’m stuffed.

2. To go cold turkey – to suddenly stop a bad habit and suffer from it at the beginning. (This is often used when talking about a drug addict who suddenly stops taking drugs.)
Many people who attempt to quit smoking do so by going cold turkey rather than by gradually cutting down.”

3. To count your blessings – to be grateful for the good things in your life
We have a lovely home, healthy children and each other – we should count our blessings.

4. A stuffed shirt – a person who behaves in a very formal way and expects to be treated as someone very important
The stuffed shirts in this company don’t realise that they need new blood if we are to survive the crisis.

Thanksgiving vs Christmas

5.  A blessing in disguise – something that at first appears to be bad or unlucky but is actually good
I was really upset when I was first made redundant but when I look back now, it was a blessing in disguise. I’ve never been happier with my current work.

6. To talk turkey (mainly American English) – to discuss a problem in a serious way with a real intention to solve it
The politicians need to stop messing around and start talking turkey.

7. To be a mixed blessing – something that has bad effects as well as advantages
Being beautiful can be a mixed blessing. On the one hand, you receive a lot of attention, but on the other hand, people don’t always take you seriously.

Happy Thanksgiving, folks.

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Ciao for now