Thankful for Thanksgiving!

It’s Thanksgiving week here in the USA, the biggest Stateside holiday there is.

For many Americans (the adults anyway) it’s their favourite celebration because there are no presents involved. Unlike at Christmas, you don’t need to worry about buying gifts for people and instead concentrate on eating, drinking and giving thanks for what you have. And, in my case at least, watch Chelsea.

For expats like me, Thanksgiving was not part of our culture until we settled here. But when it means we get to see the Blues play a midweek afternoon game, we will certainly embrace it. Nothing screams America more than following Chelsea against Qarabag in Azerbaijan, right? As American as apple pie...

Just like in the Yuletide season back home, schools over here close, shops shut early, businesses wind down. For most people, it’s a short week. Nearly everyone will be off on Thursday and the majority will close early on Wednesday. Unless you are involved in the greatest USA tradition of all - mobbing the mall on Black Friday, a term I believe has crossed the Pond since I moved here more than 13 years ago - then it’s an extended break.

My work is on hiatus as well, so I get to spend Wednesday afternoon watching our Champions League match, a noon kick-off for me in North Carolina. No need to surreptitiously check my phone every couple of minutes or sneak to the bathroom repeatedly for live updates from the Caucasus.

Ironically, Thanksgiving, the fourth Thursday in November, is a big NFL-watching day. There will be three games broadcast that afternoon and evening and it’s as much a part of the scenery as turkey and cranberry sauce. Obviously, there is no football on Christmas Day at home.

The Dallas Cowboys are at the Los Angeles Chargers, two cities that are around 1,500 miles apart. Can you imagine the outrage in England if Newcastle were scheduled to play in London on December 25? In the States, however, few gridiron fans travel to away games and the scheduling over holidays is never an issue.

So whether it’s just another day in late November for you in the UK, or it’s treated as a special family event here in the USA - Happy Thanksgiving! I’m going to be thankful for the chance to watch Chelsea in peace.