The Undomesticated Pinay’s Thanksgiving and Black Friday Roundup
Hello again my friends! I am back and I would like to share my experience about one of America’s biggest events: Thanksgiving and Black Friday.Advertisement
Even when I was still in the Philippines, people would always tell me about how wonderful Thanksgiving was – the gatherings, the turkey, the pumpkin pie. But I think my ears popped up more when they told me about the Black Friday Sales. Huge Discounts and Promos – a day for shopping. Heck, that’s what I’m talking about!
But before I get ahead of myself, let’s go back to basics. First of all what is, Thanksgiving? We don’t have it in the Philippines so when I first got here, I was curious myself, because back home Christmas was the biggest and most important holiday.
Christmas Eve in the Philippines
Christmas Eve in the Philippines would be the biggest reunion for most families. There would be filled with lots of laughter; there would be games, exchanging of gifts, and most importantly the special dinner which we call Noche Buena. Being a Spanish-influenced country, we share this tradition with other countries. Noche Buena in Spanish means “Good Night” and refers to the Chirstmas Eve Feast.
Our Noche Buena staples would be a sumptuous ham, a minimum of 3 other dishes and dessert which is usually a fruit salad. We would usually have dinner around 9pm and finish by 11. After which everyone would just be in anticipation for the clock to strike 12. Then each family member would give hugs and kisses as each one greeted another with wishes of good tidings and cheer. People would start giving Christmas in the Philippines indeed was the best holiday ever. Ah memories.
My first Thanksgiving here in the US was both memorable and crazy. Since it is a distinctly American tradition, I had no idea how and why it was being celebrated. So I did some research and found out that it was a holiday in commemoration of the get together of the natives and pilgrims in celebration of a good harvest season. The biggest staple for the Thanksgiving Feast was of course the “Turkey.”
I was so scared and intimidated by this huuuuuggeee bird. I didn’t know what I was going to do! I asked a co-worker of mine for the recipe and instructions on how to make the perfect turkey for Thanksgiving. So early Thanksgiving morning, I went to the kitchen and set out do go on Full-mode Cooking. I prepared Mashed Potatoes and gravy, Mixed Vegetables, Lasagna, Porkchops and of course – the bird. But let me tell you because I have good news and bad news.
The good news? My family loved the turkey! They said it was moist and tender. Yay!
The bad news? It looked bad.
But this year because I was missing home so much, I decided to change it up. I wanted to do Thanksgiving – Pinoy Style. So what better way of doing it than by doing a Boodle Fight Style Dinner! It is a “military style of eating” in which banana leaves were laid out in long tables and everyone goes into “eating combat” mode. For me this was a good way of showing and celebrating Thanksgiving because it reflects a Filipino’s humble beginnings: farmers who would eat out in the fields this way and sharing food with everyone. It was in a way just like the Last Supper when Jesus shared bread with his disciples.
This year was a tough one for me. It’s still us. But I do have so much to be thankful for.
Black Friday Shopping
Even when I was still in the Philippines, I’ve heard so much about the Black Friday Sale! So when I moved here, I was so eager to experience it myself. I remember my first. The only situation that I could compare this Black Friday Sale would be when SM (the biggest mall chain in the Philippines) has its 3 day Sale. Literally it’s a crazy weekend sale. Traffic would be so bad and the lines? Grunt. Good thing it was just 2 blocks away from my place. So I could just literally walk back when all hell breaks loose haha.
So my dad and I finished our dinner right away so we could start scouting the shops. Earlier we tried going to Walmart but there was just too much people so we decided to go there early Friday Morning. But for the midnight sale we bolted for one of my favorite stores – Best Buy! Ok ok don’t look at me like that. I’m a huge techie so forgive if I did not run straight to Forever 21 – that’s was my 2nd pit stop haha. We didn’t have a strategy initially but by the look of the almost snake-like line, it looked like we needed a plan. So we formed two teams – the liners (stood in line for the cashier) and the hunters (scouted for things to haul). We would switch every 30 minutes so that we could cover the entire store. It worked I must say. But it still took us 2 hours before we were out of the store. There were really just too many people. But I was happy with my stash: a new GPS unit with a larger screen, a new laptop and some other little knick knacks. And from Forever 21? Clothes and accessories of course! Ah heaven!
But this year was a little different. I was more laidback. Maybe because I didn’t really have a budget for shopping haha. I swear if there’s one thing that the US has made become even more of – that is being a shopaholic! I know I know bad Carmi. Hey don’t look at me like that. I’m sure we share the same dilemma haha. So anyway I just went to the mall browsed a bit, picked up a few items and went home. Easy peasy. Are you wondering why I sounded so cool and confident? Let me tell you a little secret. Come on, come closer. I’ll whisper it to you. “Two words – Online shopping!” Why worry about long lines and crowded stores when you can do Black Friday Shopping at the comfort of your own home 🙂 Right?? So I’ll be waiting patiently as my purchases arrive in the mail. It’ll be like Christmas as I open each one in excitement and anticipation. I feel like a little kid!
Celebrations here in the US and in the Philippines have a lot of similarities and differences. We both spend it with family, we love cooking up a storm. But what’s important to know that whatever country you may be in there is one thing that is the same all across the board and that is celebrating happiness, thankfulness, love and family. It may have different names but it all celebrates life.
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