Jane Austen and Thanksgiving



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As an American who lives in Ireland, I miss Thanksgiving. It’s not a national holiday here, so the  day after Halloween, the scary ghosts and witches are replaced by all things Christmas. I do love Christmas, but I long for the interlude of gratitude that Thanksgiving represents. It can be tricky for expats who want to do the traditional thing while living here. Adults are not off work, kids aren’t off school, and some of the usual food items are difficult to procure. And of course, if your spouse is Irish (like mine is), they didn’t grow up with fond family memories of sitting around a table with a Thanksgiving feast set before them. My husband doesn’t mind celebrating Thanksgiving, but he wouldn’t really miss it if it didn’t happen.

Nevertheless, our family have celebrated Thanksgiving every year, and it’s one of the kids’ favorite holidays. Since my husband works from home and we homeschool, it’s not been as complicated as it would otherwise be. I don’t know if it will happen this year with our daughter still in the hospital and several other family members sick with various other serious complaints. I must say, I am a little melancholy about that.

However, I do not need a special day in order to be thankful. As Jane Austen wrote in another of the prayers she composed:

And I do have much to be thankful for; so much that I could not possibly list it all here. And even if I could, would it really make interesting reading for you? I think not. But might I entreat you to make a list of your own blessings? It will surprise you, once you start writing them down, just how many there are. And as Jane Austen said in the prayer I quoted at the start of this post, may we not deserve to lose them by discontent or indifference.

I will leave you with one final prayer written by Jane Austen:

As my Thanksgiving gift to my readers, the digital version of the first book in my George Knightley, Esquire series is on sale for just $.99 through the end of the month! https://www.amazon.com/George-Knightley-Esquire-Book-One-ebook/dp/B003IPCNC2/ref=

8 responses to “Jane Austen and Thanksgiving”

  1. Alice McVeigh Avatar
    Alice McVeigh

    What a lovely column!!! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, especially the daughter you’re concerned for. From fellow US emigrant, Alice

  2. Barbara Cornthwaite Avatar

    Thanks, Alice.

  3. Regina Jeffers Avatar

    The first turkeys are believed to have been brought into Britain in 1526 by a Yorkshireman named William Strickland. He managed to get hold of a few turkeys from American Indian traders on his travels and sold them for tuppence each in Bristol.

    1. Barbara Cornthwaite Avatar
  4. Regina Avatar

    I remember celebrating Thanksgiving when my husband and I were grad students in England in the mid to late 70’s. It was not easy to find all the ingredients but it was fun trekking into areas of Birmingham I’d never been to in order to track them down!
    Happy Thanksgiving 🦃 to you and your family!

    1. Barbara Cornthwaite Avatar

      Thank you! You too!

  5. cindie snyder Avatar
    cindie snyder

    What a lovely post! I never read any of Jane Austen’s prayers! Hope your daughter and relatives get better.

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