1995 was my first Thanksgiving in LA, my introduction to table confetti and the beginning of a long distance, long lasting friendship.
Staying with very dear friends in LA in the trendy area of Park La Brea (directly opposite The Grove) we were invited to their next-door neighbours for Thanksgiving Dinner. I was beyond excited.
Growing up I loved watching the American TV shows and movies where Thanksgiving and Christmas were being celebrated. The snow softly falling outside viewed through white frosted windows, the entire family seated around the elegantly decorated dinner table - with strategically placed table settings and a spread of delectable, insanely delicious food - made me want to be American.
Many, many years later, on a magnificent cool, Autumn late afternoon I was finally able to experience my own traditional Thanksgiving.
Marilynn, Chuck and their beautiful little boy Austin (such American names - I love it) welcomed us into their home filled with the most appetising aroma. The twinkling lights, music and the most gorgeous Thanksgiving autumn hues tablescape, awaited our arrival.
The stark white tablecloth sprinkled with sparkling table confetti and adorned with a hand decorated runner was the stage for the pretty pumpkin and berry centrepiece and miniature candelabras. A pumpkin leaf place card and a festive autumn napkin, positioned in the middle of each place setting created the elegant but playful scene.
It was so goddam American. I was obsessed.
All I needed now was for it to snow in LA!
3 cocktails downed and a belly full of Pecan Cheddar Cheese balls and spinach and cheese stuffed mushrooms - it was now time to share a meal and give thanks.
The entrance of the oversized turkey was nothing short of grand, just like in the movies. Stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce followed and then came the endless sides - white creamy mashed potatoes, roasted sweet potatoes, green beans, corn and Brussel sprouts all beautifully presented - just like in the movies.
I was in heaven. I now consider myself American.
Of course, the evening was not complete without pumpkin pie, pecan pie and holiday cupcakes.
More cocktails, dancing, whoopee cushions and dare I say - food brought the evening to a close.
All I can say is thank God I only had to walk next door! The button on my jeans was ready to pop! It was definitely time for some comfy pants.
What did I think of my first Thanksgiving?
Well, I think the expression of gratitude I have to say is underrated.
I love celebrating Australia day, we make it a real party. However, celebrating Thanksgiving was very different. Almost spiritual.
It was one of the most memorable days of my life and also life-changing. I became and remained friends with one of the most beautiful families on this earth.
In the last 24 years, we have travelled back and forth to see each other and they have played a significant part in my daughter's life. Even hosted her and her best friend for schoolies week.
I am not only grateful for the experience of a traditional Thanksgiving, but eternally thankful for the gift of friendship - which I now class as family.
If you love traditions and celebrations, then do yourself a favour and experience a Thanksgiving in the USA.
You won't be disappointed.