I know. I know. Thanksgiving is an American holiday. But Italians in the United States have embraced this one, and they have put their own spin on it. Mostly, they include antipasto and lasagna before the turkey. And they indulge in Italian pastries and cookies – as opposed to pumpkin pie, which they think is the work of the devil.
Really, a holiday that is all about food is perfect for Italians. But there are a few American traditions regarding Thanksgiving that Italians poo-poo for lack of a better term. The one that gets me most is the rejection of a beautiful tablescape.
My guilty pleasure is going through Pinterest and blogs in the weeks before a holiday or celebration in search of decor ideas. Blame the Libra in me, but I just can’t resist a shiny bauble or fabulous floral arrangement. My heart swells for pretty place cards.
But be still my swelling heart for my Italian people enter the dining room, see the place cards and tell me they are silly. That’s right before they switch them around or just push them aside and sit wherever they want. Fine, I still have my gorgeous centerpiece. Wrong. A few minutes later my father will say, “Beautiful flowers, move them out of the way and make room for the lasagna. Oh and take the candleholders, too, because the other dishes are not going to fit here.” True story.
All my pretty things are then strewn about on the top of my china closet and the flowers usually end up banished to the basement because the kitchen is also full of food. You would think I would have learned by now. Alas, I have learned nothing. I am still planning an elaborate table set with carefully folded cloth napkins and acorns that the children of the family have painted with glitter and love. Although I’m pretty certain, Nonno is going to toss aside the jewel-toned fall leaves I faithfully dried and laminated, I will not be stopped. Oh no, I will not be stopped.
Di Meglio uses the written word to help families create memories and stick together. You can follow her on Facebook at Francesca’s Newlyweds Nest and on Twitter @ItalianMamma10.