As the world seemingly ‘shrinks’ due to the web and smart technology we hear of Thanksgiving more frequently here in Australia. But what does it mean and how is it celebrated?
On the 4th Thursday of November in the US, the Thanksgiving celebration is recognized as an event that took place when English colonists held a feast to give thanks for their harvest, health and a new friendship with the Wampanoag Indians.
Here at Heatherly we are lucky enough to have a gorgeous Texan, Shelley Pfister, in our midst. Shelley is an Interior Stylist and expertly guides our Sydney clients with bedhead and bedroom furniture designs at our showroom in Surry Hills.
We were invited to Shelley’s home in Paddington to document her celebrations this year and asked her a few questions about what Thanksgiving is really like.
Tell us a little bit about where you’re from.
I am originally from Texas. I grew up outside of Dallas, and then college led me to Austin where I began my career and started a family. We have lived all over Texas for my husband’s job. I can tell you everything really is bigger in Texas, as they say, (including the population of 27 million)!
How long have you been in Australia?
I have been in Australia for almost 3 incredible years.
What does Thanksgiving mean to your family / what are you thankful for?
Thanksgiving is a time to gather with family and friends. The holiday is also a gentle reminder to stop and take a pause from our busy lives and be grateful for the many blessings that we enjoy.
One year ago, during the week of Thanksgiving, we lost our home due to a freak fire incident that occurred while we were asleep…
Shelley Pfister (in white) with friend
Native floral decorations
Delicious Grazing Board by Chomp
… We survived but were devastated losing our pet. All I could think about was how am I going to pull off Christmas for my two daughters while living in a hotel and starting from scratch?
Luckily each day we worked tirelessly to rebuild our lives and serendipity found us a new home just in time for Santa’s arrival. While it has taken a year to get back on our feet, this Thanksgiving was even more significant as we are forever changed and grateful for our lives.
One of my goals this year was to create a beautiful and serene “Friendsgiving” setting. I handpicked gorgeous linens from local artisans, used native flowers and scattered them in between our traditional Thanksgiving dishes.
It was a celebration to remember, to say the least. The evening’s guest list included eight other families. A guitar solo wowed the crowd with Jimi Hendrix Star Spangled Banner. After dancing off our dinner for endless hours, the night concluded with a hilarious visit from a friend dressed as a trussed turkey!
What memories of Thanksgiving as a child stand out for you and what traditions have you kept for your own family?
As a child, Thanksgiving meant time off from school and an exciting start to the holiday season. The beautiful Fall foliage arrives this time of year transforming the trees into shades of red, orange and yellow while the weather begins to chill.
We enjoy “down time” and relaxing as my mother prepares a holiday feast and the children watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (airing live from New York).
Connecting with loved ones is always important as we remember how thankful we all are for food, family, and life. The day after, we shop until we drop taking advantage of all of the day-after holiday shopping sales, now known as Black Friday. Today, I continue all of the traditions with my children from the formality of the Thanksgiving dinner to watching the Charlie Brown, Thanksgiving Classic cartoon from the 70’s.
Traditional Holiday Stuffing
Do people give gifts?
We do not give gifts. We celebrate by cooking, eating and deepening our precious familial ties.
What are you looking forward to in the year ahead?
I am eager to continue my journey in Australia finding inspiration in the everyday life and making the most of this experience. New Year’s Eve is so spectacular in Sydney and we are so excited to have friends visit and to share how it is properly done.
From here we will do some traveling and explore Ayers Rock and hope to see much more of this beautiful part of the world throughout the year to come.
Thank you to Heloise Love for the beautiful photography and to Shelley for allowing us to share her celebrations and heartfelt story.
Thanks also to Chomp for the “grazing board” cheese/veggie tray.
For an appointment with Shelley in our Sydney studio, book here.