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Hold onto your heartstrings, I’m about to make turn all your romantic notions upside down.

 

What’s the most romantic day of the year? I’ll give you some clues: it’s not a set date and it doesn’t automatically signal hearts and flowers and rainbows and cupid. But trust me, it’s the Real Deal.

 

You’ve already ruled out Valentine’s Day (expected, contrived) and Sweetest Day (twee, contrived by hard-up retailers in the doldrums before Christmas.) If you’re in a relationship, you might say your anniversary, and this might be true to some extent.

 

But easily the most romantic day of the year is Thanksgiving. Yes, that American festival of gluttony and self-congratulatory smugness, the day when people across the United States believe that the triumph of a few bedraggled religious zealots against the elements – thanks to the native people whose way of life they ultimately destroyed – gives them reasonable cause to eat until they explode.

 

Now bear with me. The best things in life aren’t always the most obvious, and never was that more true than in this case.

 

But if you think about Thanksgiving at its most basic level, it’s all about sharing the most essential elements in a celebration of life and friendship. And love. What could be more loving than feeding someone with a generous helping of green-bean casserole?

 

Ok, maybe that’s not the best example. How about pumpkin pie? With whipped cream? Now that caught your attention.

 

If you’ve never had the excuse to celebrate American, or even Canadian, Thanksgiving, you’re probably still wondering how eating turkey, cranberry sauce and an assortment of carborific side dishes can possibly spell romance – especially on a dreary Thursday at the end of November. So I’m going to tell you how it works.

 

Thanksgiving is all about surrounding yourself with the people you love most, while taking stock of your good fortune. What could be more romantic than being invited to share in such an intimate experience?

 

Moreover, when you’ve stuffed yourself full of sleep-inducing turkey and all the trimmings, there’s nothing more satisfying than snuggling down for a post-meal nap in the middle of the day. How often does anyone over the age of 5 actually have the excuse to go for a snooze on a weekday afternoon? It’s a luxury, and one to be enjoyed with someone special.

 

Anyone, anywhere can celebrate Thanksgiving – that’s the beauty of it. All it takes is declaring a day when your significant other, possibly along with other loved ones, should gather to share a meaningful meal and reflect on the good things in life. It’s pretty simple, but easily one of the loveliest excuses for spending time with those most important to you.

 

It doesn’t have to include turkey or stuffing or candied yams, and it doesn’t even need to be called Thanksgiving. But what better way to brighten a dull and dismal time of year than to start a new tradition?

 

Then again, I’m probably biased. Ten years ago, after second helpings and lots of laughter with my nearest and dearest, I only went back to my little upstairs flat and got engaged. There was no fanfare, no elaborate pronouncements and we probably smelled of sweetcorn casserole and gravy, but a decade later we’re happily married with lots to be thankful for.

 

And Thanksgiving, to my thinking, is still the most romantic day of the year.