Celebrating the holidays Tergin-style.

So how do the Greeks celebrate Thanksgiving? Well, they don’t. There is no Thanksgiving in Greece, or Halloween, for that matter. I remember hearing Mom say how strange a holiday is where we dress up in costumes and scare each other for candy. Nonetheless, we grew up wearing our little masks and eating candy for days. We celebrated these “new” holidays, together with my grandparents, George and Ourania, who lived with us.

Mayor's First Thanksgiving

Although they have passed away, the memory of Popou and Yiayia is strong. I even remember where they sat at the table; now, my sister’s baby, George, the fourth generation, makes our table full again. And Yiayia’s recipe for dressing is still a staple at my favorite traditional meal of the year: Thanksgiving.

Yes, this big Greek family’s table is set with the biggest turkey Mom can find, along with sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn, ham, salad, bread, and, of course, feta. Doesn’t everyone have feta at their Thanksgiving meal? I’m thankful and blessed to have grown up in America, with a proud American family — and a touch of feta. Opa!

I also still remember my other Yiayia, in Greece, having a sip of Ouzo with dinner when we visited. It kept her young! she said. But what really keeps the Greeks young is how they enjoy meals. The food is always so fresh. Every bite is savored, not rushed, with generations of family all at the table. That’s the tradition I remember most growing up: sharing meals, time, joy, and stories together at the table. 

I still have a stocking hung at Mom and Dad’s fireplace at Christmas. And yes, Santa continues to fill it, because I have been very good! 

Mayor Tergin kisses a turkey

Last year I “kissed” a “turkey” to help collect Thanksgiving meals for the Samaritan Center. I celebrated my first lighting of the Mayor’s Christmas Tree at Rotary Park, and I enjoyed riding down High Street in the Christmas Parade. There are traditions I plan to continue throughout the year too. Sailing on Binder Lake at the Mayor’s Cup Regatta, canoeing on the Missouri River in the Race to the Dome, and biking with travel writers, to name a few. I’ve even been dunked a time or two in a dunking booth (all for a good cause). And I can’t forget my favorite new tradition, “Concert Inside the Walls” at the historic prison over the July 4 holiday. Who will perform this year at MSP? Stay tuned . . . and this Mayor will see you there! #Traditions #HappyThanksgiving #JCMO #CitysBest