Ah, Thanksgiving. That glorious time of the year when families get together, visit, commiserate and stuff their faces full of yummy food. Yes, Thanksgiving is a North American holiday – in the States it falls sometime in November but here in the Great White North, lovely and beautiful Canada, it falls on the second Monday of October. If you’re reading this from outside of North America, you either have no idea what I’m talking about or you do and are perhaps a bit curious. That’s good because I will break it down for you, explain Thanksgiving the way I know it.
I know it’s a little early but I will be heading up North tomorrow morning to spend Thanksgiving with my parents and I won’t be here to write/post this weekend so…here it is.
First let me start by saying this – Thanksgiving is the perfect holiday – everyone can enjoy it, no one is excluded, everyone can be happy. The only requisite is that you live in this great, wonderful country of ours. No one can cry foul this weekend! There is nothing attached to this holiday other than family, friends, lots of food and the chance to be grateful and say thanks. Thinking about it, I think Thanksgiving is probably one of the very few holidays NOT taken over by marketing gurus around the country. Sure, the turkey has been exploited to some extent (his unfortunate little mug is flashed around everywhere you look), but that’s about it. There is no jolly little man handing out gifts, no bunny rabbit handing out gifts and candy and no ghosts and ghouls scaring the bejesus out of people and handing out candy. The holiday stands on its own with nothing more than, like I think I’ve already mentioned a couple of times, food and family and friends. It’s wonderful! Can you tell I’m excited?
As you’ve probably figured out by now, food plays a big role in our family’s Thanksgiving weekend. With us, the turkey is king. Few things smell as great as a turkey roasting in the oven. Unless, of course, you smell my mom’s stuffing! Now, we are quite the fussy little family and only her stuffing will do. One year, she, for reasons only she knows, tried a different recipe out on her picky brood but it didn’t wash – there were too many things in it, too many ingredients like celery and apples. Her recipe, which incidentally she got from my father’s mother, is super simple – nothing but cubed bread, onions, lots of butter and salt and pepper. Absolute perfection! We’re not huge on desserts, at least not like at Christmas, but word on the street is that my mom is making a pecan pie. And I just finished baking pumpkin chocolate chip brownies which I topped with little multi-coloured maple leaf sprinkles (I love sprinkles!!). I have to say they are super yummy – yes, of course I tried one already! Unlike in the States where the sweet potato pie seems to reign supreme, Canada remains sweet potato pie free. I have never met a single person in this country who has eaten a piece of sweet potato pie let alone made one. I have nothing against sweet potatoes, in fact I love them but to make them into a pie with sugar and marshmallows? No thanks. Of course, this is coming from a person who loathes pumpkin pie but still, it sounds awful. (No offense meant to any Americans reading this, really!)
Okay, enough about food.
There is something so peaceful and heartwarming about this weekend. It’s a great opportunity to take stock of all of the blessings in your life and to appreciate everything and everyone around you. For me, going home always feels right. As soon as I enter into my hometown I start to feel the stress literally melt. I always say that I feel as though I can actually exhale when I go home. And when there’s a holiday to go along with it, so much the better. I’m incredibly lucky to be very close to my parents and I not only love them, I like them, I like spending time with them. Sure we butt heads occasionally, especially when we spend a lot of time together, but we always know that the visit will come to an end too quickly and it will be months before we see each other again so we hug and make up as soon as our stubborn pride allows. And really, holidays like Thanksgiving are no time for arguing. The older I get, the more I appreciate being able to spend this time with my family; I know there are people who would give anything to spend one more holiday with a loved one. Treasure these times.
Okay, I’m getting all emotional now, so I’ll sign off!
To all my lovely fellow Canadians, my heartfelt wish that you have a fun, happy, healthy and safe Thanksgiving. Eats lots, be thankful, travel safe and love the ones you spend this wonderful holiday with.