Canadian Thanksgiving sneaks up on you about the second week in October. In Canada, we’re big believers in the long weekend. From May to October, you can count on a long weekend to get you through each month. Really, the only months that don’t have long weekends are March and November. If you’re a student, it’s really just November, but I digress. A month after Labour Day, you start to wish for another long weekend, and BAM, it’s Canadian Thanksgiving.
I can’t speak for all Canadians, but having celebrated my fair share of (Canadian) Thanksgivings, I feel that I am more than qualified to speak on the subject. This is for those who have never celebrated Thanksgiving, or have only celebrated it the American way. This is how my family celebrates Thanksgiving. It’s the way Thanksgiving should be celebrated. Yes, all other ways are wrong.
A Traditional (Canadian) Thanksgiving in 5 Easy Steps
Step 1: Food
Thanksgiving with my family starts out like most do. Everyone gets together at my grandparents for a traditional Thanksgiving spread: Turkey, Grandma’s famous mashed potatoes, rolls (fresh out of the oven), (glistening) vegetables, and the rest. Thanksgiving really isn’t the same without carbs. After we’ve polished off the main course, it’s time to move on to desserts. Yes, desserts. My favourite dessert is pumpkin pie surprise. You’re handed a plate that looks like a giant pile of whipped cream. You start to dig your fork in and SURPRISE, there’s a sliver of pumpkin pie underneath.
Step 2: Rabble-Rousing
This is the part of the day where my brothers pretend that they’re 12 (they’re far from 12) by playing with our younger cousin’s toys. It starts off with one of my brothers daring the other brother to do some crazy trick while the other one films it. Something generally gets broken. Sometimes it’s a skateboard. Sometimes it’s a physical injury that reminds them of their true age. This year, my younger brother tried to prove that he could jump a flight of stairs with a child’s scooter. As you can imagine, it did not go quite as planned.
Step 3: Photo Op
Next is picture time. No, this is not where we all hang out in the yard and take selfies while jumping in the leaves. It’s quite the opposite. After we’ve eaten more than a small African village and changed into our stretchy pants, it’s time for the annual family photo. This is where we gather in the front yard and forget how to stand like normal people. Everyone get agitated standing for what seems like hours while the lighting is perfected. My dad will set the timer on the camera and sprint to his pose. This is repeated about 10 times until the photo’s just right. After all, this is the cover of our family calendar. And yes, everyone gets one in their Christmas stocking.
Step 4: Sleep
Find a comfortable couch and let the turkey comma set in. But don’t get too comfortable because before you know it, it’s time for another family fun activity.
Step 5: More Food
Yes, it’s time to eat again. Like my dad says, “Pack and stretch.” Why wait until the next day to enjoy Thanksgiving leftovers. Let no dish go uneaten. That’s sort of our family motto… well, my grandma’s motto. That and you can never have/ cook with enough butter. The more butter, the merrier?