Canadian Thanksgiving is this weekend and I would like to extend a warm happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian friends. As a Canadian since birth, who as traveled across most of Canada numerous times, except for the Maritimes which I truly want to see, the Fall is my favorite season. Our Thanksgiving comes at the beginning of our autumn so we are fortunate to have warm weather where we can still get outdoors and be active before the snowfall.
Eastern Canada, in my memory is such a beautiful place in the autumn with the oranges, yellows and reds of the trees scattering the mountain sides. Raking the leaves of the big oak and maple trees and tossling in the piles, giggling with laughter, trips to the Gatineau valley to gather maple syrup, and scenic drives through the mountains are my fond memories of the Ontario fall months.
Later in childhood, living in the Okanagan valley of British Columbia, picking pears and apples to make juice, horseback riding in the cooler weather and gathering firewood for the winter conjures up the memories.
Being active outdoors has been a huge part of my life! There is nothing more exhilarating than being active outside in the fresh air all day long and then coming in for a delicious full course Thanksgiving dinner. Now that’s the best medicine for an insomniac!
As a Canadian family we have always had Thanksgiving traditions. Despite living a great distance from relatives in my younger child hood, or perhaps due to living far apart, my family stayed pretty traditional for most holidays. It created a certain stability in our home. My father was the chief chef for holiday meals as far as the meat and stuffing was concerned. My mother would prepare the vegetables and dessert. The turkey we get stuffed and placed in the oven in the morning and then as a family we would head outdoors for fresh air and activity. What a great way to increase the appetite! Dinner would be a huge event with the additional table decor, additional silverware for the various courses, wine glasses, etc. Company was almost always invited to share in the celebration and this was what added to the festivity. We would don the paper hats and share the trivial jokes and stories for hours at the table. Many pictures would be taken and the memories were created.
Despite my parents divorce when I was 14, these early childhood memories are fond and were the foundation for how I established holiday traditions for my children and hope they will pass on to theirs. Whether it is something as simple as turkey and pumpkin pie or the full course spread at the table, I feel it is important to create tradition for your family. With so many ethnic families in Canada I am sure within the walls of each home there are different traditional meals for the different holidays. Whatever these traditions are, make them happy and keep them consistent year after year. “Stuff” happens, such as divorce or family separation due to jobs and travel, but being flexible and having the traditions established even when apart the memories will sustain you through the holiday.
If you are unable to celebrate with your loved ones this season, take the time to make the phone call, skype, or however you need to connect and share some stories of the past. Laugh and celebrate while giving gratitude for all the blessings you share. Reach out and do something nice for someone less fortunate. Invite a single or lonely person over to share in your meal. Take a meal with all the trimmings to an elderly couple who no longer have the ability to create the fancy dinner. Write a card, take a walk, do yourself a favor, but most important give thanks for what you have and give someone else the opportunity to give thanks for their fortune.
Happy Thanksgiving my friends, and thank you for being a part of my life!