Thanksgiving is a BIG deal in the United States. Children in the USA don’t just get the day off school on Thanksgiving Day, they practically get the whole week off depending on the State in which they are celebrating Thanksgiving. Not only is it a time to gather family together, it’s the busiest travel day of the year too. American Thanksgiving has been the topic of many TV shows and movies and with so much pomp and circumstance surrounding it, it’s about time we embrace it for the abundance of joy it provides. Yes, even if we are in Canada. November can be quite gloomy, after all.
Let’s Talk Turkey
Buy the biggest, best-quality-you-can-afford turkey to roast. This is your chance to make up for a Canadian Thanksgiving spent in someone else’s home. While you appreciate the hospitality, you really missed the leftovers and you want your cranberries, your way. Now you can be the boss and make your Thanksgiving feast exactly the way you like it. Go ahead, break out the good pepper! Use real cream and butter in those mashed potatoes. Most of the people you would invite to dinner are too far away to join you and even if they were close enough, they’re working because they didn’t plan far enough ahead to put American Thanksgiving in their calendar.
Call In “Festive”
You need to have the day off to celebrate American Thanksgiving with any kind of authenticity. I recommend calling in “festive.” No need to make up some excuse, just tell it like it is. “I am celebrating American Thanksgiving so I won’t be in today.” No one can argue with that kind of honesty. I have picked up my phone and called in festive on my children’s behalf. First of all, it’s the right thing to do so school doesn’t worry about your kids and secondly it gives the school secretary a good chuckle.
Side By Side (By Side!)
Get the side dishes in order! It’s all about the green bean casserole and mini marshmallows on your sweet potatoes – go ahead and call them yams if you want to – no one will mind because mini marshmallows are delicious! Thanksgiving might seem to be all about the turkey, but the truth is you could skip it entirely and not miss it in the least. Vegetarians will have a field day celebrating American Thanksgiving because most of the side dishes served alongside the turkey main are veggie based. American Thanksgiving’s side dish game is strong.
I Love A Parade
Tune in to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and watch every last-minute. Especially the super cheesy bit where performers do a little song and dance. No one is taking any chances during a live broadcast, so the performers lip sync. One year Rick Astley Rick Rolled the entire viewing audience. Come on! That’s amazing!
It’s A Miracle
Watch the 1947 original “Miracle on 34th Street.” This is a great opportunity to suspend disbelief and introduce your kids to a true classic of American cinema. It seems so foreign to watch a movie that is quiet and gentle. You can breathe and not feel bombarded with constant witty banter. The story is excellent and if you don’t cry when Kris sings to the little Dutch girl, maybe your heart needs to grow a few sizes.
Have a Fabulous Family Feast – YOUR Way
It’s time for dinner and you are so happy you decided to make all those side dishes after all. You will have leftovers for days! You can open your favourite wine now and serve up supper for your favourite people on the planet. There is nothing like making and sharing a meal with the people who love you the most. It makes all the preparation and cooking worth it. Have an amazing Thanksgiving dinner and enjoy special time with your family.
“Every Time A Bell Rings An Angel Gets His Wings”
Now that you are sufficiently stuffed, it’s time to retire to the sofa to watch “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Thanksgiving kick-starts the Holidays, so get a head start by watching another American classic Christmas movie.
Eat all the pie!
Seriously, If there was ever a day to have your cake and eat it too, American Thanksgiving is the day. You could serve only Apple pie, but you would be doing a disservice to your taste buds and your tummy. There are so many delicious pies to choose from. My first taste of pumpkin pie happened in Texas in my 20’s because, pumpkin simply wasn’t a flavour that this Canadian was crazy over. Sweet Potato pie is another one that might make Canadians scratch their heads, but trust me it’s amazing, plus it has antioxidants so it’s practically health food. All I’m saying is this: life is too short to not eat pie on Thanksgiving.
Haul out the Holly
You could wait until December 1st, but decorating for the Holidays right now while the spirit strikes is very happy making! With your family now comatose from the turkey they won’t even protest if you decide to set up the Nativity in a new way or omit some of the older, worn out decor. Before you know it your halls will be decked and it will be, perhaps for only a fleeting moment, perfect.
Run For The Border
Cross the border and shop ’til you drop! We have been bombarded with Black Friday advertising for a month already. Now’s the time to make a plan, pick up your passport, make a list, grab a sleeping bag and a chair and go wait in line with all the other Black Friday shoppers. Of course there is the sad state of the Canadian dollar to consider this year.
Or, don’t shop at all. Maybe this is the year we take a stand against consumerism. No one will be offended if we don’t shop. REI (Think American MEC) – one of my favourite stores to visit when I lived in Austin, Texas – will not be participating in Black Friday this year. This is a really bold move for a retailer. Maybe there is a paradigm shift on the horizon.
American Thanksgiving Day is not merely a single day set aside to be thankful. Americans are thankful for what they have everyday. It’s as easy to watch TV and get sucked into believing the same silly stereotypes about America as it is for people to believe that my pet polar bear got loose last night and trampled my igloo. Much like our own Thanksgiving in October, it is a celebration of the harvest.
However you choose to spend American Thanksgiving this year, celebrating with your American cousins, keeping traditions alive, preparing for the Holidays to come, or quietly reflecting alone at home or work, just be thankful. We are fortunate in Canada. We have so much to be thankful for. There’s no reason we can’t celebrate twice.
And remember, if you run out of space at your thanksgiving table, don’t invite fewer people, build a longer table.