Who says boys can’t be cute? I have 3, and they wore these shirts from Super Sweet Creations all last fall and winter for Thanksgiving, Christmas parties, birthdays, and other special occasions. I love having an outfit that gives a nod to a formal event, but is made by someone who clearly understands that kids aren’t miniature adults.
I may be rebellious. I may despise conformity. But I am also, in some things, a creature of habit. During the holidays, for instance, I adore tradition. Until just last year I eschewed the idea of any deviation from what I considered a traditional holiday feast. Especially when the feast was to be had on Thanksgiving.
Turkey, mashed potatoes — in my defense I had deferred many years earlier to the advent of smashed potatoes as a time-saving substitute on this count — green beans, corn, biscuits, gravy, squash, cranberry relish, stuffing. It’s unclear whether or not (most likely not!) those who celebrated the real first Thanksgiving would have considered even a portion of my meal traditional, but my opinions have always stood nonetheless.
He is the belle of the ball; the guest of honor. The main course of today’s American Thanksgiving feast however, is far from anything early Americans would have readily eaten. As consumption rises so must production; with production so must efficiency. Unfortunately efficient is not always humane; efficient is not always pretty.
I often focus on the inherent good in supporting local growers here, in so doing what is left unsaid however, is the inherent evil in not. The health of the local economy, the strengthening of communities, the forging of bonds; these things should be enough. They should be motivation to frequent farmer’s markets instead of chain supermarkets, to purchase vegetables from road-side stands rather than South American imports, but sometimes they’re not. Sometimes being aware of the consequences of choosing to do otherwise trumps. And there is nothing wrong with that.
Vintage fork with hand-hammered message (above) by Wooden Hive.
My business contacts in the US are always surprised when I tell them that my office will be closed at the beginning of October in observance of Thanksgiving. “There’s a *Canadian* Thanksgiving?” they inevitably ask. Why, yes. Yes, there is.
Fall wreath with upcycled tin-can flowers (above) by Custom Created.
Thanksgiving north of the border differs a little from the holiday celebrated by our American friends, but along with the name, there are some traditions that we both share. The similarities include football, family and a propensity towards incredibly cute home and table decorations, as seen throughout this article. You won’t find any pilgrims up here, though; our holiday is an autumn festival to mark the end of the crop season and give thanks for the bountiful harvest.
Handpainted, upcycled record bowl (above) by Eye Pop Art.
While our native peoples have been giving thanks to the land for countless generations before our arrival, the anglo history of Canadian Thanksgiving is a little sketchy in places. The first accounts date back to 1578; when a European explorer held a ceremony to give thanks for surviving a long ocean journey (sound familiar?). In 1872, Thanksgiving was observed in Canada as a civic holiday; however, the date and theme was changed from year to year. Thanksgiving has been celebrated on the second Monday of October, since the passing of an act of Parliament in 1959.
Rustic cutting board/serving platter (above) made from sustainable black walnut by Grey Works Design .
As far as the food is concerned, the Canadian Thanksgiving feast is made up of many of the same foods as the American. Turkey is the traditional main course, although I have seen a few hams hit the table in my time. The roasted bird is, of course, accompanied by sage-spiked stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce. Usual side dishes are mashed potatoes, veggies, squash dishes, breads and salads.
Pumpkin made from vintage 1970s fabric (above) by Whoopsie Daisies
Visitors from the US sitting down at a Thanksgiving feast in Canada will probably notice one glaring omission – in 38 years of giving thanks, I have never had to “pass along” a casserole of cloyingly sweet, marshmallow-topped sweet potatoes. It’s not that we have anything against sweets; we’re just leaving room for pumpkin pie!
Pinecone and wire turkey place card holders (above) by Carrieveau Craft.
I shouldn’t diss the sweet potato casserole, though. I’m sure that Americans need all the energy they can get for Black Friday; an event that, to a casual observer, almost seems to trump Thanksgiving itself in the US. We do not have an equivalent to Black Friday up here, unless you count December 26th (aka Boxing Day), and usually spend the long weekend raking leaves and napping. Oh, the glory of tryptophan!
Cotton/wool acorns with real acorn “hats” (above) by Rose Cottage Boutique 2.
So, there. That’s Canadian Thanksgiving in a nutshell. I would love to hear from readers on both sides of the border – what are you thankful for?
I have always adored misshapen pumpkins most.
I have always preferred imperfection.
That’s why, when last weekend, as I watched my own two girls pick out their yearly jack-o-lantern prospects I was proud to see flattened stems and dented backsides making the cut.