My family is made up of Canadians and Americans which is awesome. This past weekend, my American niece brought a friend to our Thanksgiving gathering . In celebrating her very first Canadian Thanksgiving she asked, “So how do Canadians do Thanksgiving?” It’s a fair question and a much more sophisticated one than “Canadians have their own Thanksgiving?” or “Why don’t you celebrate it at the end of November?” which are two questions I have also been asked. My American nephew has always provided the best possible answer when asked the difference between Canadian and American Thanksgiving: “Same food; different relatives.” There you go.
So while it’s awesome that my family is made up of Canadians and Americans, it is not awesome that they get two Thanksgivings and I only get one. That is for the birds (see what I did there?) and I want in on that!
I have an open invitation to US Thanksgiving from my American family but I have been unable to attend one because the US Thanksgiving does not fall on a Canadian holiday. See, Columbus Day often falls on Canadian Thanksgiving Monday. I must say I really appreciate that Christopher Columbus could coincide his landing in Central America with Canadian Thanksgiving so that so many of my US relatives can join us. While Columbus Day is not a national holiday in the US, it has for the most part been observed by most of the schools my American nieces and nephew attend, and by some US employers.
I now I am thinking that the only way for me to celebrate US Thanksgiving on a regular basis to have a Canadian national holiday coincide with the US one. (I’m a little surprised that no one asked this of our party leaders during the recent national debates but, whatever.)
The problem I’ve run into (which I am guessing the party leaders might already know) is that I cannot come up with a single important historical event that took place in our history at the end of November – one that Canadians can celebrate nationally and that would coincide with US Thanksgiving. This leads me to conclude that Canadians didn’t do much at the end of November other than put their winter tires on, pack their freezers with moose meat and lie dormant for the winter.
We seem to have our own Black Friday now, a spillover from the US tradition of the Friday after Thanksgiving being the busiest shopping day of the year. You can hardly designate Black Friday a holiday though can you? And then there’s Louis Riel’s hanging at the end of November for his part in the North-West Rebellion but that’s hardly a happy occasion to make a national holiday. It is a provincial holiday in Manitoba but in February. I just think it’s a little harsh to ask Americans to change their Thanksgiving holiday to February. Besides, it’s tough to find a live turkey to pardon in February in many parts of North America.
Still, it would be nice to celebrate another Thanksgiving. Plenty to be thankful for … on both sides of the border!
Happy belated Thanksgiving to all my Canadian friends and an early wish to all my American friends for a magnificent Thanksgiving … in November … when I’m out putting on my winter tires … and packing my freezer with moose meat.