Thanksgiving Canada Style

Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s Thanksgiving weekend in Canada.

Which is great.

But, how do Canadians celebrate the day?

I still don’t really know the answer to this question and I’m on my third year in the country!

The first year, we spent it with some of The Canadian’s friends. I’d been in the country some 3 weeks, so it was all pretty new to me.

The following year, The Canadian and I were preparing for his deployment. He left 2 days later. We had fun making a big thanksgiving meal for friends who were also in Edmonton. It was really fun, but somewhat tinged with sadness for the two of us.

Last year, we spent time with The Canadian’s mum, but having just moved into our first house some 14 days earlier, we were not particularly focused on thanksgiving.

So, this year celebrates my fourth thanksgiving.

I have no idea how to celebrate it. Canadians seem to enjoy sitting around and eating food together. After that, it seems pretty much like a ‘anything goes’, similar to the way that people around the globe celebrate Christmas.

I’m really not one for sitting around and discussing everything that I’m grateful for. I find it awkward and uncomfortable, which is odd, because I’ve never had a problem expressing love and gratitude through writing. I try to express gratitude throughout the year, but it is nice to have a day dedicated to it, unlike in the UK, where Thanksgiving doesn’t really ‘happen’.

In an attempt to try to appropriate the day to work for my little family (including the cats and, in the spirit of the day, I’ll also include the bloomin’ ladybirds that seem to have taken residence in my house!), I decided to start my own mini traditions. By starting my own traditions I develop my own warm, cosy and happy feelings about the day. This would be fantastic because quite often I just don’t get excited about thanksgiving, it’s just not a big deal to me, even though I desperately want it to be.

{Initially, we’d planned to go to my mother in law’s home for Thanksgiving but The Canadian is not well today, so instead, we are going to watch Disney films and eat left over curry…and visit the paint store. Yup, because making our home exciting makes us excited!}

Having decided to mindfully enjoy my experiences here, I am going to list some of the more positive aspects of my life, especially the ones that make me feel most thankful, because apparently that’s what you do, or am I mixing it up with the American traditions?! Either way…here goes:

  • I am thankful that I decided to travel first class on 26th October 2008 (just saying)
  • I am grateful for the amazing support of my parents and mother-in-law during 2011-2012, that was a particularly rough period and without that support I would have been so alone.


  • I am overjoyed that I have friends and family that I love. Friends and family around the globe, on different continents, countries and cities, with different religions, social outlooks, passions and purposes. I have friends in Prescott, Kingston, Edmonton, Heidelberg, Leeds, Manchester, Tripoli… that is amazing. If you had told me that I would have friends all over the globe when I was little, I just wouldn’t have believed you, it’s truly magical and baffling but I am genuinely grateful for those friendships. Especially the ones that pushed me to stay in touch when I was going through dark periods in my life. I feel truly loved by my friends and my family and I am so grateful for that love.
  • Although I am sometimes sad that I don’t have a tight knit circle of friends that I see regularly and often, I know that this is because I have travelled and moved pretty consistently since I was 22. I have been lucky to have the ability to reside in two different countries, when some people are not safe to reside in any.


  • I am grateful that this year, I am able to eat. It’s a small thing to me but it’s a big deal to so many people around the globe.


  • My mum used to always disagree with me. I hated it, but in a different light, it made me comfortable disagreeing with other people and being ok with it. Although, mum, you can stop now… I’ve learnt my lesson! AGREE WITH ME, always.


  • I’m thankful my mother in law is not typical. I enjoy that she’s a secret hippy at heart, although she will likely disagree with this


  • I’d like to express my gratitude to two friends in particular. There was my childhood friend, the one who exposed me to a different way of the world, before the world became anti-anything different. She was and continues to be amazing. We were so different but we were the best of friends. Thank you for your patience with me during those incredibly difficult moments. Oh, and that time that I fell in the mud and you totally made it ok because you were confident where I was not. Secondly, to the friend I met at university. The one who grew with me and who never judged me. The one that offers to pay for me come back to England and will have rants with me about everything possible, send me chocolate and tell me when I’m being ridiculous. She also sends me very practical advice when I’m panicking, like ‘maybe a bath will help’. See, sensible because baths help everything. I am grateful for all of the beautiful people in my life, but the two of you are really amazing.
  • Finally, I am grateful for The Canadian. I don’t often talk of him on here, but he’s always there. Sometimes, he’ll just tell me to go and do something creative. Other times, he’ll sit and listen to me as I tearfully explain that I feel lost/miss home/miss British Christmas. Then there are the times he’ll drive around Edmonton searching for a duck and will reluctantly happily pay $80 for an organic, freerange, tiny duck so that I will have a bit of a England at Christmas. He will happily attend appointments I set up and have long discussions as I rearrange our entire finances. He will listen to my big plans for renovation and set up a Pinterest board to make sure that we can both stay up to date with what my plans are. Generally, he’s pretty cool and I am grateful for his affection and presence in my life.

Are you celebrating thanksgiving? How do you celebrate it? How do you get that ‘thanksgiving’ feeling?

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