Duelling Thanksgivings: Canada Vs The USA
In Canada, where I live, this is our Thanksgiving Day.
But our Thanksgiving doesn’t have the iconic quality of Thanksgiving in the US.
Nobody has ever made a dysfunctional family movie centerd around Thanksgiving in Canada, whereas in the US, these movies, and there are many of them, get huge streaming spikes on that long weekend.
Yeah, we Canadians are a different breed. We don’t have wall-to-wall sporting events designated specially for Thanksgiving.
Our Thanksgiving always falls on a Monday, which means a long weekend for most people. Whereas in America, Thanksgiving is always on a Thursday and closer to Christmas. So naturally that creates this huge enforced retail selling opportunity now referred to as Black Friday.
This is where people battle it out for deals, all energized up on the massive turkey dinner they had the evening before and bound and determined to get their Christmas shopping done in one fell swoop and at a discounted price. Anybody who tries to impede that mission does so at their own personal risk.
In Canada, our Thanksgiving is usually right at the true beginning of the autumn season, so we can bugger off out into the boonies and watch the leaves gloriously change colour, buy some apple cider at a roadside stand and all that other good autumn stuff.
In America, with Thanksgiving in November, the chances of being caught in a blizzard and having a hell of a time getting to where everybody else is can be a very real risk, and Plan Bs are hard to come by as it is the most heavily traveled day of the year in the country by bus, car, train and air.
Common Values Common Ground
You might say that the differences between our Thanksgivings, and the accompanying rituals and ordeals, are very much a metaphor that defines our differences as countries
But then again, it’s these differences that make us both unique entities in the world as free countries, and such good neighbors.
But aside from the differences, there is one main value that we share, and that is, that somewhere, and sometimes it’s way in the back our our minds, is an appreciation for what this holiday actually means.
Traditionally, Thanksgiving was a feast to celebrate the fall harvest and acknowledge that everybody’s hard work would ensure them enough food to survive till more or less the same time next year.
Nowadays, the meaning of Thanksgiving has changed somewhat, since many of us no longer face those obstacles. So it has become, in part, a time to reflect on the things in life we are thankful for.
My Personal Thanksgiving List
Well there’s quite a bit. I have my health for which I am constantly grateful.
I have a family that is still slightly dysfunctional, but not to the point of estrangement. Not even close.
I have two kids who are happy, successful and good friends. I have kids-in-law whom I love like my own because they genuinely love my kids.
I have grandkids who light up my life, one of whom is quickly turning into a bit of an introspective armchair philosopher like his grandpa. The other is just real happy.
I have a wife who has stuck with me through a ton of shit, and remains a genuine leaning post in my life and I love her for that.
I have a sister and brother and half sister who are the salt of the earth, and whom we will be soon moving to be closer to.
I am thankful for my brain that allows me to write both the things I have to write to make a living and the things I love to write for myself and others.
But mostly I am thankful to be living in a country that makes all the things I am personally thankful for possible. A country that, for all its worts, foibles and shortcomings in the grandiose scheme of things, is filled to the brim with good, solid, caring, honest, hardworking people that I am proud to call fellow Canadians.
There is really and truly no other place I would want to call home on this planet right now.
And the gratitude I feel for the good fortune that I have been given is off the charts.
My Thanksgiving wish is that each and every one of you feel the same way about your situation, and will always have a lot to be thankful for whenever Thanksgiving rolls around.
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All content copyright 2016 Jim Murray.