~ We Gather Together ~ and Stuff Ourselves ~

English: Bow Bridge over The Lake in Central P...

English: Bow Bridge on Thanksgiving Day 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

~ we gather, we give thanks, and we eat ~

This is an edited version of my weekly newspaper column and though it is early it will serve to whet your appetite for the coming weekend if you are Canadian. I know that many of my readers are not Canadian but I think you may find a few things you can relate to:

“We gather together” are the introductory words of the first verse of a hymn sung traditionally at Thanksgiving. And it very aptly sums up one of the best attributes of Thanksgiving—it brings us together at a table heavily laden with harvest food.

A Canadian living in the United States wrote an article in the October edition of Chatelaine magazine comparing Canadian Thanksgiving with American Thanksgiving. Samantha See’s article, “Turkey Takedown” concluded that: “…we gather. And we dine. And we make a huge mess. But mostly we hang out and talk over each other and laugh and argue and fall asleep on the couch zoned out on tryptophan.”

The big difference between our Thanksgiving and our neighbour to the south, says See, is that we are the “first out of the gate” in that we celebrate in October and not November. Even though we cannot lay claim to the Pilgrims we “celebrate all the same, and Give Thanks and have Family Feasts, and all those good things.” That to me is Thanksgiving in a wonderful nutshell. On both sides of the border.

Sure the Americans throw in some parades and their Thanksgiving seems to be the harbinger of the holiday season, but if we look at in another way—our holiday season is even longer, because we start sooner. The point See makes is that “as long as you celebrate, haul that whole family together, and break bread in some way”, Thanksgiving has been appropriately commemorated.

She also makes the very salient point that Thanksgiving is the beginning of the “eating season”—a time of year when she bakes herself “into a woman-sized shortbread cocoon” and spends “two and a half months eating (her) way out.”

I think that the majority of us love Thanksgiving with all the fixings. I would love Thanksgiving even more if I were not the one in charge of fixing it, but over the years I have learned a number of ways to make that part of the equation easier. At the advice of a friend, I now buy a turkey that needs neither days of thawing nor the stuffing of its interior. No handling an unwieldy bird for me (but now I have to find something new to complain about).

Thanksgiving is important for so many reasons—the food, the giving of thanks, the camaraderie, but most important is the first three words of that hymn written originally in 1597: “WE GATHER TOGETHER”.

Happy Thanksgiving to all, and to all a good appetite.

Thanksgiving Day Greetings

Thanksgiving Day Greetings (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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42 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Just planned our Thanksgiving menu….varies a bit from year to year, love the whole meaninof being grateful and great excuse for eating too much and getting together with loved ones. Wishing you a very happy Thanksgiving, Lou.

    • email me what is on your menu — and of course I send you a happy Thanksgiving back – does feel good to be grateful for stuffing ourselves doesn’t it

  2. I am already loosening my belt in anticipation. My husband hasn’t let me in on the menu yet – it could be ham and scalloped potatoes or turkey and stuffing – either way, I’m a very happy camper zoned out on the chesterfield afterwards. Or at least after the massive clean-up has ended. With luck there will be pumpkin pie and ice cream too. Oh, I am so hungry right now..

    • the people at my house insist on whipped cream with their pumpkin pie–this was not a tradition at my house when I was growing up — I like the sounds of ice cream

      ham and scalloped potatoes would be good in my books

      • We do whipped cream too sometimes – and always a drizzle of maple syrup. Yum. Definitely a belt loosening kind of meal.

      • maple syrup – how very Cdn of you — think I will give it a try- sounds deliciously evil

  3. I’m really looking forward to seeing our two kids this weekend. They will be driving in. We now live 2 1/2 hours away and I miss them terribly.

    • That will be great – my son who is at college will be home too–my other son lives here in town–but it is nice to have family home isn’t it? Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. I’m Canadian and I love Thanksgiving for all that it means…like you said the food, the getting together and a time especially to give thanks for all that we have in our wonderful country ..especially our freedoms….Have a wonderful Day….Dianec

    • It is a great Holiday with so many wonderful meanings – Happy Thanksgiving to you!

  5. This US citizen enjoyed your post and loved the photo and postcard.
    I hope you have a wonderful giving-of-thanks-together time!

  6. Love this one Lou!
    my daughter and I were just starting our plans…
    this is a feel good post, I enjoyed it!
    Take Care..

  7. I am sure you will have an incredible Thanksgiving my friend, one of the holidays we miss in Australia – however I love seeing its celebrations in American tv shows!

    Choc Chip Uru

    • Thank you for your nice wishes – it would be interesting to find out what holidays you celebrate and when – we should do a blog about that sometime

  8. At our house to kick off the holiday season, we first have a Practice Thanksgiving. This year is the twelfth Practice Thanksgiving and it will be celebrated on Oct 27th (it is a floating holiday so as to accommodate the most family and friends.) I make the turkey, stuffing, etc but each guest brings a dish as well. After the meal but before the dessert we take a nice stroll around the neighborhood to get some fresh air and make room for pie. It is very casual and a lot of fun.

    I have yet to host a real Thanksgiving but I will be ready when that day comes. 🙂

    • I like that – a practice Thanksgiving — you must be getting really good at it — have fun

  9. Happy Canadian Thanksgiving! I agree that the best part of the holiday is coming together as a family. In my book, I don’t really care about Thanksgiving other than as a time to recharge with the fam and express gratitude for all that is good in your life. 🙂 Of course, the feasting doesn’t hurt.

  10. I love Thanksgiving, the season, the food, the coming together of family. It is a wonderful time for memories, and an ample time for old traditions to flourish and new traditions to arise.

    Adieu, scribbler

    • a wonderful summary – you should have written this 🙂

      • Thank you so much and my small piece did not even brush the elegance of yours 🙂

        Adieu, scribbler

      • why thank you –what a lovely compliment! 🙂

  11. Happy Thanksgiving to you! Maybe I’ll cook a turkey in solidarity, and also as a warmup for next month’s Thanksgiving!

    • a practice run — I like it! Thanks for the warm greetings (I know they are warm because they are from you)

  12. Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours 🙂

  13. I am one of your sisters to the South and am now very excited to gather together a month or so from now. Happy Thanksgiving to you!

    • When I went to university, some of my roommates were from the States so I got to celebrate Thanksgiving twice — those were the days! I remember my mom talking to me on the phone (I was in residence) and walking me through turkey preparation for the November feast

  14. This makes me wish we had some kind of Thanksgiving celebration here in Australia all the more!

    Last year, my friends and I held one anyway, although it was admittedly more in the spirit of DELICIOUS NORTH AMERICAN/CANADIAN FOOD than actual thanks. Whoops!

    Thank you for the wonderful post, and I hope you have a great Thanksgiving!

    • You need no excuse to celebrate – I am glad you got in the spirit – thanks for the well wishes

  15. Happy Thanksgiving! This is my husband’s favorite holiday by far…and he does ALL of the cooking so all I have to do is sit back and stuff myself.

    • sounds like a great deal to me–and from what I know of you–you deserve it!

      • haha! I do, don’t I? lol

  16. Happy Thanksgiving to you!

  17. Wonderful story. This is why Thanksgiving will always be special. Love this one, ” We gather, we give thanks, we eat.”

  18. I enjoyed this post as always.
    Although we are in the UK, I have a Thanksgiving Dinner for friends (family are too far away) and have done so for years. I have a fabulous sweet potato recipe from my sister-in-law in Atlanta, an amazing Apple pie recipe from my sister in Prescott. I don’t roast a turkey at this point as we do that at Christmas but I do make a delicious turkey dish with stuffing and bacon. This year we will be away but I shall think of you this weekend and my American friends in a few weeks’ time.
    Have a wonderful dinner!

  19. Meant to say, I’d love to have one of your recipes to add! That would be lovely! 🙂

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