So much to be thankful for

Today is Thanksgiving Day in Canada. Thanksgiving is an important holiday for me. I’m actually quite thankful that it’s a holiday that Canadians celebrate. Though it felt strange at first to celebrate it 6 weeks earlier than I did back home, it would have been stranger still not to celebrate it at all.

One might ask why a day needs to be set aside to practice thankfulness. Perhaps we shouldn’t have to have a special day to be grateful for our blessings. But I truly love the traditions around Thanksgiving. The food preparation that is done as an act of love toward family and/or friends. The hours of visiting, because you have time to do so. The banter and togetherness. Sitting down to a meal with people you may not often have the opportunity to see, much less enjoy a leisurely day together.

What is ingrained in me from my early Thanksgiving memories is staying up until all hours of the night to make what seemed like a dozen pies. The smiles of greeting on faces of family members who saw each other once a year. Watching all of the aunts and one uncle in the kitchen bustling about to finalize all the meal preparations. My aunts telling me how I was expected to help, knowing I better hop-to and not really minding. We all pulled our weight, until the football games started. ;)

At our family gatherings, we played croquet, went canoeing, motor boating, played in the trees around the house, dug out board games and coaxed other cousins into playing. The possibilities were endless while all of the adults made time to visit. Sometimes, one of my aunts or cousins would French braid my (usually very long) hair for me. One time my dad fell out of the canoe into the river and had to wear my cousin’s spare set of all-black biker clothes. We all thought that was pretty funny. Those family gatherings were special because we all made a special effort to be together.

These days, Thanksgiving celebrations with my family are quite a bit more tame, quiet (sort of) and cozy - usually consisting of myself, Matt, Brandon and Matt’s parents. It’s become a tradition for us to host Thanksgiving dinner and I hope we continue to for as long as everyone still wants to do it. I don’t have time to make extravagant dinners very often, so Thanksgiving is a treat for me. I love whipping everything up from scratch - except for the pumpkin in my pies; that comes from a can. I’ve even got the prep work down to less than a day, but we spread it out over longer to keep from going crazy. I’m rather proud of being able to do it, especially since I don’t particularly enjoy cooking day-to-day.

It’s kind of interesting to me that this holiday revolves so much around food. But when I think about my own reasons for enjoying making the dinner, I realize I have the answer to why food is such an integral part. Because it’s a symbol of caring. Nurturing. Provision. Food is a basic need and the provision of it is a gift to those we love who gather with us. Showing with actions that they care. That they are thankful for you being in their life.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends and family in Canada! How are you celebrating this year and what are your favorite traditions?

*****

The photos in this post are part of a 1-day photo project started by Andrea at a peek inside the fishbowl. Yesterday was 10-10-10. So, to commemorate this rare date all who were interested committed to taking one picture per hour for 10 hours. The rest of my photos are here.