A Canadica Thanksgiving

We just celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving here (or as we call it, Thanksgiving). I bet you didn’t know that was a thing, did you, America? We have more in common than you think. For example, well, umm.. we all hate Nickelback! That’s one thing I have learned from Canadica so far; everyone hates Nickelback. Except for those millions of people who keep buying their albums. If I could go back to New Years Eve in 1998 when I was stranded in Edmonton and gently encourage my friend’s crappy band “Nickel Back.. because when you buy a pack of smokes, you get the nickel back.. get it?” to invest in the tech boom instead of making music, I totally goddamned would. We all have regrets.

Thanksgiving: A Comparison

If pop culture tells me anything at all, every single family in America has two adorable children. One is a bright but humorless girl who suffers her wiseacre brother. And everyone has a funny grandma. And every year at your Thanksgiving there is some sort of hilarious but totally PG-13 disaster but you overcome it, then join hands and tell everyone what you’re grateful for over a glistening turkey, with that weird sweet potato marshmallow thing. Thanksgiving dinner is just various foodstuffs acting as a vector to get butter in your mouth.

Such a beautiful and enduring image of American Thanksgiving. Courtesy of Bill A on flickr

No one’s uncle shows up and sticks a fork in their forehead trying to do an impression of Ruprecht in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. My Canadian Thanksgiving is a drunk, cracked out version of this:

Maybe that’s just my family.

After eating half your weight, everyone sits like torpid snakes (no judgement, I totally did that too) watching football. It is entirely possible that there is Canadian football on our Canadian Thanksgiving, but I don’t watch that stuff. I bet you didn’t know we had that either. It’s like American football, but our players still need to work at Home Depot (also something we have here) in the off-season to pay their roommate back all that rent. There’s one less down and it’s a bigger field, plus everyone is tired from doing inventory at Home Depot. I don’t even know what that means, I am just typing as my husband talks. Our Olympic athletes are also treated in the same way, except for the hockey players who are revered like gods and whose feet never touch the bare ground.

Canada, according to our football fans. Is that prettier, Speaker7? Would you stick your Florida in us now? – Image via CFL.ca

And the next day, Canadians just go back to our regular lives and vaguely ponder our Halloween costumes rather than trampling each other to death for heavily discounted consumer goods in the name of saving the economy.

Although now that Target is coming to Canada, I could get behind a good trampling. Photo by Michael Holden on flickr

But most importantly, American Thanksgiving is steeped in lore. The drama of it all; starving pilgrims reaching out to people their ancestors would later slaughter with smallpox blankets and taking their precious winter stores because they were too arrogant to copy native farming methods. Oh, the richness. We have no such Thanksgiving tale. There’s no pageantry. You’re lucky to get a hand turkey from your kids, much less have them dress up like adorable little pilgrims for stage a production worthy of Broadway.

Iconic image of child labour for a lovingly detailed recreation of Thanksgiving’s origins. Image via dvdtalk.com

I had to make my own hand turkey. Thanks for nothing, daycare.

This makes me sad. We just sit around and stuff our faces and drink enough booze to cope with our family with no real purpose. It’s basically the same as Christmas.

So here’s my proposition. Write our Thanksgiving story. Make it sing. To sweeten the deal, I will send the winner the original hand turkey featured in this post if they’re demented enough to want it. I think it would make a charming hostess gift for American Thanksgiving, or a lucky Canadian could use to heat their house for winter. Those pipe cleaners weren’t free, you guys.

Post your stories by midnight on Sunday, October 14th and I will choose a winner before the next Canadica post goes up next week. You can either post in the comments below, or if it’s long and you’re really inspired post to your own blog and put the link in here.

For more general holiday disaster ideas, visit the Rollergiraffe on her blog at rollergiraffe.com.

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39 thoughts on “A Canadica Thanksgiving

  1. My husband (whose Father is Canadian) is absolutely convinced that all Canadian holidays are modeled after the US. Even the timing. Is he arrogant or what? I do like Target, but no store sees me on the day after our Thanksgiving!

    • We are kind of lazy that way. Or maybe you guys are just so good we want to copy you? Kind of sneaky of us to schedule it a month early so it looks like we did it first. And yeah, Christmas shopping makes me want to go lay down on the best of days, never mind when I am fighting for my life.

  2. Hilarious post! Love how you made the Canadian map look pretty, with the tongue-in-cheek reference to Speaker7 and all.
    I get most of my Canada trivia from HIMYM, including this one!
    But, I have a genuine doubt: I thought people got into national level sports mainly so that they don’t have to work at places like Home Depot!

    • It’s totally true that most CFL players need to work at regular jobs. We only have 8 teams in the league and for a while two of them were named the Roughriders. Obviously we’re not taking football very seriously up here.

  3. After all that eating, I don’t know how you can roll yourselves to work the next day. I use the days after American Thanksgiving just to drop the fork and step away from the table!

  4. In sixth grade we had to submit a written project (nothing major, some writing and pics) on various countries. I was given Canada. Ashamed to say I remember none of a bunch of facts I had written about. I’m guessing Canadian Thanksgiving might have been a part of it.
    Now that I’m in the USA, shopping for electronics the day after Thanksgiving is the only silver lining. So it seems annoying that you don’t have doorbusting sales after Canadian Thanksgiving.

    • Thanks to internet advancements we just take advantage of your sales. And we’re fresher because we’ve had two months to work off that turkey.

  5. Story entry:
    The Pilgrims were sailing across the sea and decided to have a race to get to the New World. Some smarter, thinner, and more polite folks broke off to the north and glittery dolphins guided them to a land they now call Canada. The rest of the less smart, more fatter, less polite folks went south and slammed into a big rock called Plymouth. Needless to say, the dolphin-aided nice guys got there first, and so they get to have Thanksgiving sooner in the year than their American fatass neighbors to the south. You know, kinda like how the states battle it out for who gets to have their primary election first, because we’re all mature like that.
    So good job, Canadians. You have your Thanksgiving first. But we get to be fatter.
    The End.

  6. RG, Americans have Thanksgiving in November, always on a Thursday and those who are crazy enough to go shopping on Black Friday for sales that will appear again before the next holiday, well I can’t explain that phenomena since I’ve never participated. The feasts sound about the same but it’s much warmer here — in some places. From doing extensive research about Canada’s Thanksgiving history, here’s a short story.

    “O Canada and O Thanksgiving”

    In the late 1500s, a group of British dudes led by Martin Frobisher wanted to find the Northwest Passage in Canada (they enjoyed freezing, ice storms and furry clothing). They encountered freak ice storms (duh, it’s Canada) and lost a boat of two. The ones that made it loaded their boats up with what they thought was gold and went back to England. It turned out to be fossilized poutine when it melted.

    Then some French dudes tried it — embarking to Canada, liked the cold, bear meat and poutine and stayed. They started a celebration and from that day on, Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving adding turkey and other American and French-like fare to their celebration. They found a few oddly-shaped branches and swatted a small, fossilized brick of poutine around and established their enduring love of hockey and lived happily ever after.

    The end.

    P.S.. Your lovely Canadian Thanksgiving art is quite fetching.

  7. Ohhhh, SNAP. Now you’re going to make me wish I were good with the fiction stuff so I could create a Canadian Thanksgiving History. I’ll have to mull this one over.

    Great post, RG!! And you get bonus points for posting that clip of one of my favorite scenes from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

  8. Dammit. Now I have to exert effort to get that hand turkey I suddenly covet like it was the Friday after American Thanksgiving. How can I possibly think after eating an entire bag of mini-mound candy bars? Those were for the Halloween by the way, but I think the children preferred I have them because of the Christmas spirit or something I made up.

  9. Canadain Thanksgiving Story – written in 6 minutes…

    One day Canada looked to its neighbor to the South and noticed the majority of them appeared to be giving ‘The Americas’ a bad name. “Ugly Americans” if you will.
    Canada pondered what it could to do differentiate itself from Ugly America aka The United States of Arrogance. Hmmm…let’s have a day where we celebrate, with food, the blessings bestowed upon Canada – let us sing a song of of six and twenty blackbirds baked in a hockey puck…no wait – let’s ditch that and just be fucking Thankful we’re Canada and not America. HUZZAH!

    It sucked but – well, I only had 6 minutes.

    OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA!OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA!OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA!OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA!OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA!OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA!OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA!OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA!OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA!OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA!OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA!OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA! OKLAHOMA!

  10. this is feckin’ hilarious… i think my favorite line was “…the pilgrims who were starving because they were too arrogant to copy native farming methods…” dear god, i nearly died. and how true, how true. i also think there should be an entire post done on canadian football. i didn’t even know that existed! i thought it was all hockey and curling! okay, no i didn’t. well, yes, i did, sort of. regardless, i’ve always wondered about canadian thanksgiving and now i know! i shall promote on today’s bloggedy blog! seriously, loved, roller, LOVED!!

    • Thanks SM. You have an intimidating group of people blogging over here, just trying to keep up. Canadian football does deserve a post of it’s own. And someone should really explain curling, which is second only to cricket in “mystifyingly entertaining sports”.

      • i loved, loved this post. and i’m pimping it on my site. so, you’ll get some more views today. it made me laugh, it opened me eyes, what more could canadica ask for besides free healthcare? nothing, i say, nothing! viva la canadica! xo, sm

  11. I was going to write the Canadian Thanksgiving version of Fifty Shades of Grey, which included Ana getting her turkey stuffed. Then I remembered that no one has sex on Thanksgiving. They try to have sex, but instead pass out from all the food and alcohol.

    Okay, that was funnier in my head, but whatever. I gave it a shot.

    Oh, and my hubby’s birthday buddy is the lead singer from Nickelback. I never ever mock him for this because that would just be mean… And it’s not his fault that he was born on the same day as a guy who likes to write love ballads about prison.

  12. Well, first let me thank you for visiting my site. “Thank you.”
    First time to this site and am confused. Is this equal time Canada and America or 3/4’s Canada and 1/4thh America? Not that I find, I am just trying to figure out this site. Interesting idea, hand turkeys and the one you made. I haven’t seen one of those since elementary school some . . . well, how long ago really doesn’t matter.

    Will follow you to see where this blog has been and where it goes. With Christmas approaching, I am sure there will be lots of stories on the difference between how Canadians celebrate and Americans.

    Why are Canadians not called Americans? The country is in North America? Just wondering.

    • the way it goes is – american writer, canadian writer, american writer, canadian writer – the only stipulation is to talk about america and or canada. i would agree that most posts have skewed canada, but who knows — time may change all that. AND i think today’s post ‘i married a french canadian’ hits the tone of america/ canada the best. and hey, we need each other — after all, i’ve just seen ‘argo’. loool. xo, sm

  13. Yes, our Thanksgiving story truly is beautiful. I helped in a kindergarten class once and a little boy was telling his story of Thanksgiving. “And when the Pilgrims came the Indians were surprised because they had never seen real people before.” Sadly, I know certain radio show hosts who would agree with him.

    My daughter’s teacher made up this charming ditty sung to the tune of “The Wheels on the Bus” about a farmer trying to get a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. There was much “No, no, no” from the turkey and “Bang, bang, bang” from the pilgrim and I kinda lost my appetite.

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