Monday, November 8, 2010

The Americans Have It Right...

We Canadians do have a tendency to be just a tad patronizing about our friends to the south. Secretly, I think we are a bit envious of their confidence, their bravado, their intense nationalism. Canadians outwardly view it as being kind of tacky but secretly, we are just as arrogant about our country, we just think that we are better than all that and don't show it publicly. We are often confused by American politics and, sorry to any U.S. friends who disagree, but the right to bear arms and the fear of government run health care is completely incomprehensible to the vast majority of Canadians. I grew up with hippie-socialist parents and there are aspects of the uber-capitalist American system that are perplexing to me.

On the other hand, one way in which I think our friends to the south truly have it right is the date of Thanksgiving. Here in Canada, Thanksgiving is celebrated the second Monday of October. It's a gorgeous time of year, all golds and rusts and warm autumn sunlight and richly blue skies. The air smells of leaves with a hint of bonfire and our tables and grocery stores and farmers markets groan from the abundance of the harvest. It's wonderful. We try to stretch it until Halloween and then... nothing. The horrible Halloween-to-Advent stretch of nothing.

I woke up this morning in a horrible mood. I hate November. I hate the clocks falling back. I hate the trees with no leaves, the drizzly almost-but-not-quite snow, the grey skies that seem to last for days, the driving-in-the-dark to almost everything. The only promise is of Christmas and while nobody loves Christmas more than me, I know that if we allow ourselves to get dragged into it during the month of November, it will be tired and faded by December 25th. If we had Thanksgiving to look forward to, the bleakness would be broken up and there would be something to look forward to that is less than a month away.

I have been pondering how to make November more interesting. There's Remembrance Day but while it is a significant and poignant event, it isn't exactly uplifting and a bright spot in the month. There's the starting to get ready for Christmas but it's still a bit early for the cooking (unless you are soaking fruitcake and given how I feel about fruitcake, that won't be happening here). There is no long weekend, no decorations, no special food, no excuse to get together with friends or family. If we had a family birthday this month (like some of my special friends, Kittenpie!), it might give us something to lighten the mood but all of our birthdays happen around the summer (a few just before, one just after).

If you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them. Right now, I just want to hibernate until first Advent. I really want to make the most of my time off and I don't want to just wish this month away but I find the darkness really discouraging. I'd love to hear how everyone else makes the month more fun.


  1. Just make a big, American Thanksgiving meal and be thankful for all your American friends : )

    Why not?

    I've never liked November much either....until I moved to the pacific northwest. Here, it is truly still autumn. Leaves are still changing colors and falling off the trees. There are no signs of snow or winter yet. It's great to have another genuine month of autumn.

    So my second suggestion would be to move here. You will have a longer fall AND you could celebrate American Thanksgiving!

  2. You make it sound tempting, Jill, especially if I could have you as a neighbour! Thank you!

  3. We go to the Royal Winter Fair most years - in fact, every year but this, when Misterpie was too sick to contemplate it last night. :(

  4. The Royal is a good idea. I think when Pk is older, we will do the T.O. Santa Claus parade, too. I thought about bringing Pk down to the Royal but we would either have to go on a weekend with the crazy crowds or I would have to take both of them on my own and I just don't feel up to it.
    I hope Misterpie is feeling better!