Canadian Thanksgiving is my most favourite holiday! It’s a simple holiday that doesn’t wreak havoc on your schedule, your wallet, your diet, your stress levels. There’s no countless days of planning, shopping, baking, cooking, decorating inside and outside, partying, and wrapping presents. The focus is on great food and good fun shared with family and friends – sometimes, all of which we just take for granted. Yes, my most favourite holiday!
I love that our Thanksgiving is the beginning of October. People often ask why is it a different date from the U.S.? I kind of think it has something to do with the weather. The harvests are plentiful, fresh fruit and vegetables are bountiful and at their peak and nothing has been destroyed by the 1st frost which could happen this time of year. Not likely – but possible. I bought so much delicious locally grown produce – broccoli, cauliflower, heirloom carrots, sweet potatoes, potatoes, mushrooms, pumpkins and fresh pressed apple cider. Yes, my most favourite holiday!
With 14 people coming I didn’t want to cram and cook in the coach and we didn’t need to. We rented the Lakeside Pavilion here at Fifty Point Conservation that came complete with tables, chairs, a small, but efficient, working kitchen and bathrooms. And, it was adjacent to the beach on Lake Ontario and a lovely park area. If the weather was nice – we could be outside. If the weather was inclement – we could be inside – with lots of room for everyone. How perfect was this!
Ashleigh has always been my Thanksgiving “sous chef”. She’s great in the kitchen – she never hesitates to pitch in, she anticipates what needs to be done when and where, she’s great at clean-up and we’re great company for each other. When I asked her if she wanted to come early and help cook and decorate her simple response was “yes, yes, yes”. This is our tradition.
Tables were set up and decorated – there was a dessert table, a craft table, the food table, the prize table and a huge table set with 14 place settings. Plates and extra cutlery were borrowed from our daughter Shannon, platters from my Mom, cake plate and pumpkin vegetable dish from our daughter Ashleigh – all items we no longer owned when moving from our house to the coach.
Not only was the venue perfect – the weather this year was absolutely perfect! Temps in the mid-70’s and lots of sunshine. This was the 1st year everyone was not hanging out in the kitchen!
All were outside drinking a delicious apple sangria that daughter Shannon brought, munching on appetizers grilled by son-in-law Gabe, or made by daughter Jennifer or brought by sister Kelly. There was a fragrant cranberry and apple cider punch warming on the stove. The turkey was roasting nicely, the stuffing was cooking slowly in the Crock Pot, the vegetable sides were ready to go in the oven when the turkey came out and the garlic mashed potatoes were waiting for the stove. Shannon & Gabe’s salad was waiting to be tossed with spiced pumpkin seeds and Jennifer & Rene’s homemade cranberry sauce – made with Grand Marnier – was waiting to be dug into. A veritable feast!
For the 1st time ever – we were sitting down at 4:00 p.m.! Yes, an early dinner so we could continue to play after dinner. Chuck had organized a scavenger hunt! We could play the game, work off some of the turkey dinner and make room for the dessert table. Perfect!
There were 3 teams of 4 people –
the rules were discussed –
and everyone focused on getting their North, South, East and West bearings. Three pages of “stuff” was handed out to each of the teams and they were off. Chuck had even reorganized the hunt for each of the teams so they were all going in different directions.
The teams required a smart phone to take photos, they had to identify tree and leaf types, pick up bottle caps for extra points, throw some Bocce balls into a hula hoop, identify beach rule #3 and decipher the names carved into the beach benches. It wasn’t strenuous or difficult and it was fun for all ages participating – ranging from 6 to 80 years old.
Finally dessert! My Mom’s delicious pumpkin pies and pumpkin cake (all with whipped cream) were passed out, Kelly’s assortment of fresh fruit was devoured and the bag of Lindt chocolate truffles was ransacked.
Prizes were handed out to the winning scavenger hunt team – congratulations Team #2! Sparklers were lit under the pergola – yes, it was dark. Clean-up, tear-down and loading up the truck was a breeze with everyone helping. Another great Thanksgiving Day was ending.
Did I mention this is my most favourite holiday? Happy Thanksgiving everyone!