Woman of the West

Thankful Hearts, and Full Bellies

By Chelsey Becker

One of my favourite holidays has always been Thanksgiving. I love getting together with friends and family, sharing a meal, and enjoying the beautiful fall colours.

Each year, my parents host a big thanksgiving dinner, where friends and family gather to celebrate and give thanks for the many blessings we have in our lives, and appreciate all that has come out of the year past.

This year, the opportunity to see my family will be especially meaningful, as my sisters and I all seem to be scattered all over the place, caught up with our own busy lives. My youngest sister, Kolbie, will be flying in from Saskatoon, where she attends university. My older sister, Sierra, will also join us as she has put down roots at her home in Calgary, Alta., working hard at her career in Human Relations for an oil and gas company.

Having a holiday where we can all be under one roof to enjoy each others company is something that I cherish deeply, the older I get.

What makes for a great thanksgiving celebration, in my opinion,  consists of three things: food, décor, and activities.

My favourite dish that I look forward to every thanksgiving is hands-down my two favourite pies; pumpkin and pecan. My grandma on my Mother’s side of the family always makes an amazing, pillow-y soft pumpkin pie, that tastes amazing, and my grandma on my Father’s side makes the pecan pie, which unlike pumpkin pie, this has been a favourite of mine since childhood, with the sweet buttery filling, and flaky crust, it is heavenly.

When it comes to décor, the most beautiful table scape ties together a thanksgiving theme. My mother has really mastered the art of ‘understanding the assignment’, when it comes to decorating for a holiday. She always starts with a fall theme tablecloth or table runner, then builds from there by adding miniature pumpkins and squash down the centre of the table, some faux leaves, placemats within the fall theme for each guest, silverware and plates, with a autumn floral arrangement as the centrepiece. It may seem daunting to some when it comes to decorating for a thanksgiving gathering, however, do not overwhelm yourself. Start with the basics and build upon that.

As a tradition with my family, each year after we have all filled our bellies with a delicious meal followed by dessert, we all gather around the table and play games. We have done this for as long as I can remember, and it has evolved as my sisters, cousins and I have all gotten older, the games have slowly became more and more fun. What started out as games such as Monopoly and Candyland, has now transitioned to Cards Against Humanity and What Do You Meme. My favourite part is watching my 99 year old great-grandmother participate in these games, and some of the witty clever answers she comes up with has the whole room in tears from laughing so hard.

The essence of thanksgiving, to me, is all about giving thanks for all of the blessings that the past year has brought to us, and appreciate friends and family.

I hope that your thanksgiving gathering, big or small, is full of love, laughter, and joy.