Thanksgiving Ideas

It is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada. Take some inspiration from my Thanksgiving festivities last year. Because this year? It ain’t happening.

Harvest table in room surrounded by built in bookcases set for Thanksgiving dinner with blue and white plates and rustic dahlia flower arrangement in centre of table.

Last year I had weeks to plan and get ready for Thanksgiving dinner at my house. This year? This year there is no dinner. Coronavirus cases are rising faster than sourdough starter at a homesteading convention.

A week ago the Ontario government shut down any hopes of a big Thanksgiving dinner. You’re allowed to haveeee Thanksgiving, you just can’t have anyone into your house who doesn’t already live there.

Except maybe you can. But you shouldn’t. But maybe outside? But stay 6′ apart. Forget it. Our family is taking a holiday from the holiday. Our individual families are staying separate with some of us ordering in Thanksgiving dinner, some of us making a small dinner just for the family and some of us are smarter than everyone else and plan to eat the cases of mini chocolate bars we thought we might need but probably won’t for Halloween.

So this year it’s me, my cat Ernie and Halloween candy. Ernie is antisocial and an introvert and rarely leaves her room unless it’s to come downstairs for a glass of whiskey. So really it’s just me and the Snickers.

The photos throughout this post are from last Thanksgiving. I didn’t share them at the time because I took them on the day I had Thanksgiving dinner *just* before everyone showed up. And then promptly forgot all about them.

As it turns out, that was serendipitous because even though I’m not having Thanksgiving this year I still have lots of new photos to share.

Thanksgiving 2019

As soon as everyone entered my property they were greeted by these individual harvest baskets they got to take home. Only what they didn’t know is they were just there for a pretty picture and they weren’t actually allowed to take them.

Just kidding.

They got to take them.

Each basket had a mason jar of cut flowers from the garden and then a variety of things from the vegetable garden like squash, some carrots, peppers and potatoes.

A couple of urns with a pyramid of white pumpkins flanked the stairs to my back door.

Because I don’t have a ton of room leftover in the dining room once the extensions are in the table, and the kitchen becomes a gong show the minute the first person arrives, I set up a couple of cake stands in the front foyer to put the pies on, along with mismatched flow blue and transferware plates and cutlery.

Every year I host Thanksgiving dinner. Each family member has an assigned holiday dinner and Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve are mine. I try to make Thanksgiving feel … Thanksgivingy? In Canada, Thanksgiving really revolves around the end of the harvest so I went without putting down any tablecloth or even place mats so the actual harvest table could be seen.

Napkins were folded in half and set under everyone’s plates. None of the plates match, but they’re all either ironstone or flow blue and so are all the serving pieces. Nothing matches but it all goes together.

I like Thanksgiving to feel homey and comfortable, you know? Not overly fancy. At the same time I want it to look pretty and feel special.

So the butter is on a slightly chipped dish, but I took a toothpick and carved a little wheat field into it.

Carving butter like this is FUN. Just chill the butter and draw on it with a toothpick.

Obviously if you have butter out you’re going to need a big whack of freshly baked bread. THIS is the first loaf of bread I made with the wheat that I grew, threshed, winnowed and ground myself.

That was back in the olden days, a year ago, when baking your own bread was for fun, not a compulsive reaction to to the end of civilization.

The table setting was adorned with this a single casual jug of dahlias and amaranth.

This year the table is adorned with a couple of loads of laundry in need of folding. The wood underneath glows with the shine of a thousand tears.

Oh wait, no, I think that’s just whiskey.

Thanksgiving Ideas


  1. Chela says:

    I love your butter idea. Mine invariably has a paw print and a lick mark on it… I think a harvest drawing is more appealing! Your resilient sense of humor is really a boon!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Chela! One New Years Day we all watched my mother’s cat as it sat on the buffet licking all the icing off the cake, lol. Animals. 🙄 ~ karen!

  2. Gaye Baxter says:

    Hi Karen, I wish you could be my neighbor. Kinda like the fellow with a sweater. But much more chic and with a wonderful sense of humor. Thanks for spreading joy in this strange and stressful year. I really enjoy your escapecades and decor.

  3. Robin Carter says:

    Sorry to see you and some of your readers are dragging politics into what used to be a fun blog.
    C ya!

    • Karen says:

      Robin. From the point of view of the rest of the world, this isn’t American politics – it’s a humanitarian crisis. ~ karen

      • Laurie Goetzl says:

        Thanks Karen. This is a terrible year. So many of us in the U.S. have lost so many they love to this virus. Maybe it has to happen to people personally before they understand the magnitude.

        I love your dishware. Probably gonna start another collection!

        -Laurie from San Francisco

  4. Michelle says:

    Thanks, as always, for the beauty & the much needed laughs.

  5. Judith says:

    I have enjoyed your site for quite some time now. I will miss you and some of the other fine folks here. Must admit though, that the contempt, veiled and obvious for my country, is something I will not miss.

  6. attygreen13 says:

    You gotta watch this, Karen. I rolled, especially the yam part 😂

  7. Patricia says:

    I bought two infrared chandelier-type patio heaters for the pergola on our deck. We have a month and a half yet, and harvest to finish, and it could be snowing where we live by that time…. but I’m still hoping!
    Thank you for the gorgeous ideas, the photos of your hard work, the laughs.

  8. Christine Hilton says:

    Thanks for being a good Canadian! We too are giving up Thanksgiving this’s the right thing to do.
    I have been cleaning out my basement and l have some old blue and white pieces l think you should have.l need them to go where l know they will be loved and it would be payback for all the laughs and great recipes you have given me.
    Let me know.

  9. Hannah says:

    Well, your photos from last year are beautiful! We’re having thanksgiving dinner with my folks, because they’re our ‘bubble family’ and I might go ’round the bend if Thankgiving is as depressing as Easter, which was sadly just our household and dropping leftovers in my folk’s driveway while they sadly waved from the window.
    We’ve got iPads ready to FaceTime the rest of the relatives and gloat about how much extra turkey/stuffing/pie we get when just 5 of us are eating!

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