Since moving to Canada nine years ago, we've found the cycle of seasons has been marked by a very different calendar of holidays and celebrations.
Back in the UK, the only really festive celebrations were Christmas & New Year (which tended to get rolled together into one long orgy of food and drink) and Guy Fawkes night (which slowly crept from a one-night firework party to weeks of traumatized pets).
Halloween was a recent and not especially welcome interloper, with trick-or-treating seen as an excuse to roam neighborhoods demanding money with menaces.
This side of the Atlantic, we seem to have more excuses to party, and each one has its own distinct flavor.
Christmas here is very similar to Britain. Lots of food and festivities...and ugly commercialization. The big difference is sniveling reluctance to actually use the C word, which I ranted about a couple of years ago.
Halloween is a hugely different affair here, and is a really fun family time. Children dress up, many households make a big effort to decorate, and there are bonfires and fireworks.
Then we have Canada Day, parades and parties all round. And more fireworks.
I was astounded to find Remembrance Day marked here more widely than Britain, with crowds of all generations still turning out at cenotaphs across the country.
Of course, this weekend is Thanksgiving in Canada.
Whereas most holidays are highly visible to anyone wandering through, I think of Thanksgiving as our secret celebration. It's such an intensely personal family affair, marked by gatherings of friends and families behind closed doors and with little outward show, that it's hard for an outsider to see just how big it is.
We've been privileged to be invited to a few Thanksgiving parties here, which were memorable experiences. With no family of our own here it's usually just a quiet turkey dinner for four, but it's still something we've grown to take seriously.
So, Happy Thanksgiving, Canada!