The Spirit of Van Der Thanksgiving

Greetings fair rabble of the internet! How is your post Van Der Thanksgiving Day coma treating you today?

What’s that? You say you’ve never heard of Van Der Thanksgiving before? And that you live in the town of Footloose where all dancing is banned because of that one time those kids died? Presumably from car related AIDS? Well. Sounds like someone needs a lesson in what the spirit of Van Der Thanksgiving is all about.


Before we get too deep into the spirit of the thing, we should probably talk about how Van Der Thanksgiving came to be.

In general, there are two widely accepted origins for the holiday. The first stems from a long ago time called “The Nineties”.

Simpler times, right? Anyway, back in this time, it is said that James Van Der Beek would appear once a week a deliver unto the people theatrical performances the likes of which none had ever seen before.

He did this for six whole years, before disappearing from the hearts and minds of many for a long period of time. This absence hit Canadians quite hard. Many attempted Canadian suicide by leaving their front house holes open and inviting the cold to bring unto them the sweet release of death. Roughly 100 of Canada’s boisterous 230,000 died that year – a tragedy that spurred the people of Canada to… not mourn the absence of the Beek, to but celebrate his time amoung us by starting Van Der Thanksgiving.

(Note: it is said that Americans did not experience such a harsh feeling of separation, as they had already dealt with similar emotions when Party of Five was cancelled, and Scott Wolf was no longer around. Canadians had no such problem as Party of Five never aired in the deep north, due to some strict legislation involving wolves in general.)

The second origin – one that seems to have been making the rounds quite a bit lately – is one that involves a Canadian sitting at his work, bored out of his mind on fake Thanksgiving, creating a holiday involving James Van Der Beek as an excuse to watch Varsity Blues at least once a year.

Personally, I think that last one is a bit bullshit, but you can’t really stop rumour from spreading, now can you.


Now, Van Der Thanksgiving is celebrated the world over by Canadians. This once a year festival of a lifetime takes place on what Americans would like to call Thanksgiving – or what is properly known as fake Thanksgiving.

Every year, Canadians gather in various houses, cook a fantastic meal, and digest by watching their choice of Beek flavoured pleasures, such as select episodes of Dawson’s Creek or my personal favourite, Varsity Blues. During this day, we often talk about what we are Van Der Thankful for, and talk about our hopes for the Van Der Future.

This year was the first year that I spent Van Der Thanksgiving with James – and boy, did we have a time. James cooked an amazing meal, but instead of having me stumble over the details, I’ll let James take over from here.

03. THE MEAL (J)

What would Van Der Thanksgiving be without a Van Der Thanksgiving feast? Nothing, that’s what. It would be trash. It would be like you just pooped all over the noblest of all holidays. Listen up, internet.

Of course, while Americans were celebrating Fake Thanksgiving with amazing turkey feasts (seriously, Kelly Sue DeConnick’s, judging from her tweets, might have been the absolute best thing), we had to do something different. Why? Because here in Canada we don’t take a day off for a false holiday, that’s why, and Van Der Thanksgiving hasn’t really blown up like Chrismukkah yet.


So since I couldn’t actually make a turkey in the few hours after I got off work and before Brandon did, I did the next best thing that isn’t a duck: chicken! Specifically, Cook’s Illustrated’s Weeknight Roast Chicken recipe, which Is so simple that it is literally:

  • Rub chicken with oil, salt and pepper (plus garlic, because come on)
  • Put chicken in preheated skillet in hot oven
  • One hour later, eat.

That’s it! The oven isn’t even on for half that time! If you have an oven and a pan, you can make this recipe, and what is Van Der Thanksgiving about if not realizing your own inner potential and building your confidence?

And seriously, this thing looks amazing. Because you’re not actually applying heat for half of the cooking, juices don’t evaporate and you end up with white meat that’s actually juicy and not the worst part of poultry, like it is as a general rule. Luckily, even the worst part is still poultry. Plus, if you add a lemon sage pan sauce [Ed. Note: Substitute tarragon in the recipe above], anything gets extra delicious.

And to go with that, how about some easy side dishes? I am nothing if not magnanimous, after all. First, boil some new potatoes. Drain and squish them like they done you wrong, baby. Then toss them with some pesto! If you’re like me, that’s something you just have sitting around left over from a previous meal. If not, just add some oil, parmesan, garlic, pine nuts and either basil or spinach in a food processor (or finely chop them by hand like a peasant). It takes 10 seconds! If you go to a restaurant and they try to make it sound like they are being super fancy by giving you pesto, they are doin’ you wrong, baby. Squish ‘em.

I also made brussels sprouts so simple that it’s “toss with bacon fat [Ed Note: Because you are awesome], cover in foil, bake, remove foil, bake.” I know a lot of people aren’t down with the brussels like they should be, but “Born to Run” was playing in the grocery store as my eye fell upon them and I knew it was a sign from on high.

And how does this all turn out? Brandon made undignified noises like a champ.


And there you have it! Van Der Thanksgiving dinner, nice and easy, yet incredibly delicious. This isn’t some Thanksgiving dinner that takes an entire day to put together and then someone doesn’t like gravy and you murder them. Like the rest of C!TB, Van Der Thanksgiving is about making things accessible and sharing what’s important: love and the Beek. If not everyone can do it, we’re not that interested.

Whatever you like, have fun with the High Holiday. Make what you like, watch your favourite bit of Van Der Acting and be cool to each other.


And of course, what Van Der Thanksgiving is complete without giving Van Der Thanks?

LEASK: As corny as it sounds, I am Van Der Thankful for Brandon. Not only is he my incredible comic book guy, but he’s one of my closest friends and making him laugh is pretty much the only goal I have when writing anything on this site.

And this site, oh man, this site. Last autumn, Brandon came to me about starting a site together, where we could talk about things we liked and not have to worry about format or numbers or ratings or anything but the reason we read comics in the first place. Against all likelihood, people actually read the crazy things we write, and we’re looking to expand our minor empire of ridiculousness in new and exciting ways in the coming months. My life is pretty great, and that is pretty dang rad.

SCHATZ: Oh dang. Um… ignore the wiskey tears, the pollen is just ridiculous in the room right now.

Of course, I’m thankful that we get to do this site – and thankful that people seem to like what we do here. Honestly our main goal with the site doesn’t go far beyond just amusing ourselves and making horrifying jokes, and the fact that people want to read what we want to talk about? Well, that’s pretty rad. Also, we’ve gotten pretty good at spreading the good word of comics – and I’m thankful for that too.

I’m also thankful for my special lady friend – as well as the fact that she seems to get all of this craziness – and is right now having a Twitter war with James making jokes about yiffing and cheese racism. She’s a keeper.

And finally, there’s James. I’m thankful to be his special lady friend. More so, I’m thankful that we can spend hours making terrible jokes to one another, and take a good one hour detour while watching an episode of The Walking Dead to talk about our favourite eras of TGIF. Seriously, that guy is rad, am I’m more than glad to call him my friend.

But now that Van Der Thanksgiving is officially over, it’s time to look forward to the future. It’s looking pretty bright. Christmas is around the corner, and I have it on good authority that if you’re all very, very good, a video of a young Brandon figure skating to the elevator music version of the old Spider-Man cartoon theme song will make its way to the internet.

God bless us everyone.


  1. Brandon, I think you mean “God bless us, everyBeek.”

    Also it is gettin’ misty all up in here what what

  2. You so missed the opportunity to baste the chicken in your salty, salty tears. (The Beek was a sobber, was he not?)

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