Davis: It was a feast. 30 folks among family and friends. Catered turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, peas and carrots... I was slobbering over the plates. Where'd it all come from? Where'd it all go? We ate everything so quickly, I'm not sure. We had fun, but who knows at what cost? To what else should we give Thanks?!
Tessa: I'm spending this Thanksgiving in Monroe, a tiny town in southwest Connecticut. My aunt and uncle, their five adopted kids, three dogs, three cats, four rabbits, a gecko, and who knows what other family members all live in this old rectory on the town common. My mom, our dog Mabel, my other uncle and I are adding to the slew this holiday season. We went all out with the Thanksgiving traditions thing: we went to my cousin's football game to freeze our butts off, shoved our faces with root vegetables (and turkey for the non-vegges in the house), and fell asleep before finishing a hearty game of Pictionary. It's always a bit exhausting (especially when you come down with a timely Thanksgiving cold), but it's more than worth it. Playing with plastic animals on the kitchen floor, watching Batman over hard cider with my uncles, getting a tour of the grounds in a go kart - there's just something about family, am I right?
Lydia: I have a small family, so growing up Thanksgiving was never anything special--just another family dinner. The past few years, however, our family has been expanding. Now we celebrate thanksgiving with my immediate family, my boyfriend, his immediate family, and any strays who don't have anywhere else to go. Thanksgiving for me has become about welcoming unusual guests and flying by the seat of our pants to put together a big dinner and have some great conversation. It's always a surprise and I look forward to it every year--especially because I'm the one who cooks!
Mia: Coming home for the first time since you have begun college is weird. Coming home to a small New England town for the first time since you have begun college in New York City is even weirder. This morning I participated in the annual Turkey Trot, a 4.5 mile loop around the quaint side streets and neighborhoods of Norwich, Vermont. The course began and ended in front of the small and beloved elementary school, Marion Cross, lying in the middle of Norwich, between the white steepled church and the general store, Dan and Whits. Several weeks from now, when temperatures have consistently dropped below freezing, and the snow has white washed all of the surroundings, a make-shift ice rink will be constructed with nothing more than a tarp and hose. There, children will play hockey during recess with donated skates and weathered sticks. High schoolers will stop by after school to play a quick game, and a man will replenish the battered ice each week with fresh water.
I have always been cynical about the holidays. I don’t enjoy the awkward family gatherings, especially since my parents have gotten divorced. Unfortunately, the cliched idiom,absence makes the heart grow fonder, does seem to be very apt. Being once again immersed in this tight nit community, in which I had been so desperate to leave only several months ago, I feel a sense of security I hadn’t realized I had been lacking in New York. By security I don’t mean physical safety, though I suppose there is more of that as well, but rather emotional security. Thanksgiving may be known as the holiday where Americans engorge themselves in food, watch football, fight with their relatives and rejoice in excessive and frantic consumerism the next day, but for me, coming home for the first time since I have begun college, it is this sense of security which stands out amongst these traditions. While participating in the Turkey Trot, I recognized the faces of friends and neighbors, acquaintances and strangers. During dinner, surrounded by my family and friends, and despite my general indifference towards turkey and stuffing, I could not help but rejoice in the familiarity of my surroundings. I suppose, that behind all of the preparations, expectations, shopping, arrangements, and chaos of Thanksgiving, what everyone hopes to achieve is this sense of security. So despite my family’s ample dysfunctions, and the sometimes suffocatingly small feeling of my New England town, this Thanksgiving I cannot help but feel for grateful for the community I have many of times taken for granted, and the turkey and stuffing I get to share with them.
Moonrose: Thanksgiving every year is rarely with my extended family. We usually gather with family friends and eat Chinese food, with the occasion of turkey and other traditional American Thanksgiving foods. The house I am at today has really great cake. It's sponge cake that's not too sweet and very fluffy! Also, this Thanksgiving, I already received some of my Christmas presents because, well, I'm not sure. I just did. After the party, my mom and I will be going Black Friday shopping...tonight, since lots of stores open early. I am just glad to be home and not doing homework for now.
Aryn: Thanksgiving was overflowing with hospitality as I stayed in this New City without my biological family but maybe with a new Thanksgiving family. 35 of us crowded into a dining room and ate two plates of turkey and pie or more. There was still food to spare. I was full. We had all given our speeches of thanks. I'm just not sure where the leftovers went. When I'm home we usually eat thanksgiving sandwiches until Christmas.