What is your favorite holiday Erin? While most all children would have responded with the traditional, “Christmas” as their answer I stood apart from the crowd having always favored Thanksgiving. It was never even about the pounds of turkey, cranberries, and loads of mashed potatoes; seeing as I don’t even care for these foods. Thanksgiving had become the one time of year when all the family came into town to my house to share this day together. The entire week surrounding turkey day continues to be ones layered with tradition. From baking pies every Thanksgiving Eve to parade watching to full bellies and the quick promise that Christmas was quickly approaching. Every year we get to find new ways to squeeze as many family and prized friends as we can around our growing table. Thanksgiving embodies a day to relax with no pressure to please anyone else or worry of getting someone the wrong present. It is the truest and simplest holiday I believe that allows us all to take the focus off our day to day problems and realize that we are truly blessed.
Like I said, our family celebration of Thanksgiving is layered with many traditions that make it so valuable and important to me. For as long as I can remember the Wednesday before the day has always been known as Pie Day where as you can probably guess is when all things pie are created. My mom is a passionate and wonderful cook and baker making pie day into one filled with constant baking and clothes covered in flour. Then on turkey day itself my mom will already be cooking away by the time i wake up and drag myself down to watch the parade with my dad. We did actually go to New York and the actual parade a couple years ago on vacation, but I much prefer the calm of watching it on T.V. instead. Uncles will start arriving around noonish, immediately demanding the channel be changed to football where I know it will stay the rest of the day. Then the meal actually takes place in the late afternoon with enough food to feed a small village. We have all the classics, but also a few traditional foods to our family including some traditional polish cuisine. After where done being calm and Thankful we will drag ourselves out of bed at obscene hours the next day to save a buck on Christmas shopping. A few years ago I took over the filling of the stockings so my Black Friday includes finding all the candy and trinkets I can to fill those suckers up. Then the entire family will converge at Red Lobster for lunch and sometimes head over to another relatives house to dinner that night. Then our final big Fox tradition is our trip to the West Side Market in Cleveland every Saturday following Thanksgiving. It is this amazing market packed with food stands which our out of town relatives love to visit while they are here. It is all these amazing people combined with these sacred traditions that make Thanksgiving so special for me.
Thanksgiving holds even more value to me now as it allows me to see those who I rarely see now that I’m at school. As a Nyack college student, I’m not the one waiting for family to get into town. Instead, my relatives are waiting for me to arrive home for a week’s break. With the craziness of school and work and all the other things I face at school it is extra special to have a week off. A time where my only responsibilities are to play with my nephew and eat pie. These times have become more sacred the longer I am away. I am truly thankful for all that God has blessed me with both at school and home especially all the fantastic people who I have crossed paths with.