My Thanksgiving Traditions

Joselyn D'Agostino, Staff Writer

Thanksgiving is, I’ll admit, a weird holiday. On the one hand, we have the ideal Thanksgiving, where everyone is there on time and we all sit down and peacefully talk while not overeating, and leave even closer than we were before. On the other hand, there’s the real Thanksgiving. Someone is in the kitchen for HOURS making the turkey, having to isolate themselves from the family to get it just right, Aunt Cheryl made a comment about Aunt Lydia’s dress last year and now they absolutely cannot be near each other without throwing a hissy fit, everybody overeats until we can barely walk, and at the end of the night we’re all thinking ‘whew! Glad that’s over’. 

Personally, I hate the portrayal of the ideal Thanksgiving because, in all honesty, it’s not true. No family acts like the ‘ideal’ one, but every year we try, and fail, and feel bad until next year when the cycle starts all over again. So, in an effort to tear down the idea of the ‘perfect Thanksgiving’ here’s MY Thanksgiving. 

I wake up in the morning at a little before nine to watch the Thanksgiving day parade. It’s been a tradition in my house for as long as I can remember, and, admittedly, I enjoy watching the bands and Broadway stars perform. I always catch a few minutes of the dog show that airs right after the parade, just enough to gush over how cute the dogs are before getting bored. The rest of my morning is spent helping my mom cook. She makes most of the side dishes, but this year I get to make the corn souffle, which is by far my favorite dish (my mom puts cheese on top and it is AMAZING). My aunt makes the big main thing, the turkey, which is, admittedly, my least favorite. Other family members will bring other things, like rice, fried plantains, bread, desserts, etc. there’s ALWAYS surplus. 

After all the cooking is done, we have a little bit of time to get dressed. Thanksgiving is one of the few holidays that I (begrudgingly) dress up for (I don’t understand the concept of having to wear a really nice dress that is going to feel far too tight on me at the end of the meal). I usually spend Thanksgiving with my mom’s side of the family, and since there’s a lot of family to invite, my grandparents host, since they have the best house to accommodate all the people coming. And since they’re my grandparents, my family goes over early to help set up. 

Then, around actual dinner time, the first few guests start to trickle in. we’re all starving at that point, but there’s this unspoken rule among us. Absolutely no one eats until everyone is there and sitting down. Which can suck, since the last people to come are usually three hours late. (My dad jokes that this is ‘cuban time’, and that no one in my mom’s family is ever exactly on time to things). Once the final few guests arrive, we’ve usually filled all of the 3(+) tables we set, and have to pray no one else shows up. Since everyone is here, we all start to eat! The food is laid out in the kitchen, so we all line up, and by the time the last person sits down, a few people are done with their plates and go up for their second serving, since everyone has been served. 

Winding down to the end of the night, most of us are full from all the food we just stuffed ourselves with (and we’ll have to bring tons of leftovers home) and the espresso is brought out (and despite having coffee at 10 at night, my mom will still complain she’s exhausted) and the desserts. Sometimes it’s cake, sometimes it’s ice cream, sometimes it’s cookies, sometimes it’s all three. This is when everyone sits back down, takes their coffee and desserts, and spends the next two hours talking and playing board games and just kinda hanging out. The dinner will finally end at midnight, when all the last guests have left, and my family, along with my aunt and uncle, will have to stay to help my grandparents clean up. 

My Thanksgiving day ends at around 12:30 or 1 a.m. when I finally get to take off the uncomfortable dress, take my hair down from whatever style my mom put it in, get ready for bed, and knock out as soon as my head hits the pillow.