When you ask most people what their favorite holidays are, you’re bound to hear quite a few replies of “Christmas,” or from more fun-loving friends, Halloween. There’s the occasional patriot who favors the Fourth of July, but Thanksgiving, in my experience, is few and far between.
Being a staunch fighter for an underdog, I adopted Thanksgiving as my favorite holiday many years ago. Call it the young contrarian in me, but I have loved it since I was a child. When other kids were dusting off copies of The Santa Claus or Home Alone to pop into the VHS player, I was still playing A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving on loop.
As I got a bit older, I would flip through radio stations hoping to catch a clip of Adam Sandler’s The Thanksgiving Song among the Christmas music that annually takes over the airwaves. On Thanksgiving, I would flip channels between the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City and the Philadelphia parade, not wanting to miss either, while the scent of baking cookies wafted through the air.
My love of the holiday has endured. Now, instead of playing Charlie Brown on VHS, I DVR the televised version and I can find Adam Sandler’s tune online, anytime. Though those traditions have changed, making cookies with my mom and watching the parade probably won’t change anytime soon. It is, after all, our tradition.
So with a hint of nostalgia as this tradition-rich holiday approaches, members of the Main Line Today staff share their own Thanksgiving memories.
“Every year, I go to the Thanksgiving Day Parade in the city and then my mom’s side of the family goes to my Gram’s house for Thanksgiving Dinner, which we have been doing for years. We always eat an earlier dinner, and then a few hours later bring everything back out for sandwiches, etc.” –Megan Armor, Account Executive
“Typically, we watch football all day and eat dinner at my parents’. After that dinner, we go to dinner at my sister-in-law’s, where we politely eat a little (pretending we didn’t eat much at my parents’) and drink a lot of wine!” –Kate Castellucio, Account Executive
“Three generations of Brauns play golf with my father and my son, along with my brothers–regardless of temperature or weather–every Thanksgiving day. One year, we even played the last two holes in the snow. It was never about the score or winning, but about being together, braving the elements and creating a memory that my son and my father remember.” –JB Braun, Publisher
“My favorite memory is watching the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on TV with my cousins Thanksgiving afternoon!” –Susie Hartshorn, Account Executive
On the food:
“The Italian Wedding Soup (previously made for many years by my mother, then my wife, now by my 26-year-old daughter).” –J.B.
“I’d have to say [my favorite Thanksgiving food is] dessert. I love pumpkin pie! And I enjoy a nice slice of pecan pie, too.” –Lisa Dukart, Assistant Editor
“I am actually not a huge Thanksgiving food person, but I always look forward to my Gram’s macaroni salad and coleslaw.” –M.A.
“My favorite food to eat is a turkey sandwich on really fresh white bread with Hellman’s mayo and salt. It has to be Hellman’s!” –K.C.
And on what they’re thankful for:
“My daughter, Gina, has decided to claim Thanksgiving as her holiday. And while she lives in a cozy row home in South Philadelphia and it will be a challenge, we’ll figure out how to fit 24 of us in there for dinner!” –J.B.
“Of course, what I’m most thankful for are my family and friends. For me, they’re one and the same. My mom used to ask, ‘Is this going to be a family party?’ and I would say, ‘Yep.’ When she got there, she’d say, ‘I thought this was a family party.’ Now she gets it and doesn’t even ask. Not to mention, both my parents and [my husband] Anthony’s parents, our brothers and sister have come to love their extended family. What choice do they have!” –K.C.
As for me, my favorite thing about Thanksgiving, besides my Aunt Mary’s double-baked potatoes, is that the whole country essentially stops, and in that I find peace. In this space when we are finally given a chance to breathe and step back from our fast-paced lives, we are able to truly see and appreciate our friends and family. So this year, like most years, I’m most thankful for the holiday, and its spirit, itself.