The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

The Voice of the Wildcats

The Paw Print

A look at different Thanksgiving celebrations this year

Gwen Wang
The author and her younger brother happily prepare dishes for their Thanksgiving dinner.

Celebrations among families during American Thanksgiving have grown further apart in terms of how they celebrate, but have ultimately still provided a time when people can find a sense of gratitude.

Modern Thanksgiving has traditionally been a time for people to spend time with family and appreciate the best parts of life. According to a brief survey of students, Thanksgiving differs in meaning between families.

With the recent death of her father, senior Isabella Wynne has seen what the holiday season is like for two separate family dynamics. Through the difficulty of losing someone so close to her, Wynne also developed a method of utilizing Thanksgiving to cope with the rest of the holiday season. 

“Holidays are always difficult, Christmas more so,” Wynne said. “Thanksgiving is just kind of a day where we come and eat.”

Besides the staple foods of Thanksgiving, Wynne has continued to celebrate with her mother’s side of the family. She has optimized Thanksgiving as a time for her to appreciate her family, something many people take for granted.

“The holidays are when we’re always closest,” Wynne said. “We always get together on Thanksgiving and eat together [which is] fun.”

She also explains how the morals of her family have shaped her as a person to deal with such an experience.

“I always grew up with an instilled sense of what hard work was…I got that from my dad,” Wynne said. “My dad always really lived by working your hardest…being kind to people [and] helping out however you can.”

As an ambitious student with outside responsibilities to maintain, Wynne has matured to feel the pain of her situation. 

“Last year was just really hard because it was the first year without my dad,” Wynne said. “[He] was my closest family member and my best friend.”

Through the complexities of her life, Wynne has adapted Thanksgiving to work for and benefit her individual experience. Sophomore Isaac Wagner similarly finds spending time with family and friends as the most valuable part of Thanksgiving. 

“You know me, I love eating,” Wagner said. “But I think it’s also important to know what you have that others don’t…It’s always important to be grateful.”

Since COVID, Wagner has faced the reality of smaller Thanksgiving gatherings. Furthermore, a 2020 survey concluded that during COVID, 52% of people celebrated Thanksgiving with just immediate family.

“[Thanksgiving] since COVID has just been our immediate family,” Wagner said. “Usually one person hosts and everybody brings food over.”

For Wagner, Thanksgiving also brings a time to express gratitude for the little things in life that aren’t recognized on a day-to-day basis.

“We say grace,” Wagner said. “My family gathers in a circle and we each go around saying what we’re grateful for.”

Wagner’s generally orthodox Thanksgiving celebration contrasts how junior Haiden Alister Barnuevo celebrates with his family. As someone whose parent is an essential worker, Barnuevo’s Thanksgiving celebration differs from others.

“On the day of Thanksgiving my dad has work,” Barnuevo said. “My mom and I are just going to eat some lobster and some pasta… On Friday, we might go to House of Prime Rib because we’re just too lazy to cook.”

Barnuevo emphasized his love for the season and its atmosphere rather than directing it toward one specific day.

“Thanksgiving is an opportunity to chill and have a little break before finals,” Barnuevo said. “[And] it’s an opportunity to eat food.”

Another modern-day staple of the Thanksgiving season is Friendsgiving, an opportunity for friends to have their own mini thanksgiving before or after the one they typically spend with their family. Barnuevo enjoys his family’s mascarpone cannoli cheesecake and prime rib, but he also enjoys trying new foods during Friendsgiving.

“I really love Friendsgiving,” Barnuevo said. “I like cooking for my friends and then trying some of the foods from their cultures.”

For sophomore Samantha Sebiy, her family had not always celebrated Thanksgiving.

“We just weren’t as in touch with American culture,” Sebiy said. When I was younger, my mom was adjusted to Ukraine. I lived in Ukraine so I just didn’t understand the point of Thanksgiving. [My family] kind of just ignored it.”

Sebiy did not start celebrating Thanksgiving in a traditional way until her mom met her current boyfriend.

“[This year was celebrated with] my mom, me and my grandma, and now [my mom’s] boyfriend,” Sebiy said. “We kind of just do the normal: get together with your family, then eat, and then just part ways.”

While Sebiy does not have the most nostalgic ties to Thanksgiving, she likes the sales that come with the time of year.

“I’m definitely in stores,” Sebiy said. “TJ Maxx has a lot of good makeup…Francesca’s has a lot of random stuff you can get.”

Overall, Thanksgiving can bring reminders of painful emotions and memories, but most people can still find something positive out of it.

“I understand Thanksgiving can be stressful for others, but I think it’s more important being with those [close to you],” Wagner said. “That’s what keeps you strong.”

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About the Contributor
Chloe De Leon, Multimedia/Online Editor
Chloe de Leon is a junior and second-year journalist. She enjoys writing about culture, lifestyle, entertainment, and local news. In her free time, she takes part in math club, plays piano, and plays on her school’s varsity tennis team.

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