Ode to Thanksgiving

As I write this article, the world—or at least the United States—is about a month away from my favorite day of the year. It would be irresponsible not to acknowledge the roots of Thanksgiving in Native American mistreatment and genocide and, consequently, many people’s (completely justified) issues with the holiday. I realize that I am in a place of privilege to find happiness in this day, in many respects. I get to enjoy a bountiful meal with my family; although my Thanksgiving table only has three chairs, the love and warmth of my mom and grandma more than fill the room. For me, Thanksgiving has come to be a day of gratitude, a day of family and community bonding, a day of giving and the only day I can make a pumpkin cheesecake with gingersnap crust.

My Thanksgiving typically begins the day before, when I am home from school and spend my Wednesday flitting around the kitchen, perfecting pie, cheesecake and cranberry sauce. As a baker, Thanksgiving makes me feel fulfilled; I can spend hours in the kitchen on Wednesday working with some of my favorite ingredients in order to have a leisurely Thanksgiving day, culminating in a meal my family loves. It means a lot to me that I can provide something physical for the important people in my life; with college tuition, books and groceries, I can feel like a burden on my family, and holidays like Thanksgiving allow me to show my appreciation. Of course, I must admit that I love to eat the food I make too.

Thanksgiving Day for me is relatively busy, which is another reason I love it. My day begins promptly at 9:15 when my dad and I run (read: speed walk) my hometown’s charity race, the Turkey Trot. Thousands of people turn out, some from hours away, transforming the main road near my house into a sea of numbered bibs and identical t-shirts. Watching everyone celebrate the holiday together, running for charity, always makes me feel more connected to my community. Though my legs are tired and my chest is heaving, I can’t help but smile when I grab a banana and a bagel from the runners’ table, return home, and turn on the Macy’s Parade. As Spongebob Squarepants, Snoopy, and the Pillsbury Doughboy glide through the Manhattan sky, I also feel like I’m floating.