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Six Traditions that Make Me Look Forward to Thanksgiving

We are officially a week away from Thanksgiving! And before we dive deep into December and Christmas, let’s give Thanksgiving a moment to shine! I come from a family with loads of traditions, and we go big for the holidays, Thanksgiving, no exception! So here are some of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions. While reading, take time to reflect on your traditions! 

Taking to time to learn

Taking a moment to reflect on the history of Thanksgiving is critical. While I have reframed the holiday to be about gratitude and spending time with family, many find this holiday painful, and that’s important to talk about. From a young age, I was exposed to the true history of Thanksgiving. My grandfather’s family was Native American, and the town I grew up in had a large Native American population. Learning about the truth behind Thanksgiving so young has made me view the holiday differently. It’s also important to remember that this isn’t just history; Native American and Indigenous cultures still face persecution. Some of my favorite ways to connect with Native American history and culture are visiting museums, reading up on current Native American issues, reading about it in books, buying from Native American small businesses, and visiting (or virtually visiting) Native American reservations. 

Rewatching all my favorite thanksgiving tv episodes

Last year, I did an article about the best Thanksgiving tv specials and it has been a habit for a while that I try and rewatch those in the days leading up to the holiday to get in the spirit! My personal favorite is the Gilmore Girls Thanksgiving episode in Season Three, and it feels so homey and automatically puts me in a Thanksgiving mood!

The Parade

So I grew up in a very musical family, and for as long as I can remember, I always sat glued to the tv as the broadway shows and the radio city Rockettes performed in the Macy’s thanksgiving day parade. The reruns of the parade stay on all day, and it has always been a dream of mine to go to New York to see it. And, of course, Christmas officially starts for me once Santa reaches Harold Square!

Making paper (or cookie) hand turkeys 

This is a craft that goes back to kindergarten! You trace your hand or construction paper and then decorate it to look like a turkey. Bonus points for writing what you’re thankful for in the fingers. Last year, my aunt and uncle decided to up the ante and used sugar cookie dough to make cookie hand turkeys and decorate them with icing!

Mini crescent rolls

This is perhaps the most niche tradition on this list, but every year, my sister, Aunt, and I make Pillsbury crescent rolls, and we save a bit of extra dough to make a couple of mini ones. The tradition started one year and has stuck since! They usually burn in the oven, but it is always a fun picture and moment. Traditions don’t have to be big or grand, but the little (or maybe mini) moments make the holidays. 

Giving thanks

Before we dig into the turkey and the stuffing, it is time to remember what the holiday is really about! My mom usually starts us off, and my whole family says out loud what we are thankful for. It gets sentimental and makes everyone realize how lucky we are. This year, some of the things I’m grateful for are my health, family and friends, and my education. No matter how big or small, we all have something we are thankful for, even if one of those things is the pie at the end of the meal!

I hope that everyone has a safe, fun, and memorable holiday. Happy Thanksgiving, hounds!

Elena Johnston is the Co-Campus Correspondent and Editor In Chief of Her Campus LUM. She is a Sophomore and a Global studies and Communications double major with a concentration in Public Relations/Advertising. Elena is currently the Albrecht Fellow Intern for public affairs and programming at the World Trade Center Insitute. She previously interned this summer with the Frederick Maryland Chamber of Commerce for Communications and was also chosen as a University Innovation Fellow, an international fellowship for leadership and development. Outside of academics, Elena is involved with theater on campus and is passionate about photography, writing, design, and activism.
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