My Thanksgiving Traditions

 Ever since I can remember, Thanksgiving has been one of my favorite holidays. It was something I could always look forward to growing up because it prepared me for reuniting with my family and it was the stepping stone for Christmas. My family was always all over the place. Some of us in one house and the rest of us in another. We got dressed up and sat around the overly heated living room. No matter what, it never failed. The heat from the oven had us complaining for a decade.


My family is very matriarch centered so either my grandmother or her sisters would be cooking. The kids pretty much did nothing but sit around and talk about school. This hasn’t changed much. We each squeezed on the couch and found ourselves exchanging hot topics. Sometimes we’d have an impromptu game night to keep ourselves busy while we would wait to eat. We would indulge in whatever snacks  were on the coffee table and never got too full to eat the main course. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade played in the background and after that my grandmother would put on the movie The March of The Wooden Soldiers.


I grew up Puerto Rican, so people expect there to be specific traditions and customs, but in reality, we didn’t do anything out of the ordinary. But, we didn’t disappoint when it came to the food. We sat around and picked up a few pastelillos which are basically fried or baked patties with meat or chicken inside of it. My cousins and I could never get enough of them! The house smelled of pasteles. These are a little harder to explain. They were never my favorite but the scent filled the house every year. My family always enjoyed them with ketchup. It was something about these foods that would always make me think of the holidays no matter what, and that was special. 


 Our traditions have always been simple. We each grab our plates and help ourselves to Mac & cheese, rice, baked ziti, chicken, and pork. We’d skip the grand long table. Instead, we’d take our plates and sit on the couch with our large plates of food.


I always appreciated how casual yet personal it was. It was a warming feeling but since then times have changed and my family grows larger every year with every individual family blooming. It gets harder for some family members to get together. This happens often and there isn’t anything that can be done about it. But every year we try, and sometimes no one knows until the last minute where Thanksgiving will be held and that’s my family in a nut-shell.