Every year, it happens — fresh turkey baking in the oven, potatoes being mashed, and the comfort of knowing your loved ones are getting as full as you are. For APN’s staff, the traditions held on this annual day of thanks are always special. Whether we are simply watching a football game with our sibling, or sitting in our pajamas all day (until we begin to feast), we enjoy every minute of it.

Watching football, all day

By Emily Kim

 

WVU_vs_USF_2007
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Florida_Bulls_football

It’s noon, and I just rolled out of bed. Football is playing downstairs on a continual loop, and the smell of turkey teases my senses as Thanksgiving officially welcomes me. Most people like to claim that Christmas is their favorite holiday, probably due to the overwhelming gifts under the tree. Yes, I too love Christmas, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve started growing favoritism to a neighboring holiday, also known as Thanksgiving. The day of Thanksgiving is like any other day for me, except better. I don’t have a big family, so our dinner stays small every year with my immediate family and grandparents. My dad is always gone for the day because of work, so we usually feast around 7 p.m. That means two things for me: I have to wait all day to stuff my face with my favorite foods, but I also get to sit on my couch in my pajamas and watch every football game until I’m forced to get up by the turkey calling my name. That’s my favorite part of Thanksgiving. I get to be the laziest version of myself that day without getting yelled at. And I have no responsibilities except helping my mother when she needs it. I am the definition of a couch potato on Thanksgiving.
But it’s not just about being lazy. I love this holiday because I get to spend it with my family. Even though my dad isn’t home for most of the day, I get to watch football with my brother and be my mom’s taste tester. Once night comes (when my stomach grows a “food baby”), I begin to regret eating that last piece of bread, but knowing that my family and I get to sit on the couch again, finishing the day with our tummy’s full and our hearts happy… You could say I’m excited for the next Thanksgiving.

 

 

Indulging in my grandmother’s stuffing

By Kaylee Adams

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Photo by Kaylee Adams.
Kaylee and her grandmother Diane, featuring the famous Snapchat dog filter.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because who doesn’t love good food? My typical Thanksgiving Day is pretty, well… typical. On Thanksgiving, my family wakes up early — some earlier than others, depending on whether we have to help cook — and we go to my nana’s (my great-grandmother) house. Usually my mother and I are the helpers. We are in charge of the mashed potatoes and perfectly recreating my nana’s homemade gravy, which we usually mess up, resulting in my nana having to fix it anyway. My favorite food on the table is my grandmother’s homemade stuffing. She always makes two dishes of it because it’s such a hit. She hasn’t revealed exactly what the recipe is, but I know she uses some interesting ingredients, such as apple and turkey sausage. It is the dish that makes it Thanksgiving.

 

 

Watching the Macy’s Day Parade with my grandma
By Madison Winters

 

madison grandma
Photo provided by Madison Winters.

One of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions is watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with my grandmother. Each year, we sit together on the couch and have a cup of warm apple cider and talk about our favorite floats, costumes and performances. Our favorite will always be the Rockettes!
I’ve been sharing this tradition with my grandmother for as long as I can remember, and the older I get, the more special it is to me. We’re usually the only ones in my family who watch the entire parade, so it has always been something that, just the two of us, can really appreciate. I’m always looking forward to spending the day with my entire family, but it’s always nice to share a special moment with my gram to start the day off right.

 

Saying what you’re thankful for                                                                               

By Michael Edward DeCoste                                                                                      

“Count your blessings, name them one by one

Count your blessings, see what God has done

Count your blessings, name them one by one

And it will surprise you what the Lord has done”

-“Count Your Blessings” by Johnson Oatman, Jr.  

While it may be a cliché among many Thanksgiving traditions, saying something you’re thankful for has precluded nearly every Thanksgiving feast I’ve attended. When you’re a Christian, like myself, Thanksgiving is not only a time for friends and family to connect, but a time to remember and count the many blessings God’s given you.

If I had to say one thing I am thankful for, it would be my late father, Curtis Edward DeCoste. Without my dad’s guidance, I don’t think I would have become the Christian I am today. Curtis DeCoste was everything a true father is: strict but caring; hard-working, yet laid-back. He focused everything on keeping a roof over our heads and planning enjoyable vacations. He drove me to always do my best in everything I did, especially in academics, and just life in general.

No Thanksgiving will ever be the same now that my dad is in Heaven due to a fatal blow of pancreatic cancer. He will always be remembered, every Thanksgiving, as a brilliant Christian and an awesome father.

 

Eating my mother’s popular smothered turkey wings
By Sasha Delva

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Photo provided by Sasha Delva.

There are several dishes that I look forward to eating on Thanksgiving — mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, collard greens or cornbread. The thought of all of it just makes my mouth water. However, my Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without my mother’s smothered turkey wings. Picture this huge tender-meat turkey wing smothered in rich gravy. As you could imagine, this dish is typically gone first (that’s one thing I truly remember as a child). When I was younger, my mom would put a turkey wing on my walker and just let me devour it, at a slow pace. Since my family isn’t a big fan of regular, in-the-oven turkey, my mom had to get creative. For the past 21 years, this dish has remained my favorite.

 

 

Spending time with my brother
By Sophia DeVito

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Photo provided by Sophia DeVito. My brother and I on Thanksgiving 2015.

To be honest, I think about Thanksgiving dinner daily. To me, there’s nothing better than spending an entire day with my family, eating luscious foods and drinking lots of apple sangria. For the past few years, we’ve celebrated Thanksgiving at my grandma’s house (my mother’s side of the family). It’s the same thing every year. I wake up to the smell of turkey coming from the kitchen, and my mom always has the parade on in the background. We all arrive at my grandma’s house around noon, and, immediately, I start digging into the appetizers.
We eat the same appetizers almost every year — shrimp wrapped in bacon, prosciutto wrapped asparagus and cheese and crackers. Our stuffing is always made the same with apples and sausage, and we always have two turkeys — one traditional and one fried. While we don’t have a set-in-stone tradition, I couldn’t think of a better way to spend it each year. Just having my family all in one place for the majority of the day is enough for me.

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