It's officially Thanksgiving break, where college students get to return home for the week to spend some much needed quality time with their family. For me, Thanksgiving is the time for me to see my father's extended family, who I only get to see ONCE a year. We meet where it all started… Cleveland, Ohio.
Why Cleveland? Well, this side of the family is spread out throughout the entire country. I, along with my immediate family, go through a grueling 8-hour car ride from Philly, while cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents come from Chicago, Atlanta, and various parts of Los Angeles. In Cleveland, Shaker Heights to be exact, close to 30 of us spend the holiday together. With over 20 people in one house, it is full of fun, excitement, and straight chaos. This tradition has been going on since before I was even born, and let me tell you that I was born into the right family come Thanksgiving time.
On Thanksgiving day, the house is divided into 2 groups: Football and Cooking. I spend my day with the football side of the family, watching all 3 games that are played. Now that we are all older, we partake in a 1-day Thanksgiving-style fantasy football competition. This creates a ton of friendly (and not-so-friendly) competition between both the adults and the kids. On the other end, the rest spend the day preparing for the big meal. Given we are so many people, there is a TON of food that needs to be made. Come dinner time, the entire family sits down and has a great family meal together, with turkey and tons of other traditional Thanksgiving foods.
The next day, we participate in a morning football game. Cleveland during the end of November typically greets us with snow, which makes the game so much more entertaining. Filled with great catches, big tackles (even though it's two-hand touch), and a bunch of laughs, it definitely highlights itself as one of my favorite aspects of the week.
The rest of our week is filled with various activities, such as bowling, movies, shopping, and even whirlyball (look it up). However, nothing is better than our closing activity...gifts. What makes this special is that these are not just gifts, but rather items from my families past and tons of beautiful antiques. It is such a fulfilling moment of our week, bringing us all together, both celebrating and embracing that we are all able to spend this amazing holiday with one another.
Thanksgiving is about being together and holding on to your loved ones, from family and friends to even your pets. To me, Thanksgiving is not just about those close to you, but also yourself. Take this holiday as an outlet to truly be grateful for everything and everyone in your life that has made you who you are today. Happy Thanksgiving!!!