Being in my freshman year of college, I’m experiencing everything differently. Like anyone 18 and under, I’m used to being home all the time, close to my family, my dog, my friends, and even distant relatives. But now, living at school three and a half hours away, I feel out of the loop. I currently have a completely different life than all of those closest to me, and it’s really strange to reflect on that. However, I think this is the reason I’m so much more excited about Thanksgiving this year. Usually, I look forward to the holiday, but this year is different. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been literally counting down the days until I get to go home for what essentially is only a long weekend.
Everyone loves Thanksgiving, mainly because of the food. I mean, this is one of the only days of the year where you have a perfectly good excuse to fill your plate many many times, take a break to either watch or play some football, go back for dessert, and then watch more TV. Who wouldn’t be obsessed with this? Unfortunately, I do know many people who dread it because they fear what will happen when their entire family gathers together in one spot. I’ve learned to expect the inevitable politics debates and sibling head-butting, so now I look forward to the excitement of everyone being at one big table. Now that I think of it, though, I am not looking forward to all of the questions that will be thrown my way by every single adult.
“Are your classes hard?”
“Are you in any clubs?”
“Do you have a lot of friends?”
“Have you met any boys?”
“Have you gone to any parties?”
“Are you being safe?”
I get that everyone will be anxious to hear how the first year of college is going, but couldn’t we just hold some kind of a press conference so I only have to answer these question one time?
While Thanksgiving dinner seems to be the focal point of the holiday, there are so many more things that happen throughout the day that I cannot wait for. All of the simple things that happen leading up to the finale are what make it so fun. I love waking up nice and early to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Even though all of the performances are lip synced, I still love watching the musical numbers and the singers ride through on their elaborate floats. On the other end of the spectrum, I love hearing the live marching bands and watching their short shows on that iconic star. Just being able to enjoy this while sitting on the couch at home with my siblings some years, or sitting on the floor at my cousins’ house in front of their gigantic TV while my aunt and uncle have begun preparations for dinner in the adjacent kitchen, is something that makes this holiday so great. Knowing that you have absolutely nothing to do all day except watch TV, eat, and sleep is amazing. There is no stress on you, only the feeling of holiday festivity and relaxation.
Once the parade ends, usually that’s when I start the long process of getting ready for the family gathering. I tend to take my time while getting dolled up, so that adds to my excitement of the day. I’m looking forward to that aspect of going home a little too much; having every single product, piece of clothing and jewelry that I didn’t think to bring to college, taking the time to pick out an outfit that is the perfect mix of comfy and cute, being able to put on makeup in front of a mirror that I don’t have to share with 20 other college girls and that has the lighting I’m so used to. I’m even looking forward to the chaos that comes with a family of six trying to leave the house on time in order to arrive at dinner at a decent hour.
Thanksgiving day is fantastic and I cannot wait for it to arrive, but I’m also getting extremely excited for the day that follows: Black Friday. I’m definitely not a huge shopper, so it’s not for the sales reason. When I travel far away for Thanksgiving to my cousins’ house, Black Friday is the day where everyone visiting is still around, but with nothing to do. This is the day that we all get to hang out, and maybe even venture into the world and brave the crowds in order to see a movie or even go to an indoor water park. One tradition that we have created on this side of the family is watching a Christmas movie either on this day or after Thanksgiving dinner. We switch up the movie a lot, one year watching The Grinch, the next Deck the Halls, and another Elf. Even though I’m someone who isn’t a huge fan of anything Christmas before December 1st, this tradition is one that I have grown to love. It’s a fantastic way to transition into the next holiday, and it’s so fun to lie around with everyone, quietly quoting the best scenes. I think that’s one of the things I’m looking forward to the most this year, mainly because I have not seen that side of the family in a very long time because of college.
Being away at school makes you long for those moments of relaxation and family time more than ever. Just the fact that you’re so out of the loop makes you feel separated from all of the people that were your first friends in the world. But as the holiday starts to draw nearer, you start to reminisce about all of the great Thanksgiving memories you’ve made and you cannot wait to head back to something familiar to make more. Remember to tell everyone how thankful you are for them, especially now that you spend the majority of your time away from and out of touch with everyone back home. Like the title of this piece suggests, I definitely believe that Thanksgiving is going to be very strange this year, but in a good way. It’s going to be so much more special now that we live away from home, and I plan to make the most of it.