By Samantha Gershuny
Thanksgiving is a holiday filled with love, hope, and unity. As we know, 2020 has been a year of unpredictability; therefore, during a time such as this, it is especially important to place special emphasis on our feelings of gratitude towards our loved ones. Although the pandemic has hindered our ability to gather in large crowds and see family, students have somehow managed to keep the Thanksgiving spirit alive. To explore this idea further, I have inquired with students at Byram Hills High School about how they have celebrated Thanksgiving in the past, and what they did to keep their holiday traditions alive this year.
Sophomore Ella Javorsky celebrates Thanksgiving with her extended family each year. Due to the pandemic, some of her traditions have been modified, but she is thankful to still be able to celebrate with her aunt, uncle, and cousins this year. She says, “Typically my grandparents sleep over the night before in preparation for cooking the extravagant meal. It is a tradition that every year my grandma and I share the neck of the turkey, our favorite part. While my grandparents will not be joining us this year, I love to reminisce upon our past Thanksgiving dinners, which reminds me that we were not only eating something delicious, but we always laughed and bonded in the process of doing so.” This holiday is a wonderful time for Ella and she enjoys spending time with her family, eating delicious food, and giving thanks for all she has in life.
Sophomore Aliza Hammond enjoys “playing football with my cousins in the snow every Thanksgiving afternoon. We play rough, laugh, and are reminded of the importance of family.” Traditions such as these make the holiday one so many people look forward to. Additionally, she enjoys going around the table and listening to what all of her family members are grateful for. Her mom also makes delicious sweet potatoes with marshmallows annually. To Aliza, celebrating this holiday is a reminder to appreciate the people you care about most.
Sophomore Chloe Bersntein travels to California each Thanksgiving to celebrate with her grandparents. It is a trip she very much looks forward to. Chloe states, “What I look forward to most about the holiday includes my grandma’s cooking and the fall festivities. I often help my grandma prepare the Thanksgiving meal. The moments we spend laughing together and reminiscing upon all of our wonderful memories is a tradition that I will cherish always.” Though the pandemic restricted her from seeing her Grandma, Chloe still looked forward to spending the day with her immediate family and eating all of the delicious Thanksgiving foods!
There is truly nothing better than gathering with family, friends, and loved ones to celebrate our gratitude for one another. Furthermore, the comfort of a warm home, and fresh, delicious food makes the value of this holiday unparalleled. I hope when you sat around the Thanksgiving table this year, you remembered that many ups and downs have come during 2020; therefore, we should be reminded to never take the small things in life for granted, for many jobs were lost, homes were ripped away, and a plethora of individuals have been infected with COVID-19. I hope that especially during Thanksgiving this year, you recognized the importance of expressing your appreciation for all you have in life.