Thanksgiving is coming up on Nov. 28. This holiday can be a reunion of family members full of laughter and love, but it can also be a day of forced smiles and resentment. But the holiday doesn’t have to be celebrated for people to enjoy the day off from work or school. Personally, Thanksgiving is a nice getaway from the stress of college and a little reunion of my immediate family. However, I know not everyone has pleasant experiences with this holiday. I decided to interview four people in my personal life to get a wider perspective and, for some, get advice on how to deal with Thanksgiving.
Tyler moved to Portland, Oregon around the beginning of 2018. He is a linguistics major at Portland State University.
About celebrating Thanksgiving, Tyler stated, “The simple answer is I don't; mainly because I'm in no-contact with the majority of my family. Thanksgiving was one of two, sometimes three, big holidays where my mother would force everyone to go see the extended family for an outing to keep up with appearances. In my family, Thanksgiving was being around family, even if you weren’t too crazy for certain family members. Now, I don't even celebrate Thanksgiving. If I wanted to celebrate a holiday about harvest and working together, I'd prefer Lunasa in August. If I wanted to celebrate family in a gathering like this, I'd prefer celebrating Chuseok in October with my Korean friends."
Tyler’s advice for other people was to, “try to find a way to focus on yourself. Know that your life is yours and your worries are valid. The ones who care for you are your real family. They’re the true ones who bring you bounty from trust, love, and support. Focus on them as much as you can.”
The next person I interviewed is one of my college best friends, Abigail Warschauer. She studies creative writing here at BGSU, and was the university’s beloved mascot, Freida Falcon, last year.
Abbey stated, “I wouldn't say I ‘make it through’ Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is always a lot of fun in my house! My family hosts it and we eat a ton of great food, then we hang out the whole day. We do different scavenger hunt type activities and after dinner we look through Black Friday ads, then we call it a night. But it's a such a heartwarming and joyful time together!” Due to her fond memories, Abbey encourages everyone to enjoy the time as best they can.
“Enjoy what makes you happy,” Abbey advised. “And enjoy the love that you’re getting.”
For my third person, I wanted to go for someone who isn’t a college student. So, I decided to ask my boyfriend of almost six years, Adam Sommers. Adam lives in Bowling Green and works as a musician.
“On my dad’s side of the family, I get through it by socializing with my family and catching up on what has been going on in their lives,” Adam said. “I enjoy having a meal with that side of my family. Thanksgiving on my mom’s side of the family is a little different: there isn’t as much love on that side. This year, I’m not sure if I can attend Thanksgiving on either side. If I’m unable to, I might have a small Thanksgiving get-together with my friends.”
Considering having multiple families to balance during Thanksgiving, Adam advised to, “stick to the positive side of the family and ignore the negative as best as you can. Take the good with the bad and choose the good side. If the good side of your family chooses not to have Thanksgiving, then stay where you’re comfortable.”
The last person I interviewed is my college best friend and roommate, Andrew Addessi. Andrew also studies creative writing here at BGSU. We met our freshman year and have been stuck together like glue ever since.
Andrew commented, “My family and I are hardly together throughout the year, so it’s nice to spend some quality time with them during holidays. We don’t get to meet for every holiday, but I enjoy whatever time I get with them.”
Andrew recommends to value the time with family even if it's hard to be around them because time with family can be few and far between. “Having a family spread out like mine can be tough. So enjoy the time you have with your family, even if family reunions are only like twice a year.”
As for me, I advise that you do what you can to make Thanksgiving a good day. Even if there is negativity all around you, be a ray of positivity. It might not be the easiest thing to do, but you are the master of your own Thanksgiving Day.