Thanksgiving has long been associated with turkey, football and family. This “traditional American Thanksgiving” is what most people think of when picturing the holiday.
For University of Georgia sophomore management information systems major Hailey Gaugler, Thanksgiving has always been a time to spend with family.
“Normally we have two Thanksgivings, one on Thursday and one on Friday. On Thursday, with my dad’s family, we go to my grandparents house, and then on Friday it’s with my mom’s family at our house,” Gaugler said.
The food is a big part of Thanksgiving for Gaugler, who says her grandma's pumpkin muffins and her mom's mashed potatoes are her favorites every year.
However, pumpkin muffins and mashed potatoes aren’t on everyone's dinner menu during Thanksgiving.
Jerson Lopez, a junior risk management and insurance major, looks forward to cultural food, like his mom's tamales and tacos. His family, originally from Guatemala, all gather at a relatives house to celebrate with music, dancing, food and a game of soccer.
“My favorite part is getting to see everybody, especially the ones who don’t live in state, like my aunt in Michigan. I love getting to see her,” Lopez said
Dessert seems to be a favorite, regardless of how you celebrate. For Lopez, his aunt’s chocoflan is top-tier.
“It’s just tres leches with a layer of flan, and sometimes they’ll put fruit in it. It’s super good,” Lopez said.
Family isn’t always those who are related by blood. For senior biology and anthropology major Pooja Udeshi, family includes her friends as well. Not only does she invite her friends to her biological family's Thanksgiving, she has also planned Friendsgivings in the past.
“We all chose something we wanted to make based on what we thought we could do. It was fun. I like to plan Thanksgiving — it’s my favorite holiday,” Udeshi said
As for her family Thanksgiving, Udeshi says her and her mom do a lot of cooking in the kitchen, preparing all the food for dinner.
“We’ve done it for so long. This is the only year that I’ll be out of town and I won’t be able to do it,” Udeshi said
At the heart of Thanksgiving lies the traditions, and each family has their own. For some it may look like a “turkey pizza” which Gaugler’s family makes on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. For others, it’s playing games.
“We’ll play Capitalism for a while until everyone's fighting, because they’re very competitive, and then we’ll play Scattergories,” Udeshi said
Lopez highlights his culture as a major part of his Thanksgiving celebrations, where music and dancing are extremely important.
“We have fun and dance, because music, it’s a big thing. My family likes marimba,” Lopez said
The memories made during this holiday with friends and family is what makes Thanksgiving special. Rivalries like the one between Gaugler’s dad and her sister's boyfriend over the University of Virginia vs. Virginia Tech football game are happy memories for her.
“Having that rivalry, which has been there for the past couple years, has been a big part of it. Seeing my dad get worked up and my sister's boyfriend get worked up over who's winning or losing is fun,” Gaugler said
Whether you celebrate the traditional way or you include your own cultures to the holiday, Thanksgiving remains a time to spend with those you consider family, and make good food to share around the table.