Unique Thanksgiving traditions bring families closer


Mary Kay Downes

Yearbook adviser Mary Kay Downes celebrates Thanksgiving with her grandchildren.

Gray Jones, staff writer

Many think Thanksgiving is based solely around delicious foods and sweet treats; however, it is also a time to bond with family and enjoy unique traditions.

“Every year at Thanksgiving, we have a Monopoly tournament,” senior Lindsay Jones said. “We have a trophy where first and second place get their names on it and get to take it home.”

Jones’ family travels to North Carolina every year on Thanksgiving to visit family. The Monopoly tournament tradition goes back 20 years and has evolved into a competitive game involving a trophy, which is two stories high and has a turkey on the top.

“It’s a big gathering every year with my dad’s side of the family, who we really only get to see once a year,” Jones said.

Some people don’t get to see their extended family often, making Thanksgiving a precious time to spend catching up with relatives.

“Every year on Thanksgiving, my family runs the Turkey Trot 5K in the morning,” sophomore Meghan O’Brien said.

The Turkey Trot, which takes place annually on Thanksgiving in various places around the country, is held for people to burn off calories in preparation to indulge in the feast later that day. Many families find it fun to compete in this race, including O’Brien’s family, who has been attending for several years.

Some families simply rely on the feast to bring them closer together.

“Our favorite tradition is to have the entire family be together,” English department chair Mary Kay Downes said. “There are 17 of us, including my three children, their spouses and all 10 grandchildren.”

Instead of using games as a way of bonding, every year the Downes family has what members refer to as “The Great Stuffing Debate.” Downes normally serves three different types of stuffing due to the many arguments her family has over which type of stuffing is the best.

“My daughter is married to an English man, and he prefers oysters in the stuffing,” Downes said.

Downes’ family celebrates Turkey Day more traditionally as they focus on the food of the holiday, including appetizers and lots of desserts.

“I like Thanksgiving because for me it’s absolutely no pressure because my children do all the cooking and all I do is provide the house,” Downes said.

Thanksgiving can be a stressful time with all the preparations, but with the help of family, it can also be the best time of the year.