Stonehill Celebrates Thanksgiving
November 17, 2011
In celebrating Thanksgiving, every family has its own interpretation of the holiday. We asked the Stonehill community to tell us about their Thanksgiving traditions and below we share 11 answers.
Adapting to America
Thanksgiving is a really exciting holiday for my family because it's the one time in the whole year when American food is cooked and served. Although my traditional family is skeptical about conforming to American culture, Thanksgiving is the one holiday that my family looks forward to. Usually, the children eat first and then the parents but, for Thanksgiving, the extra table is brought out and set up so that we eat together, at the same time. The smell of American food for dinner drives us crazy. Home cooked American food by Vietnamese women who cook Vietnamese food almost every day? It's pretty awesome.
-Thienkim Nguyen, Class of 2015
No cooking, no cleaning, Cape Cod for the weekend with the whole family celebrating and thanking God for all the blessings. We started this three years ago and it is the best family tradition. PRICELESS!
-Ana Glavin, Advancement
In my family we combine typical Thanksgiving fare with the cuisine from the Eastern European (Ruthenian) side of the family. This means that next to the turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce, you'll also find home-made pierogies, galumkis (stuffed cabbage), and kielbasa that has soaked for hours in brown sugar and strong beer. When they were still alive, grandparents from both sides of the family would attend the meal, and at the end my mother's parents would sing a hymn of Thanksgiving in Old Church Slavonic. Now that they've passed away, we listen to a recording of that every year.
-Rev. George Piggford, C.S.C., English Department
Add Chairs and Tables
Starting in our junior year at Stonehill, my parents hosted ten of us for a Thanksgiving feast before we went home for break. Adding more Stonehill friends, spouses (some also alumni), and now children, we are approaching over 30 friends. Friends always ask, "What can I bring?" but my parents love pulling the whole thing together. Instead, I started asking everyone to bring items for a care package to be sent to a soldier serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. This year, my younger brother is serving at the hospital in Kandahar, Afghanistan. He will help us disperse the packages to fellow soldiers and sailors as well as school supplies to local children surrounding the base. We just keep adding chairs and tables.
-Andrew Leahy '05, Career Services
Solid as a Rock
We choose small pretty rocks on which to write the names of each family member and we use these for ‘place cards' at the table. The rocks represent Plymouth Rock, where the first Thanksgiving was held. After we eat, we take each rock and place it in a jar and label it "Thanksgiving XXXX." It's our way of remembering who shared Thanksgiving dinner for each respective year.
-Lisa Conroy, Human Resources
Hitting the Road
"We celebrate a traditional Thanksgiving in September at home with extended family. Then in November, my husband, our two daughters, and I head for the hills, the airport, or the train station. We spent one Thanksgiving in a hut in the White Mountains, another in a loft in Montreal, and another exchanging homes with a family from San Francisco. Last year, while living and teaching in Saudi Arabia, we spent Thanksgiving in Abu Dhabi. Rather than turkey, it was pasta, take-out noodles, or the local specialty. This year, though we're not venturing too far (a hotel near a park in Boston), it will nevertheless be different-and not at home.
-Colleen Ellis, Visual and Performing Arts Department
Pen and Paper
Every Thanksgiving when all my relatives come to visit we have a place set for each person at the table with their name on it. At each place setting we put a decorated box and we have squares of paper and pens at the end of the table. The idea is that everyone writes why they are thankful for each person on a piece of paper and then put that paper in their box. After dinner, each person reads what's in their box one by one and we all try and guess who wrote what. It's really fun!
-Chelsea Bishop, Class of 2014
Rock and Reggae
Music is a huge part of our family Thanksgiving tradition. Ever since my boys were young, they were thrilled to ‘perform' for the relatives and share the latest songs they learned in band practice on their clarinet or the piano. As they grew, their song choices grew more ‘worldly' and not really tied to the festive occasion. So their repertoire for guitar and drum grew to include ‘Redemption Song' by Bob Marley and ‘Needle and the Damage Done' by Neil Young. I have to laugh at my in-laws shocked expressions. I wonder what interesting selections we'll hear this year?
-Jane Cartier, MacPhaidin Library
Often times at Thanksgiving, everyone tends to focus on food. From the turkey to the apple pie, it seems that many Americans only care about the menu instead of what the holiday is actually about. That's why after the food has been prepared and put on the table, our family takes the time to think about what we are truly thankful for. At this point, we all tell our answers one-by-one. Although it's a short and simple tradition, I truly believe it helps remind everyone what Thanksgiving is really about.
-Marissa Beaudoin, Class of 2014
My family turns Thanksgiving into a competitive event. My aunts and uncles who can't come to dinner come over for dessert, and each family brings their own variation of the French meat pie that my great-grandmother used to make. We hold a very official taste-test and the winner receives a trophy (I'm the reigning champion). No one's ever been able to get the recipe exactly as my great-grandmother made it, but our friendly competition has kept her spirit alive and we all look forward to it every year.
-Nicole Lyons, Class of 2012
Mom's Chip Dip
At Thanksgiving, I make my mother's chip dip, which has no set recipe. Over the years, the people who have joined us for Thanksgiving have changed while others have passed, including my mother the day before Thanksgiving 2003. But, her dip is still at my table every year because it prompts a special memory. One Thanksgiving when my father, uncle, and brother were playing football in the house, the football landed in the dip. My mother was furious. Soon after, however, we all laughed hysterically. Every Thanksgiving we remember that story and, as I make the dip, I think about that moment frozen in time.
-Lily Krentzman, Human Resources
For more information, contact Communications and Media Relations at 508-565-1321.