Happy Thanksgiving!

Contributors share traditions and what they’re giving thanks for

I used to mark my year in reasons to fly home, and one of the biggest trips was naturally for Thanksgiving. LAX is reportedly the busiest airport in the US during Thanksgiving week, and from the endless delays, cancelations, and hours spent at a terminal during that week for the past decade I can say proudly that it’s true.. and I survived. Last year in the cab ride to the airport, a thought casually crossed my mind: “This is the last year I’ll travel for Thanksgiving.” It came and went before I had a chance to challenge it, but a year later I smile at my personal premonition.

For the first time since 2005, I am staying put for Thanksgiving. I see my family every day, yet the festive air is contagious and the holiday spirit feels even more magical now that I’m in a city in which temperatures drop for the season (plus you have to admit San Francisco feels like a snow globe city, without the snow). 2014 has been quite a year. I don’t know many who didn’t go through some kind of major change—a decision to change jobs, move into a new apartment, relocate to a new city, go back to school, start a company—and we are all better for it.

This Thanksgiving, take a pause before you begin your meal or before you change into your Thanksgiving pants, and give thanks to those around you (literally and figuratively). Here are what our single girls are grateful for this year.

Thanksgiving
Now that I can’t measure the holidays around when I’m flying home for Thanksgiving, I will have to turn to other traditions to mark the official start of the season. I’m grateful for my family and look forward to a night of eating and relaxing together. However, in my “adult” life my favorite tradition is getting together with my best friends from high school the Friday after Thanksgiving since our first year of college. If we are in town, we are together on that day. This Friday, less than half of us will be at dinner with everyone else dispersed throughout the country. Regardless, every year it serves as a reminder about how strong our bond has become and how lucky we are to have built a family over time.

This year I’m toasting to the slow process of getting to know yourself and hone in on the power of intuition… and the awesome support and unconditional love of the people who believe in you when even you feel unsure.

 

Colleen Viana

I spent the first half of 2014 completely hating my job and the damage it was doing to me physically (it was like an endless game of whack-a-mole on my face, but with pimples) and emotionally (I still get nightmares thinking about that hell hole). I am incredibly grateful to be where I am now, 6 months later, in a company that I feel like I 100% belong in and zit-free (well, almost).

For the last 2 years, I celebrated “Orphan’s Thanksgiving” in NYC which is becoming a favorite tradition. I speak from experience when I say you never truly feel like an adult until you have to prepare stuffing for your friends when you’ve never cooked a day in your life (besides frying eggs).

 

Thanksgiving
Kristelle Siarza

As a single mom, my favorite tradition is picking up my son and spending the entire week with him! This year I’ve been humbled by the outpouring of support and love by everyone around me as I start a new venture.

 

Tara Freese

Every year I spend time with my family over Thanksgiving at our ranch up north. It feels secluded from the world because of the spotty cell phone reception and lack of internet, exactly what we need to unplug from our routines. After we eat and are suffering food coma, we all sit around the TV continuing the binge with pie and watching The Big Joe Polka—a hilarious show that I am sure no one have EVER heard of. My grandpa thinks its hilarious, so he hijacks the remote and forces us to watch it every year and commentate on the old people’s dance moves as if we are watching Dancing With the Stars. We secretly love it!

I am thankful for the health and happiness of my family and friends and boyfriend + my adorable puppy Lucy (check her out on Instagram @lucysadventures)!

 

Thanksgiving
Jen Hacker

I love the act of sharing a good meal with the people you care most about no matter where you are in the world or what you’re eating. My boyfriend and I spent last Thanksgiving in Tokyo. Though it was just the two of us celebrating together over ramen and sushi, the tradition was just as meaningful as a Thanksgiving spent at home with turkey and pumpkin pie.

I am incredibly grateful for everyone in my life who supported me through all the transitions I went through in 2014. Even when I had no idea what the day would bring, I knew I could count on my boyfriend, good friends and family to be by my side.

 

Vilte Holstad

I might not have too many friends, but the ones I have are constant and supportive. We are young, healthy and eager to live the best versions of ourselves. I am happy to be surrounded by the people that believe in and inspire me!

 

Thanksgiving
Shalini Bethala

For years, my family went to DisneyWorld for Thanksgiving. Even as my three sisters and I got older, our parents would still pack us into the car and drive all the way to Orlando to ride “It’s a Small World” and “Peter Pan.” We’ve stopped going, but I’ll always remember those trips as some of the best times I’ve spent with my family.

I am grateful for incredible family and friends who have helped me get through my first year of law school. I am also so grateful to be in a new city where I have some truly amazing people.

 

Megan D’Amico

One of my favorite family Thanksgiving traditions comes from my beloved English grandmother. Every year, somewhere between the last bite of turkey and first bite of pumpkin pie, she would bring out a giant box filled with beautiful multicolored metallic tubes.  These beautiful metallic tubes are an English tradition and are meant to be pulled apart along with another person as they make a loud “POP”! So essentially, at a holiday dinner, each person grabs the end of one with the person next to them and so on. Inside these beautifully wrapped cardboard tubes lie various treasures, most notably a paper crown. We all wear our paper crowns as we enjoy and savor the last precious moments of another wonderful family Thanksgiving dinner together.

Out of all the incredible gifts I have been so fortunate to have, I am most grateful for my unwavering support system of loved ones. This year has been one of the hardest and most challenging, but with the hardships come strength, compassion and, most importantly, growth. This year has also shown me the utmost importance of your network. Whether it be your closest friends or family members, you will need them. So treat them right, be there for them, always show them love and support. At the end of the day, that’s all that really matters.

 

How are you spending your Thanksgiving holiday?

 

Catherine Abalos is founder and editor of The Single Diaries.

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