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The Thanksgiving stereotype: Back to New England for Turkey Day

The stereotypical Thanksgiving can sometimes be the best Thanksgiving possible.
The stereotypical Thanksgiving can sometimes be the best Thanksgiving possible.

If there’s one day in the year that’s more quintessentially American than the Fourth of July, it’s got to be Thanksgiving.

The whole family gets together, cooks more food than anyone could ever eat, watches football and puts on sweaters. It’s a tradition in which nearly all American families partake. For me, it might be even more of a stereotype than for most.

My parents live in New England. Connecticut, to be specific. They moved there from New York not even a year and a half ago, making this Thanksgiving my second ever in New England. The whole experience is relatively jarring. It feels like flying directly into “When Harry Met Sally.” 

I start by flying into John F. Kennedy International Airport, driving an hour north and ultimately settling in a pretty house in a beautiful area, neither of which I’m familiar with. I walked in the door to be greeted by our two labradoodles. Wrigley and Freddie. 

You couldn’t make it a stronger stereotype unless we ate Thanksgiving dinner on top of Plymouth Rock.

The landscape is full of trees with leaves mostly fallen down. The ones left are beautiful shades of deep red and brown. The abundance of hills in the distance creates a beautiful view from every window in the house. 

I don’t see myself as much of a New England stereotype. I idolize Rock ’n’ Roll musicians and stylize myself after my favorite artists. It’s not uncommon for new people I meet to call me “punk” or something similar. I probably wouldn’t fancy myself a big fan of the New England Thanksgiving if I were to meet myself out in the wild for the first time.

But remarkably, I absolutely love it.

I love the giant Thanksgiving feast snuggling with my dogs in view of the New England landscape, wearing fall sweaters and going to cut down the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. It looks like an L.L. Bean advertisement the whole week.

I love baking pies with my mom, throwing the football with my dad and heading into Manhattan to see the big tree in Rockefeller Center. 

It’s the perfect experience. After three months of a grueling slew of senior classes including one of my capstones, there’s nothing better than relaxing with my family exactly the way Steve Martin does at the end of “Planes, Trains and Automobiles.”

I never feel so grounded as when I get to have that Thanksgiving meal after a day full of baking, cooking and watching more football games than I had the entire year leading up to it.

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Despite spending most of my free time during the rest of the year seeking out ways to be a genuinely unique person, avoiding stereotypes and commonalities like they’re the plague, this is the one I consistently get behind full force. 

I’ve never been able to place why, though. I might simply miss my family and don’t really care what it is I get to do if it means I’m back with them for a little while. I might simply miss the Northeast and the scenery and wholly different style of life to Ohio with which I grew up.

To an extent, I think those are the reasons. But, I think I really do love this American tradition. The feast, the beginning of the Christmas season, the time with family. 

It’s beautiful.

I can be as critical as anyone toward America. I am often critical of the reasons we celebrate Thanksgiving and try to remember the real history behind the legendary event.

But, I really do love giving thanks for those few short days. I love being thankful for my family, my friends and my life that I’m so lucky to live.

I can’t stand fireworks at the Fourth of July, or watching the ball drop on New Year’s Eve — the world's biggest non-event. But Thanksgiving is different.

Thanksgiving is the perfect stereotype. It’s full of wonderful experiences, and I get to experience them in a beautiful place with a family I love. 

I’d be willing to trade away most holidays for a regular day. But, for Thanksgiving, I wouldn’t take anything.

Devin Ankeney is a senior double-majoring in journalism as well as media and communication with a history minor from Scarsdale, New York. They have been with The Student for nearly three years and are currently the Opinion Editor, Business Manager and a multi-section contributor.