Countdown to turkey day

Arguably the longest and most arduous stretch of the school year is the time between the beginning of school and Thanksgiving.

From the first day of school to Thanksgiving break it feels like nothing but weeks of alarm clocks, tests, college applications, sports, and homework, with the only break coming in the form of one measly day off for Columbus Day. The last Thursday in November is one of my favorite days of the year primarily because of the five-day hiatus from school. Once I make it to Thanksgiving break, I know that winter break is right around the corner.

Plus, Thanksgiving marks the unofficial date when it becomes acceptable to play Christmas music.

Aside from Thanksgiving being such an important holiday to me because of the (much-needed) time off from school and the return of my favorite genre of music, it is also a time steeped in traditions — traditions that I am very thankful to have.

To me, Thanksgiving means packing up my dad’s Suburban and taking I-95 to my cousins’ house in Massachusetts. In Massachusetts with my cousins, my family and I enjoy the cliché Thanksgiving traditions, including a family game of flag football (which usually results in at least one broken limb), a turkey dinner, followed by more football (this time observed from the comfort of the couch), and then three days of Thanksgiving leftovers for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

In addition to my family’s very stereotypical Thanksgiving celebrations, I also cherish Thanksgiving lunch and a little Greenwich Academy tradition known as “Ingathering.”

Thanksgiving lunch at my school is always on the third Thursday in November. It has become so important to my classmates and me that the actual Thanksgiving would not be complete without this annual tradition. On this day, the salad bars are replaced with pies and ketchup dispensers give way to cans of whipped cream. This lunch is so tasty and anticipated that students literally beg teachers to cancel class so we can truly savor this feast.

Ingathering is another annual Thanksgiving custom at my school. On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving break, girls from all grades are asked to bring in different components of a Thanksgiving meal, from green beans to stuffing to pumpkin pies. Then, at an all-school assembly at the end of the day, each girl brings her food items to the assembly to be sorted and boxed by the senior girls, who then deliver the Thanksgiving meals to local families in need.

Over the past 15 years, we have compiled an average of 45 meals per year — an astounding number that truly attests to the impact a student body can make when it unites.

Thanksgiving may not have as much fanfare as some of the other holidays, but it is nevertheless an American tradition that has endured for nearly 400 years.

Even though the five-day break from alarm clocks, tests, homework, and donning a uniform and the lavish feasts may be the most appealing parts of the holiday today, with whom you share your feast and how you show your gratitude to your community are truly the most important parts of turkey day.


Maggie Carangelo is a senior at Greenwich Academy.

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