Our Thanksgiving Traditions
Inside Moravian asked students, alumni, faculty, and staff to share their Thanksgiving Traditions. Here’s to your creativity!
At Thanksgiving, we write on small slips of paper three or four things we are thankful for this year. We then put them all in a jar and throughout the meal, we pass the jar around and randomly choose a slip and read aloud what’s written. It is great to hear our words of gratitude spoken in other voices.—Bryon Grigsby ’90 P’22, president of Moravian College
Growing up in a very French household, my family’s longstanding Thanksgiving tradition is to drink and celebrate “Beaujolais Nouveau Day.” While there is no direct connection between Beaujolais nouveau and Thanksgiving, the timing is always the same—the last few weeks in November. For context, Beaujolais nouveau is a young red wine made and produced in the Burgundy region of France, specifically the province of Beaujolais a region internationally known for its long tradition of winemaking. For my family, Beaujolais is more than just a beverage; it’s a connection to our homeland that we are able to cherish during the American holiday and “enjoy” with family in Normandy. Despite this year’s on-going pandemic, you can be sure that the Boucher family is drinking and celebrating Beaujolais—through Zoom, of course. Tchin-tchin!—Claire Boucher, social and digital media manager, who gave us the photo above
My Thanksgiving tradition is simple. I give thanks each year in the presence of warmth, family, friends, and love.—Hannah Katz ’22
Every Thanksgiving, the Biechy tradition has been for the family (parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, and even sometimes friends) to gather at my grandmother’s house. It is potluck style, so everyone brings a dish, and together we enjoy a home-cooked meal and some of the most delicious desserts. This year for everyone’s health and safety, we will not engage in this tradition. However, to keep the spirit alive, I am asking everyone to provide me some of their favorite recipes so I can create a holiday recipe book to share among the family at Christmas. This way, we can still be together for our holiday meals, even when we are apart.—Mykayla Biechy ’18, assistant director of financial aid services
My Thanksgiving Day tradition is to cook while Martin Scorsese’s The Last Waltz plays in the background, watch the Dallas Cowboys play either before or after the meal, and to have copious amounts of the day’s most logical and festive beverage: Wild Turkey.—Joel Nathan Rosen, associate professor of sociology and anthropology
I look forward to the day before Thanksgiving as it’s become a traditional cooking day with my children. We put on music, talk, sing, and dance around the kitchen as we make all our family’s favorite recipes. It’s a reminder to be present, and enjoy the journey along the way to your destination.—Amy McHenry, business manager, office of the provost
I take the week of thanksgiving off from work and one of the things I look forward to every year is taking a small road trip to Cabela’s with a former manager of mine. It gives us time to just talk and hang out and enjoy a place we both really love.—Andrew Cohen ’10, principal scientist at Roche Diagnostics, Branchburg, New Jersey
Thanksgiving is a big holiday for my family, and we typically host a large gathering in Bethlehem. One of the highlights of the event is the pie. My family loves pie, and the many pies get lined up in epic pie parade: apple pie, pumpkin pie, cherry pie, pecan pie, chocolate pecan pie, bourbon chocolate pecan pie…! This year my wife and I sent sets of miniature pie plates to all of the family members who typically gather with us in Bethlehem. We’ll all make our own pies, and then have a “zoom pie party” where we compare our creations.—Christopher Shorr, associate professor of theater arts
I start each Thanksgiving with a very early morning walk to think about those things that are important to me and that I am extremely thankful for. Both my in-laws and my parents passed early in our marriage. The same occurred with our best friends. We share a Thanksgiving meal together every year with other friends. We will do the same this year, albeit virtually.—Jon Conrad, vice president of human resources
My family and I traditionally spend our Thanksgiving morning at the P’burg/Easton high school football game before enjoying dinner together later in the afternoon.
—Matthew Velekei ’09, fourth-grade teacher, Nazareth Area Intermediate School
I am grateful that without family here this year, I have joyful memories of Thanksgivings past. Here is a special tradition: In our former big house in Connecticut, we often had 14 or 16 people for Thanksgiving, and they all stayed at our house too! The kids all ranged broadly in age over the years. We had only one kitchen, and I had to come up with something that got them all out of the house, regardless of age, between breakfast/brunch and snack time/dinner. So, I closed the breakfast kitchen at 10. Not up by then, no food. Then I would get out a myriad of baskets (the big gardens at our home made it necessary to have lots of harvest baskets of varying sizes), and I would send every kid under 21 out of the house (rain, shine or snow) to gather things from the woods or along the roads. They were to come back at an appointed hour, and Grandma (me) would fashion a centerpiece for our dining room table. The kids learned to tax my creativity—they would come back with very interesting things from nature. It remains a memory and a tradition that we all relish. How grateful I am for that.—Lyn Trodahl Chynoweth ’68
Each Thanksgiving, my mom hosts the entire family. That means more than 30 people in a one-story rancher. The whole house fills with the sounds of laughter, and there are people everywhere. It’s amazing. This year will be a smaller affair, with only our immediate family, but it still promises to be a fun holiday.—Sam Anderson ’13
Every year I am tasked with baking pumpkin rolls for each Thanksgiving dinner I attend throughout the week. Though it’s not a family-wide tradition, it is something I really enjoy.—Giulianna Young ’18, assistant director of admissions
Thanksgiving weekend is traditionally the time when I change the front door decoration to a Christmas wreath and decorate the house for the holiday season to come. We got a jump on this tradition yesterday, when we re-installed colored lights in our enclosed porch, which was re-paneled a few years ago, and we just hadn’t found the right time/weather combination to get them back up.
Before I retired, Thanksgiving weekend was also the time when most of the leaves in the yard got raked up to be put out the following week for the last leaf pickup before the spring. The fact that we had a bit of Indian summer in New England this October and two more days of 60-degree weather this past week means that we are ahead on this task as well, and thankfully so.—Debra Dion Faust, ’73
My favorite Thanksgiving tradition is dessert! It may not sound special, but I specifically love drinking coffee from the fancy china my mom brings out for family dinners and having pumpkin and apple pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It is just a perfect way to end the holiday!—Seth Rappaport ’21