Cael Brennan: This year the thing I wish to show my thanks is the Internet. Do not be dismayed by its cold exterior and the internet’s aptitude for seemingly appearing as lifeless. Because what the internet has done can only be described to be the opposite of detracting from life. As I myself must laud the Internet for it has given the world in this time insurmountable privilege. What would be of me this year without the capability to continue personally connecting with the ones I care for through the blue screen. Or in my life I cannot see an existence for myself where verbose and colorful outlets of interest and community are not simply in my pocket. It was this year that the internet presented us the opportunity to remain human, to feel connected when removed, to feel as though you are visible and matter among the torment and chaos of our modern world’s setting currently. So it is my prerogative to return the favour. Perhaps not with a gesture or large sweeping personal “Thank You”, rather a moment of clarity and mindful awareness of the concurrent privileges I have been able to withhold. I am thankful for the Internet this year as it is the bond between self and seen today.
Collin Bullock: This year is certainly different than in 2019. Or any other Thanksgiving. This year, my mother and I have decided against celebrating with my Grandparents. They live on the other side of town, and less than 5 miles from us. But we love them too much to risk infection. Mom will still cook turkey and stuffing, and I`ll still make my Great Grandmother`s recipe for cranberry bread, but our Family is too close-knit to be close this year. But the day the vaccine takes effect, and we`re cleared to take off our masks and break the 6-foot distance, it will be worth it to hug my Grandparents.
Jenieke Calloway: This year for thanksgiving I have found different things to be thankful for than the typical answer of ‘friends and family.’ And while still very grateful and thankful to have such an answer to say, I’ve learnt to appreciate the small things that come with thanksgiving that I never think about. Communication and the ability to speak with others is one thing I am thankful for. Our society has advanced so much, especially in a pandemic, we have found ways to communicate with everyone anywhere. There are even ways to talk to seniors living in nursing homes and helping them feel better about spending the holiday in such homes. Communication brings people to understandings and deepens peoples views of each other. It is the primary way to speak with anyone, even going as far as doing it with other languages, having ways to translate and get meaningful messages to others. I am very thankful for means of communication and having the ability to do it every day.
Samantha Deras: I have always been extremely grateful for having a place to live, yet this year I have surely found a renewed appreciation for the place that I call home. Evidently, I don’t have a big house with multiple bathrooms and master bedrooms, yet I like to think that I have a big home. A house is merely an inhabitable structure but a home is a place filled with love. During this scary and unprecedented pandemic I was grateful to have such a wonderful home to be quarantined in. I felt cozy, safe, and comfortable during a time where many were scared and alone. I was really extremely lucky. I’m fortunate to have such a great home to welcome our new yorkie dog, Toby. Coming from an abusive home, Toby was scared of people touching him, of loud sounds, and even of eating out of our hands. Now, Toby has grown comfortable here and is certainly not afraid to sleep on the couch, roll around on the carpet, eat all the fallen table scraps, and sleep on our beds. I am so happy that he finally found a home that he’s comfortable in, and that that home is mine. I’m lucky to have my own bedroom that I can make my own and create a world that suits my every need and comfort, filled with piles of blankets and too many small trinkets to count. Overall, I am extremely grateful to have a place where I can freely express myself without social rejection and judgement. And I’m grateful to call it my home!
Katelyn Drenga: This year will be different from the others where my family, cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents all meet up at a restaurant or house to eat. I will not be able to see some of the family members I usually get to see. Although disappointing, this experience will help me be more grateful and blessed to have these people around. Not seeing them for one thanksgiving is better than risking it all for the older family members and having the possibility of someone getting sick. Thankfully my family is pretty good at cooking. Usually it is not just us for Thanksgiving so usually we don’t make a whole turkey meal. Even if we were not good at cooking, the meal is not really what matters. The true story of the holiday and the message it brings to us is what does. This year since Thanksgiving is not as big, it is helping me think about the story of thanksgiving and the significance of the holiday. The changes that are made to the holiday this year are only temporary but will help not just our family but others too. Having a small Thanksgiving itself during this time is actually showing gratitude and appreciation. Not being able to see people this year guarantees everyone will stay safe while enjoying the holiday a little differently.
Andrew Kotait: This year will be mostly the same, just me and my family having a nice dinner. My Mom always goes all out cooking and she really out does herself. And we as a family will all feel homesick for missing Lebanon this year again, where all our friends and family are. But this year due to the pandemic it has been the longest time that we have not gone and visited, so something that will be different this year is going to be how much more we will miss our home than usual. It does sting being away for the holidays, but we still do have each other and that’s the most important part.
Amritha Suresh: Before Thanksgiving last year, my family’s last cousins left in America, and ended up moving away. Which meant that now all of our cousins and relatives were back in India, and we were the only ones in the US. Typically we would spend Thanksgiving with those cousins, but since they moved, we didn’t really have any family to spend the holiday with. But this year, we are going to our family friend’s house, and although they aren’t related to us, it feels like they are. We’ve built a really good bond with this family, especially in the past year, and I’m really grateful for that.
Jason Alwang: This year Thanksgiving will be a little different because I won’t be able to really travel anywhere like like I usually do. I usually go to New York and have a big party with family, but this year we are not doing that. I always like to watch the football games with my cousin. However, just because it won’t be a typical Thanksgiving it doesn’t mean I won’t have anything to be thankful for. I’m still spending quality time with my mom and brother at home and can take the time to focus on why I’m thankful for them. Although things are different, I still have them with me and it is important for them to know how grateful that I am for them. Also, Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on my life and how many happy experiences I have felt because of what my family does to give me a happy life.