Sarah Campbell, a senior Chemistry major, on what Thanksgiving means to her.
What are some Thanksgiving traditions you look forward to when you go home this break?
“I don’t really know if my family has Thanksgiving traditions other than cooking and eating a big meal. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade is one thing we watched every year. I’m not sure if they’re going to be doing it now because of COVID-19.”
What are Thanksgiving foods your family makes? What are some of your personal favorites?
“Obviously, we make turkey. I don’t really like turkey though. I prefer chicken, so turkey isn’t really a highlight for me. We always have green bean casserole which I also don’t like. My mom also makes sweet potato casserole. It’s pretty good. There are a few things that switch up every year. Normally, we’ll have appetizers throughout the day, then a big late lunch. Whatever we do for appetizers is always different. I remember one year my dad made a cheese platter, but there was one cheese that was more like a dip. It was mixed with jelly which sounds so weird, but it was so good. I ate so much of it. That night I got a stomach bug and threw up every hour for 24 hours. Nobody else in my family got it. It was just me. I threw up literally everything that I ate that day. We had a roast beef, the cheese dip and some other foods that Thanksgiving, but since then I’ve banned all that.”
Do you usually have family or friends come over for Thanksgiving?
“My mom’s side of the family is from the Outer Banks area. My dad’s side of the family is in Shelby. When I was younger, we used to go to my mom’s side of the family. She’s one of twelve siblings. It’s a huge family gathering, but we haven’t that in 10 years, pretty much since her dad got sick and died. I guess that kind of separated the family. Now, we either go to my dad’s side of the family in Shelby either the day before Thanksgiving or on Thanksgiving. I think my grandmother is coming to our house this year. COVID-19 can definitely change those plans though. My grandmother might come, but probably not because of COVID-19 and she’s old. It might just be me, my mom, my dad, my brother and my sister. If my grandmother does come, I don’t think she would come into the house. We’d just do everything outside, wear masks and social distance. I think my dad feels really bad for my grandma because it’s hard being alone during the holidays. She’s been alone for so long which can take a toll on someone.”
If you were to describe Thanksgiving in three words, what would those three words be?
“Family, tradition, turkey. Turkey for obvious reasons. I think for many people that’s the first thing you think of when you think of Thanksgiving. Tradition—even though we don’t do exactly the same thing every year—sometimes it’s my mom’s family, sometimes it’s my dad’s family, sometimes neither one, I feel like within my immediate family we have a pretty consistent day regardless of where we are. I chose ‘family’ because it’s a time to be around family. I was going to be really sarcastic and give you words like ‘massacre’ and ‘Native Americans.’ When I think of Thanksgiving, I don’t think of it as a holiday to celebrate the Americas being founded. I know that’s what they teach you in school, but to me when I think of Thanksgiving, I think of eating food and celebrating with my family. But I 100% agree that it should not be celebrated like how they teach you in school. I think the holiday is sugarcoated. Pretty much all of history, people try to sugarcoat things. We definitely massacred a lot of Native Americans and stole their land which I don’t think is a good thing nor should it be celebrated. For me, I don’t associate with the typical celebration of Thanksgiving. I just see it as an excuse to eat and spend time with family.”