It Doesn’t Have to Be a Turkey

Image by Miranda Chao Hwang ’24

Of all the holidays, it seems like Thanksgiving is the most simple. 

Every year, families gather to cook a meal and eat. Thanksgiving, however, has many other traditions, stretching back to the original feast between pilgrims and indigenous peoples. 

As the Thanksgiving legend goes, Wampanoag locals and newly arrived English pilgrims came together during the winter of 1621 for a feast to celebrate the plentiful harvest of the season (National Archives Museum), a rare moment of unity that unfortunately did not continue throughout the coming centuries. 

Nevertheless, millions of Americans and Grace Church community members assemble a feast for their families every year on the last Thursday of every November. But dinner is not the sole Thanksgiving tradition: some Grace students and faculty members have more unique customs. 

Some members of our community spend the holiday out in nature. Sofia T. ’26, goes hiking with her family in East Rock, Massachusetts. Other students, such as Shui L. ‘27 and Truly H. ‘26,  spend the day playing sports with their families as a fun bonding activity. Shui plays football every year, and Truly plays wiffle ball at Battery Park. 

Other students at Grace eat foods considered to be different from the classic depictions of the Thanksgiving meal – turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. 

Joaquin A. ’25 eats a traditional Puerto Rican dish called Pernil, a beautifully seasoned, slow-cooked piece of pork. 

Elizabeth G. ‘25 eats Yorkshire pudding, a common British baked pudding made of water, flour, milk, and eggs, served as a bread or popover. I’ve never heard of it, but I am Yorksure that it tastes great.

Angel C. ’24 eats a turkey–infused mac and cheese dish, shared by 37 family members.

Many Students and faculty members put twists on the classic depiction of the Thanksgiving meal. Magnus B. ’27 forgoes the dinner altogether in exchange for a “Thanksgiving lunch.”

Assistant head of the high school, Tom James, does a “friendsgiving” rather than Thanksgiving with family: “Friendsgiving with people who live in the city is better than family Thanksgiving,” Mr. James said, “because I hate traveling, and we eat fun Thanksgiving food.” 

Giacomo J. ‘25 once did a Thanksgiving in April because his friend had an extra turkey, and they wanted to run it back. 

Serena H. ’27 starts her Thanksgiving with a folktale told by her grandmother about an ungrateful woman who cannot do anything without her husband, so much so that when the husband left on a trip, he attached a donut to her neck. Tragically, the woman was too lazy to eat the donut and passed away due to starvation. 

That’s not the only whimsical tradition in Serena’s family; they also put on a special performance with beloved childhood toys. “My mom does a puppet show with teddy bears, and she performs it based on current events,” Serena recalled. “We’ve done Trump and Crazy Rich Asians.” 

A 10th grader, who asked to remain anonymous, has their own Thanksgiving anecdote. They explained, “I was born a few days before Thanksgiving, and we got home from the hospital the day before. My parents wanted to compare my weight and the turkeys, and now it’s a tradition to weigh me and the turkey every Thanksgiving.”  

This student isn’t the only one with a turkey-related tradition; Alex F. ’24 likes to hunt his turkeys. He specifies that he uses a twelve gauge to kill them and claims it tastes better when you hunt them yourself. It may seem harsh, but it’s way kinder than what turkey farmers do.

Whether you have a simple dinner or perform a teddy-bear rendition of Crazy Rich Asians, Thanksgiving, at its core, is about being grateful for the people we love. We at The Gazette are thankful to all our readers, interviewees, and everyone involved in the process. Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone, and remember to tell all those you are grateful for how much they mean to you. 

Milo Pesca ‘25 is a staff writer for The Grace Gazette.