Westerly’s Thanksgiving Day Traditions, Old and New

Marissa Berardo, Staff Reporter

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It’s that time of the year again: Thanksgiving week. A chance to enjoy the holiday with family and friends, and take a brief respite from homework. WHS students have various long-standing traditions, and there are many more new ideas you might want to consider.

Sophomore Jensen Lund has an annual tradition: “We have people come over for dessert, and play board games afterwards,” he said.

Sophomores Maya Champ, Adrian Medina, and Santino Vernieri like to attend the Westerly-Stonington football game. Vernieri said, “I watch football with my family, and this year I’m dressing for the annual Turkey Day rivalry game.”

Some students travel to visit relatives. “I travel to Philadelphia to have dinner with my great grandmother and cousins. Since my grandmother is Ukrainian, she sometimes incorporates traditional ethnic dishes, such as pierogies, into our Thanksgiving dinner,” said sophomore Ava Morosini.

Here are some additional traditions to consider:

  1. Assisting your local church or social service agency with compiling Thanksgiving baskets, or serving a Thanksgiving Day meal at a local homeless shelter
  2. Attending the Westerly-Stonington annual “Turkey Day” game (or watching a football game on television)
  3. Attending the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City (or watching it on television from the comfort of your couch)
  4. Playing football or hiking before the meal
  5. Helping your family set a formal table with a tablecloth, your best plateware, place cards, and uniquely folded napkins
  6. Creating a Thanksgiving/seasonal centerpiece (for example, you could arrange colored artificial leaves, a small pumpkin or cornucopia, and candles from a craft store)
  7. Baking homemade pies (pumpkin, cherry, blueberry, apple, mincemeat, banana or chocolate cream)
  8. Preparing Thanksgiving hors d’oeuvres (for example, fan out thin pretzel sticks in a cheese ball to create turkey tail feathers. Place a larger pretzel stick in the front with a candy corn beak)
  9. Traveling, hosting relatives, or visiting others
  10. Welcoming friends, neighbors, and new guests to your feast
  11. Giving thanks for people or things you appreciate with a toast or prayer at the dinner table
  12. Eating the same favorite dishes (turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, butternut squash, stuffing, candied yams, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, bread rolls), or trying a new side dish each year
  13. Breaking the wishbone
  14. Going for a post-meal walk to burn off those calories
  15. Watching your favorite holiday movie (for example, Miracle on 34th Street, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, or Plymouth Adventure), or attend a movie after your meal
  16. Ice skating at Westerly’s ice rink
  17. Playing board games after the meal
  18. Watching home movies from past holidays
  19. Listening to holiday music
  20. Black Friday shopping
  21. Putting up a Christmas Tree (if you’re an early bird)
  22. Heading to Westerly’s downtown for “Santa’s Arrival” on a firetruck the night after Thanksgiving

Although Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday shopping season, don’t let it be all about Black Friday. Remember the special people in your life, be thankful for the good things, and celebrate your unique traditions.

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