Thanksgiving Traditions


Alice Xie and Minjun Kim

   With Thanksgiving approaching, many Wildcat families are preparing to gather on the big day, inviting family and friends and thinking about what food to make. Many families have their own traditions, filled with special activities planned for Thanksgiving every year. The Paw Print interviewed a few Wildcats to learn about their exciting Thanksgiving traditions. 


Ritta Hajjar

   For West Ranch junior Ritta Hajjar, Thanksgiving means watching movies with family. “We like watching ‘Charlie Brown,’ and we always end up watching ‘Mamma Mia.’” Although she also celebrates the holiday by eating turkey, Hajjar noted that her family has been watching “Mamma Mia” for as long as she can remember. “Since I was born, I’ve been singing ABBA,” Hajjar said in reference to the band whose music “Mamma Mia” is based off of.

   Thanksgiving is meant to promote family time, and the Hajjar family does this by gathering annually to rewatch a classic favorite. To Hajjar, this Thanksgiving tradition proves to be a memorable experience every year. “It’s one of the only times my whole family sits together and does something together because we don’t do that a lot. It’s just good food, good movies, every time,” she explained. 


Mrs. Brosche

   As a part of the Wildcat family in addition to her own personal family, Mrs. Brosche — a math teacher at West Ranch — celebrates Thanksgiving in two different ways. Regarding her own family, Mrs. Brosche explained that “we do the traditional Thanksgiving celebrations like gathering family and eat lots of yummy food. We also like to go around the table and everyone says something they’re thankful for.” 

   For her family, Mrs. Brosche’s Thanksgiving tradition centers around practicing gratitude: “We try to practice gratitude often, but sometimes things get in the way and we get busy or stressed and we don’t always realize how good we do have it. [Thanksgiving]’s significant because it makes us sit down and focus on what’s going right and what we have to be thankful for.”

   In terms of the Wildcat family, there is one big tradition that staff celebrate. “As a school tradition our school does something called the faculty feast, which is usually the week before Thanksgiving, and they have a big turkey dinner in the library, and I love doing that because it’s nice and warm and festive and everyone’s excited and happy and it’s kind of fun to commune with our colleagues,” Mrs. Brosche said. To her, a big part of the holidays is starting off the new year with a good mindset, because “starting off in a positive light just makes things a lot brighter.”


Bryce Blaugrund

   Every Thanksgiving, West Ranch senior Bryce Blaugrund looks forward to spending quality time with his family, as most of us do during Thanksgiving. However, his family adds a twist. Dedicating this time of the year to visiting amusement parks and feasting at a nearby restaurant, the Blaugrund family is truly brought closer together. 

   “This tradition brings my family closer and allows me to eat good food at least once a year. Also, it gives me a chance to look forward to meaningful family memories toward the end of the year.” For Blaugrund, Thanksgiving is a day to look forward to, a day to get closer to his family, not to mention the delicious feast.

   “In addition to enjoying a thrilling amusement park, I am able to give thanks to my family and spend quality time with them during the fall season.” 


Kendall Gustin

   In light of the limited availability of restaurants open on Thanksgiving day, West Ranch freshman Kendall Gustin keeps up her family tradition of going to McDonald’s every year. “Every Thanksgiving, my cousins and I go for a hike and then we go to McDonalds because every other restaurant is closed for lunch,” Gustin explained. 

   For Gustin, the concept of going to McDonald’s is something she’s done for “as long as [she] can remember.” Going to McDonald’s brings the Gustin family a sense of ease and comfort; as Gustin explained, “We’ve just done it every year, so we always know what we are going to do on Thanksgiving day.” This stability and routine allow the holiday to be centered more around spending time with loved ones rather than worrying over lunch.

   Laughter is especially common during this trip to McDonald’s, since Gustin finds that “it is funny that we have to go to McDonald’s on a holiday.” The annual trip to McDonald’s makes Gustin’s Thanksgiving season memorable not only because of the amusing nature of getting fast food on the day of feasting, but also due to the fact that her family gets to share the fun experience together.


   The student body here at West Ranch is full of diversity and vibrancy, which leads to an abundance of different traditions that are celebrated by Wildcats. Whether it be watching movies or having a huge feast, Thanksgiving is the perfect opportunity to spend time with loved ones and reflect on the past as well as the present. Mrs. Brosche echoed this sentiment with a message to everyone who is a part of the Wildcat family: “Happy Thanksgiving, and I am so grateful to teach at West Ranch with the best students and staff in the world.”