My Thanksgiving Traditions

by DLG Staff

Thanksgiving is, of course, a very American holiday (sorry, Canada), and so we decided to ask the diverse staff at the firm to describe their Thanksgiving traditions. We wish you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving! - Joseph McKeown

Ada Biewald, Bookkeeper
Our tradition is to be partially untraditional. We have smoked ham instead of turkey, but with stuffing, together with all trimmings of mashed and sweet potatoes, homemade cranberry sauce, and baked apples with cinnamon. No one leaves before the apple and pecan pies are served. I remind our children each year how lucky and thankful we must be to live in the great USA!

Gentiana Bitri, Paralegal
Thanksgiving is not a European holiday, so I didn't know really anything about it before I came to the US. The upcoming one will be the first Thanksgiving holiday ever in my life, and I already asked my mother if she is planning to prepare the traditional turkey and any other US goodies, most notably pumpkin pie. It looks like I am going to have a great Thanksgiving holiday, finally with my family!

Matthew Bray, Attorney
My family's Thanksgiving usually involved turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sometimes mashed turnips, cranberry sauce, and, of course, pumpkin or apple pie (sometimes both!).  In recent years I've occasionally added Tofurkey, and I especially like roasted autumn vegetables.  When I was a kid I remember football on TV and in the backyard; in recent years I've been lucky to have Thanksgiving dinners with different families, included families of choice, throughout New York City. The city can be beautiful on Thanksgiving morning, when the majority of current residents return to their hometowns and the streets are quiet and peaceful.

Elizabeth Brettschneider, Attorney
Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday because it is the one holiday that is hosted by my parents and so all my relatives come to our house to celebrate. This also means that I wake up Thanksgiving morning to the smell of the turkey already cooking away in the oven. (Yes, my parents get up super early to start the turkey because it is usually a huge weight that takes hours and hours to cook. Also, my family eats the Thanksgiving meal as more of a late lunch than a dinner). My job growing up was to put together the pickle and olive tray that would be put on the pre-dinner snacking table. I loved carefully arranging everything and restocking as supplies got low. I still ask for that to be my "job" when I return to my parent's house as an adult for the Thanksgiving celebrations. I also love pulling out all the "special occasion" china that my mother has, which used to belong to her mother. The teacups all have mismatched patterns which I love revisiting each year. The best part, however, about hosting the festivities at our house is that we get a majority of the leftovers!  A leftover turkey sandwich that includes stuffing and cranberry sauce is pretty much the best thing on earth.  

Jon Blank, Paralegal
Thanksgiving always begin early in the morning with the TV blaring and my mom watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Once the parade is done with the musical numbers from Broadway shows, my dad and I would start watching the football games. I would also usually help my mom prepare dinner. The meal itself always starts with everyone seated at the table saying a few things that they are thankful for, both in general and in the past year. The main tradition, however, in our house has always been eating chicken instead of turkey for the Thanksgiving dinner. This is mostly because we all think chicken tastes better than turkey and is definitely a more moist bird than turkey. Who says we have to have a specific bird on a specific day?  

Stephanie Carril, Paralegal
For me, a typical Thanksgiving consists of much travel and plenty of food. Whether it be right next door, a few blocks over, or several hours away, I have been traveling to spend Thanksgiving with family for the past several years. Every Thanksgiving is different and unique as to the people I spend it with and  I am super grateful that I have more than one place I can call home. Each Thanksgiving is celebrated in a potluck style, where each family collectively brings a dish for all of us to enjoy. Aside from the typical Thanksgiving foods such as turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie, as a Puertorican family we create many of the traditional dishes we associate with Thanksgiving. These dishes include but are not limited to arroz con gandules, pernil, pasteles, and so much more! Sometimes these Thanksgiving dinners are quiet and intimate and sometimes they are full of music and festivities, but all in all, no matter where I travel to for Thanksgiving, you can be sure it is spent with the people I cherish the most. Felcidades!

Clara Fox, Office Manager/Paralegal
Thanksgiving for my family means celebrating over a month early on a Monday. Since my parents live in Canada, we always celebrate the Canadian Thanksgiving, which means family, turkey, and lots of pumpkin pie--albeit in October. Now that I live in the US, I do everything possible to make the best of this situation by celebrating the holiday twice.

Ashley Emerson, Attorney
Most of my Thanksgiving memories center around two things: food, and activities with my sisters and cousins. First, the food: hors d'oeuvres (cheeses and crackers, veggies and dip, bacon wrapped scallops, figs, shrimp cocktail), soup (butternut squash), salad, main course (mashed potatoes, turnip, acorn squash, stuffing, creamed onions, cranberry sauce, turkey, gravy, macaroni and cheese), and dessert (assorted cookies, ice cream and pies). The activities with my two younger sisters and six younger cousins range from our annual scavenger hunt (quick! Find an early Christmas decoration and take a photo. Now video your teammate walking and gobbling like a turkey. Next solve this crossword puzzle based on all of our interests, etc.) to tossing a football around the back yard to flashlight tag (I'm a natural since I tend to dress in all black). Inevitably, our Thanksgivings end up with a massive dance party on my aunt's deck by a fire pit, blasting the Notorious B.I.G. or the Best of the 70s. It's a blast.

Jacki Granet, Attorney
We in the Granet household don't have many Thanksgiving traditions. Some years we head to Florida to see my mom's family. Other years we go to Berkeley to spend it with my older sister and her in-laws. The one constant through everything is my dad's sweet potato pie. He insists on making it every year, no matter what. I am not a fan of sweet potato pie so I have rarely tried it, but watching him make it is truly hilarious. He does not follow a recipe and refuses to do so, mainly because he likes it extraaaaaa sweet. It basically consists of as much brown sugar as is humanly possible, some canned sweet potatoes, and marshmallows, which he burns. Every year. He says it tastes better that way. I'll just have to trust him on that.

Protima Daryanani, Partner
I usually use the Thanksgiving holiday to travel. Mostly, I  go back to England to visit my mother but we try to do something special on Thanksgiving Day. Last year, we had afternoon tea. There were cucumber sandwiches and scones and clotted cream. Not exactly a traditional Thanksgiving meal but it was quite tasty nevertheless.

Matthew Innes, Paralegal
In recent years, my parents have chosen to host Thanksgiving, which means most of my father's side of the family comes over, bringing their specialty dishes with them. My mother leads the efforts in preparing the turkey and a number of other sides, while my father goes all out with decorating the table, adorning it with all sorts of cornucopia-esque arrangements, a fine table cloth, and candles. He is also responsible for slicing the turkey, his preferred tool being an electric knife that resembles a hedge-trimmer, which usually causes people to gather around and crack a few cheesy jokes. What I like most  about Thanksgiving is that even though the house is full of people and excitement and energy, the moment when the meal is served and everyone sits down there is distinctive calm and clarity of mind that overcomes the table, at which point my uncle says a blessing and we all eat.

Jen Mecum, Law Clerk
Like many New Yorkers, "family" has become a more fluid and conscious concept for me over the years, particularly in regard to holiday celebrations. I have been lucky enough to spend recent Thanksgivings with my childhood friend of twenty-five years, my Brooklyn family and their parents from Pennsylvania, Texas, and Michigan, and my girlfriend and her family in northern New Jersey. Even though the location and sometimes the company changes, the food is always fantastic, the company grateful, and the mood relaxing. My Thanksgiving tradition is to slow down and enjoy the respite.

Joseph McKeown, HR Manager/Blog Editor
At my most recent Thanksgiving, I was with my family drinking bourbon, eating brownies, and watching The Godfather. It’s not a tradition, but I’m thinking of making it one.

Manuel Otero, Partner
Growing up, Thanksgiving in my home was an absolute feast.  I would awake to the smell of bleach, which meant my mother was up hours before me, cleaning the house from top to bottom. Soon however, the aromas of the various meals she was cooking would begin to swirl throughout the house.  As a child, I would try to sneak in the kitchen and taste everything, which often resulted in me being chased out with a wooden spoon.
The spread was a mix of traditional and the not-so-traditional.  The typical Thanksgiving meal would consist of ALL of the following:  a baked brie with a cranberry, shallot, and walnut relish, garlic shrimp, stuffed mushrooms, lasagna, roast beef, scalloped potatoes, roasted carrots and sweet potatoes, homemade stuffing and cranberry sauce, and, of course, turkey. For desert, family and friends would usually bring flan, a Spanish pastry called Brazo Gitano, a cheesecake, and just for good measure, my mother would bake an apple pie. There was lots of yelling over politics, heated card games, and a never-ending stream of children running up and down the stairs.  But in the end, when it came to saying goodnight, we were all grateful for love we surrounded ourselves with and the traditions we observe to remind us of that love.

Daniele Pinto, Paralegal
My husband and I were both born and raised in Brazil. In spite of all social problems in our homeland, we are super proud of our rich culture; however, throughout the years American culture has been conquering our hearts and so we have become a culturally blended family. Our calendar is full of traditions and they fill our home with joy as we love a celebration. Thanksgiving is one of our favorites. We start the month of November with our "Give Thanks Jar" where we daily put a thanks note for every blessing received during the year. Because my husband works in the restaurant industry, the girls and I have lots of fun decorating our home for a Thanksgiving luncheon on the Sunday after Thanksgiving day. We gather our family and friends together to enjoy a tasty marinated turkey among the other typical delights around a table full of love, laugher, gratitude and happiness.

Lourdes Sierra, Bookkeeper
For me, a typical Thanksgiving consists of deciding where we are having Thanksgiving dinner. Whether Thanksgiving is at my family's house or mine, we enjoy it in the company of good people and with lots of delicious food that we all cook. We have, of course, a delicious turkey but we also have our traditional Puertorican food.  After giving thanks and eating our delicious food, sometimes we play music and dance. It is lots of fun.  

Daniel Sheerin, Law Clerk
The night before Thanksgiving, I often join my childhood friends at the Melrose Fish and Game, a members-only club that draws a substantial crowd on the last Wednesday in November. Securing membership to the club proves elusive, but the father of one of my friends is a long-time member and he lets us in through a back room. I believe the Fish and Game remains one of the few establishments in the Metro Boston area where patrons can both purchase alcohol and discharge firearms, though the guns are locked away for the typically raucous Thanksgiving Eve celebration.