Say what you want about the American lifestyle, but no other culture has a day marked by simple gratitude. A day to sit and eat, be with friends and family, watch football and soak up the last few weeks of fall weather. A day to acknowledge the gifts our ancestors gave us by founding this country and a day to look forward to where we are going. A day to show appreciation. A day to give thanks to God and each other.

Thanksgiving became especially important to me once I started college. Every year I look forward to being able to go home and just spend time with my family. The holiday carries no expectations, no required gift-giving, no special outfits- all my family asks of each other is we put down our phones, share our stories, and bring a few dollars to put into the pot for our yearly game of poker.

In nine days, I’ll be flying back to Tampa for the first time in 6 months. I’m so grateful that I have the chance to finally go back and see my family in person! I can’t wait to play with my dog, Daisy, and go for a long bike ride with my mom. I want to take my little sister shopping and listen to music with my brother. I want to go for a nature walk with my dad and watch the football game with my grandma. I can’t wait to sleep in my old bed and see what renovations my parents have made since I was last home. Thanksgiving is important to me because the older I get, the less it feels like I truly live at home; but with this holiday, I have the perfect excuse to go home and reconnect to what it feels like to live with a family who loves me. And once I’ve been home for almost a week, I get to come back to New Orleans. And that’s something to really be thankful for!

Here’s a song by the Avett Brothers to get you in the Thanksgiving mood! What’s your favorite thing about Thanksgiving?

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