Taking the time to reflect on what to be grateful for

Olivia Gaziano :  As we all know, Thanksgiving is quickly approaching. Now it may look different for us this year, but we just wanted to take a moment to reflect on what we’re thankful for and how we can make new traditions.

Autumn Zayas : I want to start off by asking what your guys’ plans for Thanksgiving are and how they are different from years past.

Caleb Birch : I know for me, we have to remove ourselves from our family, and we’re not able to be with our family during this time; we have to separate ourselves to be safe from COVID. And we have to make new traditions for ourselves because we want to have a fun Thanksgiving.

Megan Drake : This year for me, it’s not too different. We usually don’t do a lot for Thanksgiving because most of my family lives out of state. So it is just my brother coming home, but other than that, everything pretty much normal.

Pravalika Balajivaishnavi : Well, for my family, we usually hang out with friends and have dinner or something, but since we can’t go around with friends because of COVID, we’re just going to have a little dinner with ourselves.

OG : Yeah, this year, for me, I know a lot of my family is high risk and everything right now. So we are doing two separate Thanksgivings. And so at my house, we’re all going to be having our own little pods at different tables. We’re all going to be wearing masks, especially when we go serve food. It is really sad because we want to do Thanksgiving, but at the same time, we have to do it with all those safety precautions to make sure everyone is safe because. It would just be disrespectful for all of us to be like, oh yeah I’ll have a huge party. That is just not realistic, and we don’t want to put ourselves at risk or anybody else at risk.

Aiden Spenner : So for my Thanksgiving, we’re just going to be here and pretty much eat a massive Thanksgiving dinner. Last year, we went to New York, to see family and the year before that we stayed home, so I guess it isn’t too strange for my family, but this year we can’t really see the family that we want to see and you know, it’s just, it’s kind of hard sometimes not being able to see them.

AZ : I know for me, and my parents, who are divorced, it’s kind of like, I jump around from house to house all the time. And Thanksgiving is a really big holiday at my dad’s house because I have many more cousins at my dad’s house. When I am with him, we kind of jump from house to house and aunt to aunt. I also have a stepfamily at his house, so we all try to come together as one, you know. This year I know, talking to my dad, it’s going to. I’m with my mom this year, but talking to my dad, he was like, we’re probably going to cook a small dinner here and maybe zoom the family or something like that. I know for them it’s a huge change. And as for at my mom’s house, we usually just have dinner; sometimes we go to my mom’s boyfriend’s family’s house, but we usually have dinner like with the family, so not too much of a difference. My mom is cooking and I’m really excited [for that]. 

Christina Guckel : My plans for Thanksgiving are probably to go to my cousin’s house and celebrate with only our two families. Usually, without the pandemic, my family will go to a relative’s house with many other people, but unfortunately, that won’t be able to happen this year. 

AZ : Okay, reflecting on these past few months, what is something that you can be grateful for during these times.

OG : I think one thing that I realize right now is how thankful we are for technology. We are so blessed to have in our country, especially our school district, to give us Chromebooks. We have the opportunity to continue learning and continue growing as well because the thing is, we are learning things every day just like the teachers are with technology. I think that will help us in the future. Because technology is like new every single day, you know, so I think that is something we take for granted. How grateful we are that we can still do these zooms [with laptops], even though it is not the same[as going to school] it is better than nothing. And I think that is something that we can really be grateful for right now, that we’re so blessed to have a technology, that we’re able to afford and have that.

CB :  I feel like one thing that we are especially more grateful for now more than ever is having our family by our sides to keep us straight-minded and help us not go crazy in this lockdown. They’re the ones that are really there for us day to day. Even when we can’t be with our friends, we can’t be with our peers at school, can’t be with our sports teams, no matter who it is. This time really shows us how much we can trust our family more than anything else.

AS : I’m just extremely grateful for all of the frontline workers, all of the officials, and everyone who is handling this pandemic so well and has given up their time to help others who are in need. Honestly, I just find that so commendable. 

AZ : Adding to what Caleb said, along with family, I feel like we kind of got a chance to appreciate our friends even more during this time. Because you know, now we can’t see them and we can’t hang out all the time. I know during, by talking to other people during the epidemic, they may have lost a few friends because, having this distance having this time, where it’s kind of up to you whether you want to continue with this friendship and make time for it. So I feel like the friends you end up having and the friends you make time for, give you a bigger sense of gratefulness for them, and I feel like that’s a very important thing. 

CG : For me, also I am grateful for having [more] time with my family because I used to not be as close with my family before the pandemic, but since now we are all like staying home, we are all a little bit closer than before because we all have to spend time with each other more often

PB : For me, going off of what Caleb, Autumn, and Christina said I really agree that this pandemic helped me see how much value there is in my friendship and family relationships, mainly because I got to spend a lot more time with my family. Now that I don’t meet my friends as often. It is still pretty nice to know that I can always call them up whenever I’m in trouble, and they’ll be there.

MD : I think going off of what Olivia and Autumn said, I am grateful for being able to FaceTime my friends and still be able to contact them. FaceTime has given us a way to all communicate. Especially in a group FaceTime, we are all allowed to get into a big group of people and talk to each other even when we cannot see each other face to face.

OG : Yeah, and kind of just like what everyone is saying, especially for friendships [this pandemic] kind of shows you who your true friends are and how much you can be so appreciative of them. And realizing like oh maybe like you know you didn’t really think of like, “oh hey how are you doing” as such a huge tax but now you do know how much that means so because there are people reaching out and showing how much they really do care about you. Like, even though we may be distanced, those relationships can still continue, and that we don’t have to put that to a pause.

AZ: Yeah, I 100% agree in how this distance over Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving being such a family holiday. Like you know, having Friendsgiving is to show your gratefulness for your friends, and I feel that [Thanksgiving] is just a huge holiday. It is filled with gratefulness and thanks because of the distance that COVID has put on our relationships. And I feel like all of it is just so important. On that note. Do you guys have any plans for Black Friday?

OG: I know that is going to be really different this year; it is either going to be a lot of people or no people at all, and I am kind of curious to see how it is going to turn out. Because usually, my cousins and I would always wake up at the crack of dawn, and on that Thursday, we would look at all the ads that come in and circle what we want. So I think that we will definitely go to stores probably earlier just because we do not want to be with the crowds, you know, and kind of thinking of where other people are going to be, kind of be mindful of that, so we can be safe. You know, wearing masks and if it is just too much and we are definitely going to not go to that store. Because of the crowds and things like that, but I’d like to try this year, [though] it definitely won’t be the same.

PB: Yeah, as Olivia said, I am wondering how Black Friday will be with all the crowds and all that, like how are they going to implement social distancing, would they ask some people to leave or say that [there can only be] this many numbers of people entering the building. But personally, for my family, this year, we are going to order online because we think it’s safer just to order online and not risk any infection.

AD: And this year, there are probably going to be a lot of online sales too. Of course, stores have already [always] had to compete with online [shopping] years before this, but now they will have massive competition, and I feel like online is going to beat them out for sales just by volume because of this whole pandemic.

CG: Yeah, for me, I think I’m going to do Black Friday shopping this year. And I’m predicting that there is going to be longer lines like in, ‘in-person’ and I think more people are going to go ‘in person’ than online personally. Usually, as a tradition [for me], one of my friends and I go every year [shopping] early in the morning.  I’m thinking that we are going to go to an outdoor mall this year since it is easier not to spread COVID.

MD: I know a lot of stores have started their sales way earlier than this week, and they are going to go a little bit longer [sales] so that they can try to minimize crowds so that less people will [shop] on Thursday and Friday. We’ll be more spread out.

CB: My family, we do not normally make plans for Black Friday. But every year, my mom somehow tricks me and makes me go. I feel like Black Friday this year will be so much different because we have to separate ourselves from everywhere else. We are going to see so many lines outside of stores with a number of [shops having] people within the store limits. So I feel like malls are going to have [a limited] capacity. So, if you don’t get there early, [get there] without a mask, without social distancing, and without proper things, they are just going to tell you to get lost. It’s going to be a lot different with all these safety protocols and group numbers[capacity limit].

AZ: I know from a worker’s point of view because I have to work all day on Black Friday, I know that my store has not really talked about our Black Friday precautions. But, you know, there is the whole ‘only a certain amount of people are allowed in the store at the time’. The precautions stores are already taking, [are] going to kind of up, up a little bit. And you know, it’s kind of like a wait and see how many people show up because of the pandemic. And, yeah.

PB: Well, we hope everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving and has something to be thankful for during this time. And I hope everyone wears masks and follow safety precautions given by the CDC guidelines, and hopefully this year, we can make new traditions even during this pandemic filled time.