Celebrating: Family traditions color UDM students’ festivities

Thanksgiving is time to come together as a family to give thanks for the things and people we have in our life.

Not always do we recognize what we have been blessed with and Thanksgiving is our opportunity to sit down with the people who mean the most and have been influential in our lives and to reflect on what we have been given.

 For most – including students at the University of Detroit Mercy – this means a gathering with family and friends around the table, eating a ton of food, sharing memories and making new ones.

Many families have their own traditions and customs.

“My family meets at my grandparents’ house and eats turkey, of course, and then we all sit and watch a comedic holiday movie all together,” said Tabatha Sack, a sophomore. “We always have a blast watching grandpa get a little too over-served and cracking jokes that leave the whole family on the floor laughing.”

Some families even end up making new traditions every year.

“My whole family is included in the cooking process for my family,” said student Marisa Corona. “Each family member is in charge of one dish and it is more like a potluck meal than one person slaving in the kitchen for hours. This way we all have something to be thankful for and that is the work each member puts into our Thanksgiving meal every year.”

Not everyone eats turkey.

Nick Garippa, a graduate assistant coach with UDM men’s lacrosse team, said his family celebrates the holiday nontraditionally.

The Garippas never carve a big bird. The main reason?

“We have just never really enjoyed the taste of turkey, so we enjoy filet instead,” he said.

Not always is it easy to realize the many things we have been given.

Mostly, we dwell on the negative things in life and what we complain.

We are rarely given the chance to sit down with families and friends and reflect because of everyone’s busy schedule.

When sitting around a table surrounded by your loved ones, you may be able to see how fortunate you are to have those special people in your life.

That will be the case this year for Jessica Wahby, a sophomore.

“This Thanksgiving will be one of the most memorable for me since my older brother had been deployed to Afghanistan at the beginning of 2012 and has not been home since,” Wahby said. “We recently got the news that he will be able to come home this year and celebrate with us. I know I will burst into tears once he walks through the door and puts down his bag. The years he was not able to be home for Thanksgiving have not been the same.”