Personal Blog #2: Thanksgiving at the Gillman’s

Just like every year, I am really looking forward to traveling to my parents’ house in suburban Pennsylvania for Thanksgiving on Tuesday. When we celebrate the holidays at the Gillman house, we are small in size but big in the spirit of the season. We don’t really have any extended family, except for Gram, my mom’s mom, so for the holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas), it’s just me, my parents, my brother and sister, Gram, and Rosie, our bichon frise puppy, of course! But regardless of the fact that there’s not many of us, we love to celebrate the season, and now that I’m older, I rather enjoy not having to deal with additional company during the times when I actually get home to see my family.

For Thanksgiving, my younger sister (Amy, 23), younger brother (Max, 20) and I will arrive at my parents’ house the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and spend Tuesday night catching up with each other and Mom and Dad, eating and drinking, and playing with Rosie. It’s especially fun now that Amy, Max and I are all adults and are all (almost) of legal drinking age)!

Wednesday is a perfect mix of relaxing and preparing the menu for the big Turkey Day, and Wednesday night Amy and I help Mom start to bake the pies. Amy always does the pumpkin; I’m in charge of the apple crumb pie (Daddy’s favorite!) I am not that into baking, but I do enjoy this time in the kitchen with my mom and sister, chatting and having girl time. And the pie is not that hard to make, anyway. 🙂 After baking pies comes more down time with the fam: watching TV/movies, more catching up, playing with the dog, eating snacks/drinking wine and just hanging out! I’m feeling relaxed already just thinking about it!

Gillman Family Thanksgiving 2009

When Turkey Day arrives on Thursday morning, we are definitely the all-American family: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, starting to dabble in the kitchen, football outside in the yard (usually Dad and me vs. Amy and Max), then getting dressed up, all hands on deck in the kitchen and DINNER time!

Our menu slightly changes every year because my family always likes to try new foods, but we always have: turkey, Gram’s stuffing and mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole, cranberries (homemade), sweet potatotoes, carrots, a relish tray (my favorite and what I used to always help make as a kid) and squash.

While the food is a close second, perhaps my favorite part of the Gillman family Thanksgiving traditions is when we all go around the dinner table and say what we are thankful for. While it may sound cheesy, it is what we have always done as a family since I was a kid, and it puts things in perspective as to what great lives we really all have — so why stop just because “the kids” are all grown up?

While there are many more than five things for which I am thankful, this year the top five on my list when going around the table will be:

1. My good health
2. A tight knit family who is still (and will always be) there for me no matter what
3. Good food whenever I want it and a warm roof over my head
4. A secure job that I also very much enjoy
5. An amazing boyfriend who still makes me laugh. 🙂

After the delicious meal, we all clean up then settle in to watch “It’s a Wonderful Life,” or “The Sound of Music.” And the rest of the weekend consists of leftovers, more relaxing, shopping, more leftovers, decorating the Christmas tree, and more relaxing! Can’t wait til Tuesday after work… Happy Thanksgiving!

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About Jessie Gillman

This blog was created for my social media class as part of my graduate program in PR and communications at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. In addition to being a grad student, I am a PR/comm professional at Environics Communications where I focus on clean energy/environmental issues, education and women's health. I am also a huge book lover, an avid traveler, a big Philly sports fanatic, and I love Yoga.
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