I grew up in Michigan, where my entire family lived within a ten-mile radius of my house.
So when it came to Thanksgiving, what was traditional to me was a huge feast and a flock of cousins. And often times, this traditional Thanksgiving would happen twice over the course of the weekend; once with my mom’s side and once with my dad’s side. At the time, this is how I thought Thanksgiving would be always and forever.
When my husband and I moved to New York City for a couple of years, a new tradition took place.
Family members wanted to come to us for Thanksgiving so that we could go see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. And since New Yorkers don’t really grocery shop for more than they can carry in an armload, our feast would consist of eating out somewhere in the city. I liked this new tradition. We didn’t plan to stay in New York City forever, so it felt like a fun way to mix things up until we had children of our own and moved back to Michigan where we would live out traditional holidays with our family.
Unbeknownst to us at the time, life had different plans for us.
We found ourselves moving down to Richmond in the spring of 2009 for my husband’s job. And once kids came into the picture, it certainly wasn’t feasible to travel back to Michigan for every holiday.
We had to start our own traditions.
Growing up with a big crowd around me on Thanksgiving is one of my fondest memories. I want our kids to have the opportunity to have that same feeling of community I always experienced.
One of the best things about Richmond, in my opinion, is that not everyone you meet is already from Richmond and tied to their own traditions.
In fact, my husband and I meet more people from Michigan here in Richmond than we do in the actual state of Michigan!
For Thanksgiving, we started inviting other Richmond transplants who were far away from their families to our home to celebrate with us. Sometimes, these people are our close friends who happen to be in town for the holiday. But more often than not, it’s a coworker or someone else that we don’t really know all too well.
Over the years, we’ve been able to build some lasting relationships with the people that we share Thanksgiving with. We’ve learned that family doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re related by blood, but rather that you share life together.