Boarders’ Thanksgiving without Boarders


A day of food, family and more food, Thanksgiving has been celebrated by Americans across the nation ever since the original meal in 1621. Many spend the day cooking, giving thanks to their loved ones or camping out in front of stores before the Black Friday rush. Although we often think of large family gatherings (sometimes involving relatives we may or may not like), Thanksgiving isn’t always a holiday that people celebrate with their families. For Hockaday boarders, the holiday is often spent with their host families rather than their families back home.

Because there isn’t enough time to travel home, junior Aleena Dewji, whose parents live in South Africa, spends her Thanksgivings with her Hockaday host family. During Thanksgiving, Dewji comes together with her residence community, and they discuss what they are thankful for while enjoying their Thanksgiving meal. Although the holiday is new to her, she is intrigued by the concept of Thanksgiving. “I love learning about American traditions and cultures so it’s always fun to see different families coming together and spending the holiday eating great food and showing their appreciation for anything they want,” Dewji said.

Similarly, junior Yiwen Yang has been celebrating Thanksgiving with her host family for the past four years and loves the traditions that surround the holiday. Over the Thanksgiving break, Yang celebrates her host sister Jane Cook’s birthday, which falls during the same week. On Thanksgiving Day, Yang visits her host sister’s extended family. They cook turkey and pies together and after the meal, Yang and her host family buy a Christmas tree together. Yang’s favorite parts about Thanksgiving are “sleep, turkey and pie,” but there are reasons beyond these (although they are all three incredibly important) as to why Thanksgiving is one of her favorite holidays. “Thanksgiving has a better atmosphere than other holidays because it’s centered more around gratitude than [it is around] gifts,” Yiwen said.

Most boarders spend Thanksgiving Day with their host families, but some are lucky enough to be able to visit their families at home during the break. Senior Hallie Gu, whose parents previously lived in China, is able to visit her family this year now that they have moved to Canada. Gu plans on spending her Thanksgiving with her friends and family in Vancouver, where she will “most likely be eating Chinese food.” Senior Allie Lanfear will also be visiting her family at home for Thanksgiving. Lanfear, whose family lives in San Antonio, spends her Thanksgiving eating a big meal with her parents and grandparents, and then goes golfing with her dad the Friday after. 

No matter whom you spend Thanksgiving with, it is a holiday that inevitably unites you with your friends and families. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!