Students, professor reflect on what makes Thanksgiving holiday special

Liesje Powers | Multimedia Editor

By Jennifer Smith | Reporter

Thanksgiving is a holiday Baylor loves celebrating. Between the delicious on-campus dinner, students leaving to reconnect with family and the professors who open their homes to their students for dinner, there’s a lot to be thankful for.

Holidays are made special by the traditions that accompany them. Cibolo senior Taylor Ward takes her family’s Thanksgiving traditions to heart. Ward said she anticipates Thanksgiving break all semester because it gives her a chance to spend quality family time, and, of course, eat all the amazing food that comes with the celebration.

“Our Thanksgiving is so much fun. We all get up early to start the food preparation because let’s be honest, the food is where it’s at,” Ward said. “My dad is always in charge of cooking the turkey, and he has mastered both the oven and the deep fryer … though we all fear for his eyebrows when he uses the deep fryer,” Ward said. “While my sister, mom and I are cooking, we always have the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on the kitchen TV, and my dad has the football game on the living room TV, so everyone is happy.”

Although the food and football festivities can be exciting, Ward admits there’s a deeper meaning to Thanksgiving.

“In my opinion, the best part of this holiday is the company and the food,” Ward said. “I come from a very close-knit family so I really enjoy being able to spend time with them and our friends. It’s a wonderful excuse to bring the people I love and admire together and express care, compassion and consideration for others. I’m also a complete and utter foodie. I love to eat, so a sanctioned holiday where we are encouraged to eat till we pop the buttons on our jeans is all thumbs up for me,” Ward said.

Every family has their own Thanksgiving traditions one way or another. For San Antonio senior Jay Salazar, it’s a friendly game night followed by a face full of dessert, literally.

“Every year after my family eats, naps and has dessert, we spent the night playing a variety of board games and Uno. My siblings are younger than me so it’s fun to mess around with them,” Salazar said. “But the only tradition that has stuck in my family for the last thirty years is the annual ‘face full of pie,’ where whoever eats the least amount of food, children excluded, gets a face full of whipped cream at the end of the night.”

Although these family traditions make Thanksgiving particularly special for some Baylor students, others don’t have the means to be with their families on Thanksgiving. Knowing that, Dr. Mojgan Parizi-Robinson, a lecturer of biology, has extended the invitation for Thanksgiving dinner to her students for the last five years.

Parizi-Robinson said she sends her students a formal invitation on Canvas, giving them her address and cell-phone number. She offers her students a place with food, friends and fellowship and urges them to stop by at their own convenience on Thanksgiving.

“I feel like not only am I their professor, but I’m also their mentor. I want to set an example that this is a time of thanksgiving, and I want to be grateful for what I have,” Parizi-Robinson said. “As I’m sitting there eating with my family, my heart breaks because I have a student who’s family is across the country or world. It’s just not right; it doesn’t sit well with me as a Christian,” Parizi-Robinson said.

She said one year a group of her students couldn’t make it until 8 p.m., so when they arrived she reheated all the leftovers and they sat in front of the TV, eating and playing monopoly with her family.

“It’s my kids’ favorite time because they love seeing and meeting my Baylor students. I don’t want it any other way. I look forward to it every year, and so does my husband. We just love doing it,” Parizi-Robinson said.

Whether you’re taking advantage of the short week to travel and see family, or stopping by your professor’s house to enjoy some company, Baylor offers their students many reasons to be thankful this holiday season.

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