Written by Yael Livneh
Ask most people what they’re doing for Thanksgiving and you’ll hear something along the lines of eating turkey, and pumpkin pie and giving thanks. For senior Maddy Kaplan, Thanksgiving with the family means football, christmas trees and music by The Mamas and Papas.
Kaplan’s mother’s side of the family, the Actons, hail from central Ohio, where many traditions in her immediate family stem from. Every year they come together to watch the Ohio State vs. Michigan college football game, covered head to toe in Ohio State’s colors of scarlet and grey. “The rivalry between the University of Michigan and Ohio State University is known as perhaps the biggest in college football,” Kaplan said, “Being in a room full of people all screaming about the same thing and being so fixated is really cool, especially because very few people care about the rivalry in California.”
the Kaplan family doesn’t stop at football to truly get into the holiday spirit. The day after Thanksgiving, they haul ornaments out of their grandmother’s attic and carefully unwrap them while jamming to playlists full of The Mamas and Papas and The Beatles. The tradition comes from Ohio as well, where each of her mother’s four siblings has a personal, handmade ornament decorated with their name. “They would take pictures as they all hung their specific ornaments on the tree every year, and once my mom moved to California they would keep her ornament off the tree until she could come home so she could put it on herself,” Kaplan said.
Traditions aren’t only passed down through the Kaplan parents. “When I was younger my brother and I would make fake trees for centerpieces in class. Each colored leaf would have something different written on it that we were thankful for,” Kaplan said. “I always got really into it and would make my family add their own leaves during the meal, but we’ve scrapped that now that we’re older and just go around saying things we’re thankful for.”