by Rachel Anderson
The line for Chucks stretched past the information desk in the Student Center on Thursday, November 17 as students waited with their friends for Chucksgiving. Chucks was filled with extra tables, people and food as Cedarville celebrated their version of Thanksgiving before the students left for break. Long tables lined with black tablecloths were filled with rolls, stuffing, corn, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, honey-cured ham, roast turkey, and cranberry sauce. There were also tables with desserts such as pumpkin pie, apple pie, whipped cream, coffee and donut ice cream, and hot apple cider.
“There were many long lines, but my friends all around the table made it much better. The apple cider also helped,” Freshman Taylor Blattner said, who went to Chucksgiving for the first time on Thursday.
Chucksgiving is a time to celebrate Thanksgiving with dorm mates and classmates before the 5,082 students enrolled in Cedarville disperse to celebrate the holiday with family and friends just a few days later. This year, Thanksgiving break starts on Wednesday, November 23 and classes begin again on Tuesday, November 28.
The break serves as an opportunity for students to go home and see their families. Sophomore Micaiah O’Malley went to her home in southern Indiana for the first time during fall break and is excited to go back and continue her long-standing tradition of filling a poster with notes of thankfulness.
“Coming to college hasn’t really changed my Thanksgiving traditions, but being away does make them more nostalgic and homey,” O’Malley said. “We’ll have a family gathering on my dad’s side on Thanksgiving day, and then go to my other grandparents’ house a couple of days later. My mom likes to have a poster board of a tree that we can put sticky notes on of what we’re thankful for.”
Thanksgiving break allows some students to travel home for the first time all semester. This is the case for freshmen Taylor Blattner who has not been able to go home to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania since she moved to Cedarville University on Aug. 6. She is the student manager on the Women’s Volleyball team, so she had to arrive on campus early and was not able to leave during fall break.
“I did not fully realize how much I took for granted the time I had with my family at home while in high school,” Blattner said. “Now that I am out here and haven’t been home in some time, I have honestly been counting down the days until I can see my family after so long.”
Even though she has been away from home at Cedarville, Blattner’s Thanksgiving traditions have stayed the same this year which means she is going to her grandparent’s house.
“My family and I alternate each year, one year we will go to my grandparent’s house on my mother’s side of the family and we will have turkey and tons of yummy sides,” Blattner said. “The year after that we would go to my grandparent’s house on my dad’s side of the family for delicious thanksgiving food, as well as various different pies that my aunts would make. It’s a common tradition but I love seeing my extended family during this holiday.”
Many students, however, live too far away to travel home for a holiday, such as senior Anna Grace Galkin who will not be able to go home to Salt Lake City, Utah until Christmas break. She traveled home during her freshman and sophomore years, but with two of her siblings attending Cedarville this year, it would be too expensive to fly all of them home.
“If we have to spend the holiday away from the rest of the family, we three siblings still have each other,” Galkin said. “Our friends have invited us to spend the holidays with their family in Cincinnati this year. We will rest up, cook, and catch up on homework.”
Growing up, Galkin had untraditional Thanksgiving traditions. Her father was a traveling pastor, so the family would be in a new location every year for the holidays.
“If we were near extended family, we would normally roast a good turkey with them,” Galkin said. “One year our traveling team members weren’t able to go home for the holidays, so we all stayed together and made a huge thanksgiving feast with everything from green bean casserole and crunchy onions to oven-warmed brie.”
This does not sound that different from the food served at Chucksgiving; however, Galkin did not always eat the traditional turkey dinner.
“On years with just our family, we would change things up and boil crab legs with lemon, pepper, butter, and garlic and then steam entire artichokes to dip in lemon-pepper mayo sauce,” Galkin said. “We always go around the table a couple of times saying things we are thankful for.”
With thousands of students all celebrating Thanksgiving in their own unique ways, Cedarville’s Chucksgiving and Thanksgiving Praise Chapel on Nov. 22 are a way to unite the students and celebrate the holiday with them before leaving.
“I love the prolonged thanksgiving celebration here at Cedarville. It’s like we get two Thanksgivings,” Sophomore Avery Jackson said, who went to Chucksgiving for her second year in a row. “Celebrating at Cedarville reminds me of how thankful I am for my friends.”
Rachel Anderson is a sophomore AYA English education major. She enjoys running, reading, and traveling in her free time.
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