Every November marks the time of year that we reflect on the fortune of good friends, food, and family. It also ushers in an important time for retail with Black Friday, serving as the official kickoff to the holiday season, and skyrocketing consumer spending on travel, gifts, and other discretionary outlets. From coast to coast, Americans celebrate Thanksgiving through a myriad of traditions; we asked our team to share their favorites, and love the full range of traditional and modern ways in which we celebrate this special holiday.
Though we enjoy many parts of Thanksgiving, family traditions around food are often our favorites. SE senior manager Nicole’s thanksgiving pays homage to her maternal side’s New Orleans roots with a rice dressing that has officially replaced their family’s traditional stuffing. Don’t dismiss this as your average side—Nicole makes an exception to her vegetarian diet on Thanksgiving to accommodate this dish! My entire extended family (my parents are both the youngest of six!) gathers together for a gigantic mixed feast of turkey, potatoes, green bean casserole, and pumpkin pie, alongside Chinese food like stir-fried noodles, dumplings and red bean cakes. It’s a riot.
In other food celebrations, our sales teammate Katie Howard’s family makes their onion cornbread every year. She has generously shared the recipe below, with the wear and tear to prove it’s worth making!
TECH + TRADITION
Favorite thanksgiving traditions across the team include the classics: watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, catching up with family, and eating leftovers while watching afternoon football. But even amidst traditions, technology has affected almost every way in which we prepare and celebrate for the holidays. T-minus 2 days before Thanksgiving, our VP Amy’s family used Instacart to avoid the crowds and get their turkey delivered right to the door. On the engineering team, Karen reunites with college friends every year for an epic friendsgiving event. Since her hometown in Taiwan is bit far to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday, she and many of her friends meet in a shared city and use Google docs to propose activities and recipes, schedule their plans, and keep track of various expenses. Since they all live in different cities, they rely heavily on technology to get organized so that they can spend the day eating scalloped potatoes and watching holiday movies!
These days, it’s hard to find a millennial holiday gathering that doesn’t have the comforting sound of Netflix’s cozily crackling fireplace in the background. Katie created the below Spotify playlist to set the holiday tone!
Katie also uses group Facetime to make sure her brother and his wife, who live and work in Dublin, know exactly what they’re missing out on at the family table in North Carolina. She’s waiting for Apple (or a San Francisco startup!) to build out the sniff feature to really up the jealousy factor.
Even at a tech focused company, our teams spend a lot of their holiday mindfully unplugging. Our senior advisor Joan has spent the past 30 some odd Thanksgivings with friends in Calistoga, spending the day playing rounds of charades and scavenger hunts. Karen and her friends spend Black Friday hiking. Devin, our designer, along with his wife and kids, partake in REI’s #OptOutside the day after Thanksgiving. An avid outdoor family, they plan on spending this Black Friday rock climbing, and love REI’s commitment to closing their doors on the biggest retail day of the year in the name of spending time outside with your loved ones.
And lastly, we would be remiss if we didn’t wrap up a Thanksgiving post without a quick reflection on how much we have to be thankful for in the past year. We’ve grown our headcount threefold, adding new members to every team and learning from each addition. We’ve also had bonus additions this year—Joan’s first grandchild Alice, our head of sales Mike’s first baby Jack, as well as Nicole’s and Skyler’s puppies Beau and Mason—and we feel very privileged to celebrate with them. We also moved our headquarters to a larger office this past summer, (conference rooms for all!) and have loved making it our home. Most of all, we are thankful to be part of the bustling retail industry, and thankful for all of the brand partners who have believed in us along the way.