Our Thanksgiving: Pumpkin, Wine and No Cell Reception

Thanksgiving Traditions

Thanksgiving is eating until you have to unbutton your pants, sit back, take a breath, then stuff your belly even more with yummy homemade food. It is more than food though, it is about family and friends getting together. We dove into how each of us spends Thanksgiving in Northwest Indiana.

“When it comes to pumpkin – I have zero willpower.”

-Joseph Markovich, President + CEO

Our Thanksgiving is just the four of us (plus the cats). We keep it nice and small and always make way too much food for just four people. My Mom keeps telling me “Joe, we don’t need two meats for four people!” Since we see my parents every week, Thanksgiving is just like a longer weekday dinner with more courses. The only difference is we can stay longer than two hours and don’t have to be anywhere the next day!

When it comes to pumpkin – I have zero willpower. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies. I absolutely love pumpkin.

“Rarely making it home to Colorado, my experience has been different pretty much every year.”

-Sean Hay, CMTO

I worked retail when I was a teenager and then for retail companies for a large chunk of my career, so Thanksgiving was always the start of a season of early mornings, late nights, and the experiencing the best (and the worst) of people. Even though I’d often be up until midnight, making sure those Black Friday sales started right, I’ve always looked forward to the breather – and the pecan pie – that Thanksgiving Day provided.

I’ve rarely made it home to Colorado for Thanksgiving, so my experience has been different pretty much every year – whether with friends or extended family, I always love seeing the unique traditions (and dishes) that develop within each group. Baked turkey, deep fried turkey AND prime rib? Win. Sweet potato casserole without marshmallows melted on top? Fail.

“…I get to reward myself with a tall glass of Prosecco and visit with family.”

-Renea Gallagher, Creative Director

I’ve hosted Thanksgiving for several years now. It’s usually a big crowd, 17-25 people. It’s always a buffet, so it’s not a fancy Martha Stewart affair. But I’m proud to say we’ve perfected roasting the bird.

(I highly recommend cooking turkey in an oven bag) and I make a mean cranberry dried cherry sauce that has become a tradition for me. I found the recipe several years ago on epicurious.com. I always make it a day or two before Thanksgiving and reheat it. What I love most about it is what I do with the leftovers. I freeze them and use it later to top off brie cheese and serve with crackers on Christmas Eve.

But I have to say my favorite part of Thanksgiving is when dinner is done, the dishes have been cleaned and I get to reward myself with a tall glass of Prosecco and visit with family. Cheers!


“We let our stomachs settle until the Dice Game begins then it’s every man for themselves…”

-Jill Nowak, Graphic Designer

Thanksgiving at the Nowak household is always filled with laughter and fun, ending in a food coma from eating so many delicious foods.

My siblings and I, traditionally, start the morning off watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and when it’s over that’s our cue to start cooking. I prepare my favorite dish, green bean casserole. While patiently waiting to get into the kitchen to make their own recipes, one of my siblings plays music for us, so we can jam out.

My brother T.J. is in the backyard deep frying a turkey, while mom cooks a traditional one in the oven. If you couldn’t guess by the two turkeys, both sides of my family are big, so relatives who are able to join us make dishes to share to complete our feast.

My favorite part of Thanksgiving is catching up with family because since we’ve all grown up our time to spend with one another has dwindled. We let our stomachs settle until the Dice Game begins then it’s every man for themselves as we compete for prizes before time runs out. As everyone collects their prizes from the Dice Game, we sit back to enjoy each other’s company with maybe another small helping of food or dessert to end the night.


“With no phone reception, we have to resort to other means of entertainment.”

-Haleigh Vander Vinne, Social Media + Content Marketing Specialist

Thanksgiving, for me, is not one day but four. Between my happily married parents, I have two: my mom’s in Walkerton and my dad’s in Iowa.

The day of Thanksgiving, we visit my mom’s side of the family on a farm, stuffing our faces with turkey, pumpkin pie, and sweet potatoes — my favorite food and only devoured on holidays. With no phone reception, we have to resort to four wheelers, the Wii, kayaking or soccer to entertain ourselves — always getting a workout.

When I visit my family in Iowa for the weekend, my uncle, aunts and cousins gather around the table to play Greedy or other board games we share. Thanksgiving is always an adventure and catching-up with family members’ lives is what I enjoy most — how we are all revolving around the world, doing different daily activities and we take this moment to stop and see each other.