A wedding anniversary.
A first Thanksgiving in America.
An eleventh Thanksgiving in America.
A post-Harvey gathering.
A Thanksgiving birthday.
Thanksgiving memories are more than parades and pumpkin pie around here. They are a collection of snap shots in time—some recent, some experienced many years ago, but they are as special as the people who share them.
This blog is a tradition, one we look forward to all year long. When life dishes out difficulties and disappointment, it’s sometimes easy to forget the good stuff—health, travel, quiet times with those you cherish and laughing with those you love. We offer these recollections in hopes you too, have glimpses of gratitude to share during the Thanksgiving season.
Traditions come in all kinds of configurations, so whether you’re enjoying (deep fried) turkey or salmon, running a 5K or celebrating on a beach, we hope your Thanksgiving is full of moments worth sharing.
The Alexander Group
John Lamar, The Alexander Group, Founder & Managing Director
Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays as fall is one of my favorite seasons—can you say football?
The colors of the vineyards are all lit up in amber and gold and yet the weather is still temperate enough to eat outside, and, of course, the highlight is dessert by the open fire.
I’m not sure we’ve had a best turkey day yet, but last year was pretty epic as we had our friend, and fine artist, Eloin Rivera, join us from Cali, Colombia. Faith admired his work on Instagram and hired him sight unseen to paint two murals in our dining room in Mexico. It was risky yes, and I thought she was crazy, but six weeks, and many hours of scaffold commitment later, our walls were covered in life-sized, perfectly rendered palm groves —just spectacular!
Eloin had never had Thanksgiving before and when we learned he would be in the U.S. we wasted no time including him in our celebration. He drove up the night before—15 hours in traffic— from his project in Malibu. It was so joyful to see our talented friend after more than a year had passed, and his English had improved markedly!
Jane Howze, The Alexander Group, Founder & Managing Director
In November 2005, my husband, John, and I took our annual anniversary trip to the big island of Hawaii. We were married Thanksgiving week 1980 and it was our usual trip, which is to say, it was wonderful.
On the actual day of our anniversary, John kept rushing me to get ready for dinner saying that he didn’t want to miss the sunset. I still didn’t think anything was unusual when he suggested I put on a little make up and do a little more to my hair before we left the room. When we arrived to the beach side restaurant, a minister awaited us to renew our vows with an ancient Hawaiian wedding ceremony on the sand in the middle of a heart created by an array of orchids. I don’t think I have ever been so surprised, and so moved.
This year you will find us again back on the big island celebrating our 43rd wedding anniversary. Count me grateful and loved.
Amanda Brady, The Alexander Group, COO/Managing Director
There's always something special about New Orleans, but celebrating Thanksgiving in The Big Easy elevates the holiday in a way only the city and its unique energy can. Amanda Brady tapped into that energy Thanksgiving 2020, marking the holiday with these iconic New Orleans images.
John Mann, Managing Director, Alex & Red
One of my most memorable Thanksgivings was our Thanksgiving in 2017.
My wife and I had just completed construction of our house in May of that year and Hurricane Harvey hit Houston in August. Our neighborhood was decimated, we were fortunately one of only three homes on our block that did not flood. We decided that year to host a ‘Friendsgiving’ and invited our friends and neighbors to have Thanksgiving at our house. It was a wonderful day with many families bringing their favorite Thanksgiving dishes.
I was grateful to be back with our neighbors and to bring levity in a very difficult time.
Jon Verlander, Managing Director, Alex & Red
Given that I grew up away from the U.S., my Thanksgiving memories are limited to the last 11 years during which time I have come to love this holiday. For me, it’s like Christmas with only 50% of the chaos and drama, and with none of our family overseas celebrating, we’ve never had to contemplate travelling to visit people. Before I start sounding like a miserable antisocial curmudgeon, we’ve had some great Thanksgiving celebrations over the past 11 years – often with lots of other immigrants getting their heads around new traditions.
Best of all, thanks to this holiday, I have learnt how to deep fry a turkey, which is one of my most cherished life skills.
William Lepiesza, The Alexander Group, Director
One of my favorite Thanksgiving memories is more of an ongoing tradition. Each Thanksgiving morning the whole family runs in a 5 mile road race in my hometown back in Massachusetts. And it has been especially fun the last few years as my soon-to-be-eleven-year-old daughter Katie is now old enough to run it with us (having graduated from the early years of being pushed in the baby jogger)! Hopefully it will be a bit warmer this year than last year’s 20 degree weather!
Sarah Mitchell, The Alexander Group, Director
My sweetest Thanksgiving memory is from 2005 – my parents were in San Francisco visiting from Austin and it was my first Thanksgiving in my first flat. The holiday was never all that big of a deal in our house growing up on account of my parents being British; we used it as a practice run for the Christmas meal. Mum, Dad and I gathered around my little table in my little kitchen for our Thanksgiving meal. I made salmon. It was perfect.
Alisha Hathaway, Managing Director, The Alexander Group
Favorite Thanksgiving memories? Two are top of mind.
One, the time we kicked off a huge Vermont family Thanksgiving with a HUGE bottle of wine and it set the tone. And then the first Thanksgiving we hosted in our (then) new farmhouse in Middleburg.
Beth Ehrgott, The Alexander Group, Managing Director
We had some medical scares this year and are so very grateful that we are all healthy, including Jack’s recovery from sports injuries allowing him to continue to compete at the D1 level and play the game he loves. Here’s to looking forward and celebrating the future!
Brittnee Gradney, The Alexander Group, Accounting Manager
Circa 2015, I was still living at home working as a waitress at the time, and my boyfriend worked for his family. Two young kids nowhere near close to leaving the nest due to unstable careers and unforeseen life events. On a typical Monday three days before Thanksgiving, we are casually streaming a TV show on his laptop, me oblivious and him anxious. He turns to me, tearing away from the apex of action, asking me to spend the rest of his life with him. I stopped to consider that this man would probably ruin shows for me for the rest of my life, but I said yes anyway.
We announced our engagement to both families on Thanksgiving day.
Jodi Smith, The Alexander Group, Manager of Administrative Services
One of my favorite Thanksgiving memories was the year that my son and I did the Turkey Trot 5k on Thanksgiving morning.
It was not great weather for the race, there were a million things to do before lunch and I’m certainly not an avid runner, but it was nice to do something just the two of us before all the festivities of the day.
It’s been a couple of years since that race so I’m certainly out of practice but we’re doing it again this year.
The best part about holidays really isn’t the food and decorations, it’s the memories you make along the way. Something unrelated to “Thanksgiving” is now becoming our Thanksgiving tradition. I’m looking forward to it!
Lindsay Ames, The Alexander Group
I don’t have a specific memory of Thanksgiving that stands out above the rest, but I do have a particular feeling that goes along with the holiday and have since childhood. My birthday periodically falls on the holiday, and one of my younger cousins’ does as well (a different day). My mother’s side of the family used to combine all of the celebrations into one day, celebrating Thanksgiving and our birthdays all at once. I recall it used to irritate me as a kid that I didn’t get my “own day” with extended family, but I eventually grew out of that.
As an adult, I look upon the occasion fondly because I was lucky enough to have my first child on my birthday! The local schools typically have the entire week of Thanksgiving off, so we have extra time to share our birthday together. My daughter has gone back and forth with her feelings about sharing her birthday with me, but we are cognizant not to combine the party with Thanksgiving day – except for those years where the dates happen to be the same!
For the last several years, since I really don’t have much family left and neither Greg nor I have any family local, we have Friendsgiving! Greg cooks a seared duck breast since our friends aren’t really into turkey, and we enjoy seasonal cocktails while playing dominoes. Much less stressful than fighting crowds at the airport.