Happy Thanksgiving: My holiday reflection

It's arrived! Before we get fully involved in this blog entry, I wish you and your family a magical Thanksgiving. Can you believe it? Just like that, the holidays are here!

(Pictured above: My mom and dad's Christmas mantle, Christmas 2012)

I tried to warn you in my last post- haha! Confession: I've already plundered through a storage closet and pulled out the Christmas CDs. Yes, to my sister Alex, I still listen to CDs. Like who thought that would ever get old?

(Pictured above: Sister, Alex and me 2011 holiday season. She's the "cooler sister", according to friends)

When I think of the holidays and Thanksgiving, I immediately light up. Instantly, I smell the turkey cooking in my mom's oven. Who doesn't love the bird, especially a deep-fried bird? Anyways, you sure know how to cook a turkey, Anita! As the cranberries bubble on the stove top, the aromas fuse through the air and I picture myself all bundled up on the couch with my siblings watching the Macy's Day Parade. Oh, being from Michigan, football is a big part of the day too for my dad, brothers, uncles and cousins.  Not me, though.  But hey, go Lions!

(Pictured above: Siblings: Salvatore, Me, Alex & Stefan. Holiday 2012 reunion. "Reunited and it feels so good")

As the years go by, maybe you can relate to this. The older I get, the more I seem to enjoy Thanksgiving. It's like Christmas, but the reason doesn't get buried somewhere deep into the retail industry. This year in particular, I feel so much more "in tune" with Thanksgiving's purpose. That must be a sign that I'm actually a grown-up now. Wait... nah. But I would say this year, I plan to think about all I DO have instead of all I DON'T. I honestly believe working in the news industry will slap you back into reality. Just when I think I'm having a bad day, I'm reminded of tragedy, disease and crime, and in the same breath, I'm simply relieved I have a healthy heart beat, a roof over my head, food in my fridge (thank God for food), and amazing family and friends. This year, it's all about the small things.

(Pictured above: Photographer unknown. Photo found online).

I don't typically go home for Thanksgiving. I haven't been to my family's Thanksgiving since 2008. That was right before I moved to the Tar Heel state for my big shiny TV job. Before you say, "Poor Anna," I consider myself extremely thankful. No, I don't get to go home in November. But when December and Christmas roll around, I gratefully get to take off a nice chunk of time to be with my family then. Now, that's when the real party is! Cousin Maryann Gusmano, I can't wait for your flavored "coffee."

(Pictured above: Cousin Maryann and grandson Benjamin. Note the "coffees")

This year in particular, I found myself in a beautiful mess. I actually had TOO many friends here in North Carolina invite me to their families' holiday celebrations. What a problem, eh? By the way, a big "thank you" to Buster and Gena Andrews, Pamela Creel and Brandon Reavis, and Kathy and Wes Goforth. I will work to make my rounds. On Friday morning, I expect I'll need a wheel chair to get to the desk after all the food. Again, what a beautiful problem. Ahh! Pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes... whoops! I'm getting off track now.

I called my mom this week. I got her amazing mashed potatoes recipe complete with the healthiest of ingredients, including butter and half and half. What? I need to bring a dish to pass! While getting the recipe, I was sad to think I won't be home with her and the rest of my family this year.

(Picture above: Mom and dad cooking up a storm, 2011)

Then, it hit me. I did it! This Michigan chick packed up 5 years ago on Nov. 28, 2008 to follow her dream, and she and dad moved her into her new North Carolina apartment. You better believe it was tough, especially around the holidays. Little old me has really made a life for herself more than 800 miles away from home.

(Pictured above: My first North Carolina snow coverage story, 2009)

This year, I'm thankful to have a place, far away from home, that makes me feel like home. So I dedicate this blog entry to you, my viewers. Thank you for welcoming me into your homes every morning. Thank you for giving me a chance and making me feel so at home with you.

(Pictured above: John Van Dyke, Me, Les Still, New Bern Christmas Tree Lighting 2010)

Now don't overeat. Just kidding! But do hug your grandparents and give what you can to those less fortunate. I simply wish you a lovely meal with friends and family. I also hope you make time for a nap. You know what happens when you eat too much turkey.

Gobble, gobble!

*Cue the Christmas movies.*

Happy Thanksgiving,

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