Last year, I had to take a deep breath before writing our 20th annual Thanksgiving blog. Although there was much to be grateful for, there was also fear, Covid fatigue and many people spending Thanksgiving away from friends and family.
What a difference a year can make!
While life is not fully back to normal, I think all of us can agree that the worst of the pandemic is behind us. Many of us will have a very different Thanksgiving than we did last year. Here is how some of our team will be celebrating turkey day—with extra helpings of gratitude!
Beaches, a Honeymoon, an Anniversary, a Baby, mixed with a Big Move and Friends and Family
My husband John and I got married Thanksgiving weekend 41 years ago. We honeymooned on the Big Island of Hawaii. It is a magical island with scores of golf courses, a black sand beach, and erupting volcano. Each year we return to celebrate our anniversary. We use this solo trip to put in the clutch and feel gratitude for each other, our family, and the life we have created. This year will be no exception, and we add gratitude for vaccines to our list. We are probably the only people whose Thanksgiving will be the same this year as last. Count us grateful and we will be toasting all of our stateside friends with Mai Tais and turkey.
-Jane Howze, Managing Director & Founder of The Alexander Group
I am excited to say my now-husband and I will be spending actual Thanksgiving abroad on a belated honeymoon! We were supposed to be on our honeymoon in Chile last year but, like so many others, we had to cancel our plans. We are thrilled we get to travel again and still plan to celebrate Thanksgiving with our families at a later date.
-Lyndsey Parker Rosecrans, Associate at Alex & Red
Family, Health, and Fun
As Thanksgiving approaches, our family looks forward to spending time together much like we did last year. My husband, Jorge, and our daughter, Shiloh, and I will spend time in the warmth of our home with our little chocolate lab running around. I have had a kidney transplant, and we are still being very careful when it comes to crazy viruses floating around. We will have to wait a little longer to gather with family and friends. In the meantime, we will eat amazing food, sit by a crackling fire, watch movies, sing Christmas carols, play games, and laugh! We are so very thankful for being surrounded by so much love and happiness. I could not be more grateful!
-Alison Livingston, Data Operations Specialist at The Alexander Group
We are so grateful to be able to celebrate Thanksgiving in person with our family this year! Last year, due to Covid, our pregnant niece was not comfortable with getting together in person. This year, we can now enjoy our precious newest addition to the family who is already seven months old! We will be learning if masks will be preferred when we meet in person and that is a small price to pay to be all together! Happy Thanksgiving to all! 😊
-Beth Ehrgott, Managing Director at The Alexander Group
We are headed to Massachusetts for Thanksgiving this year to visit family for the first time in two years! Part of our visit will involve running a five-mile Turkey Trot race on Thanksgiving Day. So far, the weather forecast predicts a 30-degree morning, which is an improvement over the 9 degrees two years ago!
-William Lepiesza, Director at The Alexander Group
Old Friends and Texas Wine
One of my dearest friends, whom I’ve known for 40 years, decided we should celebrate Thanksgiving and our five-day apart birthdays together by taking a four-day Texas winery tour road trip! We will enjoy the Texas trail through Fredericksburg, New Braunfels, and Dripping Springs, and everything in between!
-Alison Finlay, Manager of Administrative Services at The Alexander Group
Bring on 2022!
The ice storm of 2020 in Oklahoma just added to the misery of the Pandemic, including a lot of yard work!! Now back in Houston, Thanksgiving 2021 offers excellent takeout food choices among the many moving boxes. Bring on 2022!
-Amanda Brady, Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of The Alexander Group
A Fall-Like Feeling
This Thanksgiving season brings better feelings and a generally better outlook compared to that offered by the pandemic this time last year. We often measure things we’re thankful for against unfortunate circumstances, which yields perspective on how grateful one can be sitting where they are at any given time. I am happy to report good health and a new hip, with no more pain, for Ken. We look forward to being with a few of our friends and enjoying a nice Thanksgiving dinner with a lot less fear than the year before. A beautiful fall-like feeling is in the air! Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
-Bob Freeman, Senior Executive Assistant at The Alexander Group
Hearth and Home
There is much to be thankful for this upcoming holiday season! Last year’s celebrations were shadowed by the cloud of so many unknowns. The worst of which was not knowing when we would be able to safely visit with family and friends again, given the enormity of the global pandemic. This year we have been given the tremendous gift of Covid vaccines which offered a light at the end of a long and arduous tunnel! I look forward to welcoming family and friends together for our Thanksgiving celebration, decorating our home for the Christmas holiday, and giving THANKS for our loved ones, community, and health. Happy Thanksgiving!
-Lindsay Ames, Data Operations Specialist at The Alexander Group
Kittens To The Rescue!
We came down with Covid right after Thanksgiving Day last year and were terrified we had given it to our guests! Luckily, none of our guests were infected. We still don’t know how we caught the virus, although we suspect maybe one of us were exposed while grocery shopping in preparation for the big day. We were sick through Christmas and stayed isolated until after New Year’s. The adoption of two kittens helped keep us company when we could not see friends. This year we look forward to celebrating the holidays with good health and our furry friends!
-Abby Buchold, Research Associate at The Alexander Group
Reflecting Over the Past Year
Last year, our immediate family spent the holiday in Fredericksburg. We kept things small and just needed a change of scenery after nine months of isolation from anyone and anything. This year, Tyler and I will be driving from Austin to Houston to visit with friends and family. On Thanksgiving Day, we plan to walk around Rice University, which offers a quiet and reflective time.
-Cassie Kopecky, Marketing and Social Media Manager of The Alexander Group
This year, thankfully, I will not be taking another Covid test prior to sitting down with extended family members for Thanksgiving dinner. Instead, my wife, children, and I will be spending a week on a beach with friends. I will be giving thanks that my wife and children are healthy and happy, that my parents are alive and well, and for the wonderful clients and my team who have made this a fantastic year! Happy Thanksgiving!
-John Mann, Managing Director of Alex & Red
City By The Bay
Last year it was just turkey for two at home. It was small, quiet, lovely, and involved a couple of Zoom calls. This year Jordan, my husband, and I will be joining his brother and his family in San Francisco for the day. (And now that the whole fam has sharpened their Zoom skills, I think there will still be a couple of Zoom calls.) This year we are very thankful for science!
-Sarah Mitchell, Director at The Alexander Group
This year, my extended family will be celebrating Thanksgiving together, much like we did last year. This year, we will be able to expand our celebration to include friends we were unable to see during the heights of the pandemic. We will also be raising our glasses to science, and all the brilliant minds that developed the vaccines which afford us all the opportunity to experience a normal Thanksgiving, and for my daughter to be in a classroom for the first time since March of 2020.
-Kyle Robinson, Director of Research of The Alexander Group
From Travel to Tradition
Last year we went to Cancun for a memorable Thanksgiving break! It was beautiful and peaceful as there were not too many crowds. This year we are back to our usual extended family tradition of turkey dinner!
-Mary Gutierrez, Director of Accounting & Administration of The Alexander Group
This past year, I made the move back to my hometown of San Diego from Chicago. Now, I get to drive to my family’s house without having to hop on a plane. I am elated to spend Thanksgiving with loved ones, particularly the new addition to my family! “Otter” is my son, Pit Bull dog, and therapist!! Otter came with his name and that is how I knew it was meant to be!
-Anthony Ott, Associate at The Alexander Group
Last year, for the first time ever, our family spent Thanksgiving on our own, just the three of us. While we made the best of the circumstances during the pandemic and enjoyed ourselves, we are grateful and looking forward to being with the rest of our family this year.
-Karin Marshall, Officer Manager and Senior Executive Assistant at The Alexander Group
If Covid taught me anything, it’s to be grateful every day not just on a single one. Let’s start simply: We’re alive. Our family is safe. And we have shifted into a new perspective of appreciation and prioritization of what truly matters.
Covid forced me to travel less, work harder, and spend quality time with my family. It was a prosperous year with about 300,000 fewer miles of wear and tear. (Thank you, Zoom, and sorry, United!)
So, while I’m sorry my son won’t be joining us this year, I’ll be surrounded by my two lovely step-daughters, a few extended family members, and two special guests: honorable Clint Hill, head of secret service to five presidents, including JFK; and his brilliant wife, NYTimes best-selling author, Lisa McCubbin.
And, of course, I’ll be grateful for my partner Faith (even though she invited her ex) who will work hard to put on her typically perfect Thanksgiving with never a complaint for all the time spent doing it.
-John Lamar, Managing Director at The Alexander Group