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East Hamilton community celebrating Thanksgiving

As seven churches prepare for the communitywide East Hamilton nondenominational Thanksgiving Service to be held at Eastwood Church, families who live and work in the East Hamilton area are making preparations for their own special family Thanksgiving celebrations.

Ooltewah resident Jackie Wright said she and her family enjoy a traditional holiday meal the weekend before Thanksgiving.

“We celebrate before Thanksgiving so that my adult children don’t have too many places to go on Thanksgiving,” she said. “I think I’m more thankful that way because no one is stressed about being somewhere else and some of our friends can join us.”

She said approximately 25 people will gather at her home for the celebration that wouldn’t be complete without pink Jell-O salad.

Special menu items are also a big part of East Brainerd employee Azia Hutchins’ family holiday, but their must-have item is homemade chili.

“We all get together and cook most of the day and play board games,” she said.

According to her, seeing her cousins and their children are her absolute favorite thing about the holiday.

LaTarsha Brady, one of Hutchins’ co-workers, agreed that family is the most important part of Thanksgiving. Since a lot of her family belongs to the Jehovah’s Witnesses faith that abstains from the celebration of holidays, Brady said she often tries to have a get-together before the holiday since seeing family is important to her on Thanksgiving.

Brady has also started a weekly tradition at her house to help remind her two teenage sons and 5-year-old daughter that family is one of the most important things all year round, not just on Thanksgiving Day. Every Sunday she and her children are not allowed to talk on the phone, get on the computer or go out with friends. The day is dedicated for family time, she said.

“We already have such a busy schedule,” said Brady of her two sons, who both play sports at their high schools. “They are so caught up with what everyone is doing and they have to be a part of it. But Sunday is family day.”

Ooltewah resident Bradley Bacon also listed family as the most important part of his Thanksgiving celebration. He is traveling to Johnson City this year to be with his family, where they will enjoy a large meal and have an annual whiskey drinking competition.

Tell us about your holiday traditions at www.facebook.com/easthamilton.

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