New traditions



I can be rigid and a total stickler for keeping traditions the same every year, especially when it comes to the holidays. But it can be difficult to do so when the world is constantly changing and throwing unexpected things at you.

Since moving to Cape May in February, I’ve celebrated all the holidays here. In April, we celebrated Passover and we had an unofficial seder. But as the seasons changed and the winter holidays are in sight, I knew there were going to be bigger changes ahead.

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays, even though it is a difficult time of the year. In 2009, my grandpa passed away the weekend before Thanksgiving. And in the years since then, I have had two Thanksgivings in Cape May, which was the start of a new tradition that was cut short.

Thanksgiving 2015 I spent incapacitated on the couch due to a muscle spasm in my lower back (think unpleasant pain & serious painkillers). And of course, last Thanksgiving when I was two weeks out from getting my wisdom teeth removed and was in a lot of pain. Two years of less than stellar celebrations.


Thanksgiving 2017


I was hoping this year’s Thanksgiving would be a little bit better, but my grandma passed away the week before Thanksgiving. And in an unexpected turn of events, I ended up staying in Cape May. I felt like it was the right thing to do, even though I did want to be with my family. Another part of me knew that going home and not having my grandma with us at Thanksgiving dinner would just make me realize that she is really gone.

Lucky for me, I have fallen in with a great group of people through my roommates. My roommate AJ and I set out to have a Thanksgiving dinner for two people – easier said than done.

The pre-Thanksgiving weekend started out with a bang, between me spraining my ankle on Thursday night and then our refrigerator stopped working that weekend. I completely took on the “I’m not stressed, you’re stressed” mentality.

Uncertainty gives me anxiety, so not knowing whether we would have a working fridge by Thanksgiving made me worry we might not be cooking. But we had a backup fridge that was up and running by Wednesday night, Thanksgiving eve (Shout out to AJ, Tom and Kyle). AJ and I even did the Thanksgiving shopping on Wednesday night. Yes – I hobbled around ShopRite on crutches and it was not a fun time.

After 23 years, I had my first Thanksgiving away from home. It might have been one of the best holidays yet. There’s something about removing yourself from family drama and just having a casual Friendsgiving dinner that just works.

I had just written a newspaper article about breaking Thanksgiving traditions by trying new foods. I did not think I would be breaking my biggest tradition by spending Thanksgiving away from my old Virginia home. Cape May is home now.

It seems like making new traditions is better than I thought it would be. And I’m very thankful for this year’s Thanksgiving with AJ and Nabs.


Friendsgiving with AJ.



Rachel Shubin lives in Cape May, New Jersey, where she works as a freelance writer for the Cape May Star & Wave Newspaper, Ocean City Sentinel, Cape May Magazine, and LifeSavvy Media. Rachel also performs social media management for a variety of clients. Rachel’s previous work experience includes writing for the Cape May Star and Wave Newspaper and its sister publication, the Ocean City Sentinel. Rachel writes special projects for the newspaper as well as covering a variety of beats including municipal meetings, human interest and a series on millennials. Additionally, she worked as a content marketing coordinator at the Cape May County Herald Newspaper. She also has two years of front desk experience from working at the Victorian Motel in Cape May. Rachel graduated from George Mason University in 2016 with a B.S. in communications and a concentration in journalism. She wrote for IV Estate, George Mason University’s student newspaper. Rachel's passion projects include blogging on Cape May Rachel and previously Sandpiper Cat Blog. Rachel is an associate member of the Cat Writers’ Association. Previous written archive includes Tote Magazine, CWA Meow Newsletter, The Fairfax Patch, Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation Newsletter, W.T. Woodson Cavalcade and The Pennant Magazine. Rachel can be contacted at

4 thoughts on “New traditions

  1. We’re on the same page with traditions girl! I like things to be the same all the time… but in my own house this year, a lot of things Are changing. Regardless I’m glad you had a good Thanksgiving and I really want to try to have a Friendsgiving next year!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for leaving out the part about why you couldn’t go home. But many more thanks for hanging tough and working today especially after such a difficult time these past couple of weeks. Much respect.


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