For many, good food, friends and family make the season special.
The Henry Neighbor caught up with a few shop owners and residents on the McDonough Square to talk them about what they love, important memories and why they are thankful during the holidays.
Jea Gackowski, who owns an office and Mary Kay boutique at 37 Griffin Street, said she is grateful for opportunities and independence.
“I left corporate America to start my own firm and I’m thankful that even though my background is in engineering and mathematics, I can design a life I love and work for myself,” she said.
Gackowski said she appreciates people who have helped her and in return, enjoys helping others.
“Being able to mentor and coach other women is great,” she said.
Gackowski said Thanksgiving made her think of one of the most influential women in her life—her grandmother.
“I remember my grandmother always made sure each member of the family had their favorite thing to eat for Thanksgiving and it was the right dish, made the right way, just to that person’s liking. She was grateful for family and instilled that in us. I’m thankful for people that you can count on,” she said.
Family get-togethers are also what Jasper Stephens, who works at Marie’s Gifts and Décor at 16 Macon St. and Joni’s Western Store at 2 Macon St., enjoys the most about the holidays.
“When I think about Thanksgiving and what it means to me, I think of the joy that family brings,” he said.
Stephen’s mother and aunt own the two stores and he said his family spends much of the time together.
When asked about a special holiday memory, he said a chaotic Thanksgiving dinner when he was 11 years old was his favorite holiday.
“Every year is special, but when I was 11 on Thanksgiving, our kitchen caught on fire. My whole family was panicking but we finally got it under control and got the fire out. Most of the food was burnt, so we went outside and barbecued as a family. We realized that no matter what happened, we could count on each other. It was the best Thanksgiving,” Stephens said.
Making family memories are what makes the holidays special for Image Doctor Photograph Restoration owner Scott Evans.
“I get to make everybody else’s holiday better by restoring and preserving memories and so, our busiest time of year is right before Thanksgiving and Christmas because families are getting together and sharing old photos and memories,” he said.
Evans said spending time with his own family is his favorite part of the holidays, though.
“When my children were just old enough to walk, we would go and cut down a live Christmas tree and now my children are grown and this will be the first holiday season I get to take my grandchildren to cut down a live tree because they’re all walking now, along with their parents,” he said.