Photo courtesy Anthony Quintano.

I love the holidays. Especially Thanksgiving. I love the food, I love the parties, I love the traditions, I love the feel of it all. But most of all, I love being with tons of family, catching up on life, watching my children play with their cousins, and just being together.

Well, I loved that — past tense. Three years ago when we moved from San Antonio to Boston, we had to decide whether to fork over $1,600 to the airlines so my family of four could get back home for Thanksgiving. 

We decided against it.

I was sad, and I knew I needed to find a way to fill the void that would certainly be created upon seeing my family’s Facebook pictures plastered all over my newsfeed after the holiday.

Knowing that my husband had always dreamed of going to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, we started planning a road trip. We started planning our own Thanksgiving traditions. Now, for those of you who have always lived in New England, or along the East Coast, you may not know that the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a bucket list item for many people who only dream of getting to Manhattan someday. Seriously, people spend boatloads of money to get the family to this event (or even just to NYC for a vacation) just once in their lifetime. We figured if we live this close to it, why not just go? 

So we booked a two-night stay at an Airbnb in Hell’s Kitchen, reserved a table for Thanksgiving dinner at Hill Country BBQ (to bring a little Texas to our souls), and made a game plan for the parade. 

That first year we sat right behind the barricades on 64th and Central Park West, something many people will only ever see on TV. We skated in Rockefeller Center, walked Times Square, and ate BBQ that tasted like home. And it was better than I ever imagined. Though I had moments when I missed Thanksgiving with the whole family, I was creating unbelievable memories with my husband and two kids that I will forever cherish. 

Since then, we have repeated this ritual every year. Same spot at the parade, same dinner, same place in Hell’s Kitchen. The only change we make is the non-parade entertainment. Our Thanksgiving traditions aren’t “traditional.” But they’re ours.

This year will be year four, and though we haven’t decided whether we’ll take the kids to “Wicked” or to the Museum of Natural History, we do know that on Thursday morning, at 6 a.m., you’ll find us sitting in lawn chairs and wrapped in blankets at 64th and Central Park West.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Jacquelyn Eckmann
Jacquelyn (Jakki) is a Texas native who made the Greater Boston area her home several years ago. Jakki is the founder of Social Betty, a social media management and consulting agency, and runs the company with her husband, Chris. She loves the flexibility that being self-employed gives her, and truly appreciates that she is able to attend mid-day school events for her children, Caleb (11), and Kennedy (6). A lover of the written word, music, and makeup, Jakki enjoys a good book, concerts at small venues, and discount shopping. Though life is busy for her family (overcommitting to extracurricular activities regularly), Jakki and her husband make it a point to get to the city and enjoy a ride on the T, a craft beer, and dinner at Legal Harborside or Boston Burger Co.- both with the kids and without.


  1. Such a great life tapestry you are weaving… keep charging!!!! It’s the journey that always defines the destination… thanks for sharing!!

  2. I love reading anything Jakki writes! I’m thankful to know her and her beautiful family. I learned so much from Jakki when we worked together. It’s so exciting to see her flourish and prosper in a field that she was born for. Not only is she beautiful, she is intelligent, witty, frugal, classy and talented in many areas of real life and work life. A thoroughbred!

Comments are closed.