A Different Kind of Thanksgiving: Grateful for Nintendo Animal Crossing


I confess to having blue expectations about Thanksgiving this year. Our kids and friends had other plans or were too far away to make traveling accessible. The holiday does not really have enough days built in to justify the expense. Ultimately, though, our Thanksgiving blessings scattered themselves throughout the week.

The Gratitude Train Transported Us Through Thanksgiving Week

The first stop on our gratitude train came on Tuesday when our grandson, Austin, came for a slumber party. We decorated our Christmas tree and explored neighborhood Christmas lights after dark. Just being in proximity to this thoughtful, loving little boy was emotionally nourishing. 

The Second Stop on the Gratitude Train Was New Smyrna Beach Florida

Wednesday’s stop put us in New Smyrna Beach for four days of gorgeous, 70-degree weather. The soothing voice of the ocean washed away any prospect of sadness from our solo holiday status.

My Thanksgiving Day Was Celebrated on a Virtual Island Paradise 

Our Thanksgiving Day surprise stop brought a delightful interaction among family members. My daughter, granddaughter, and I celebrated a virtual Thanksgiving via the Animal Crossings game on our Nintendo Switches.

My daughter and I flew on our respective seaplanes to Peritucci, my granddaughter Maya’s island paradise. Holidays are a big deal in the Animal Crossings world. Maya’s animal creature neighbors milled about the plaza in the town center.

Tom the turkey prepared the Thanksgiving meal. Villagers and visitors took part in a scavenger hunt, searching for key ingredients for Tom’s special recipes.

“I need three manilla clams and one scallop for my famous Clam Chowder,” he instructed our threesome. “I need one orange and one white pumpkin to prepare my world-famous pumpkin pie.” Off our characters scrambled in pursuit of ingredients throughout the island.

Virtual pumpkin pie

As much as I adore a good scavenger hunt, participating in this event with my daughter and granddaughter was my favorite part of this exchange. We connected on two fronts – virtually through the Nintendo Switch and live via our Zoom apps. It was so much fun!

I laughed until my stomach was sore. Maya’s Animal Crossings expertise far exceeds that of her aunt and grandmother. My husband was hooting, overhearing our granddaughter patiently guiding us in navigating her island.

It Wasn’t a Typical Thanksgiving

I did not get to kiss Maya’s cherubic cheeks or hug my daughter, but nevertheless, it was a point of connection and joy. I guess connections come in all different sizes and shapes. And I, for one, am very thankful.

This is an animal crossing photo of our pause for a coffee at the island’s café.

How did you celebrate Thanksgiving this year? Did you find new ways to connect with the people you love?

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