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Cooking in or eating out? Local holiday traditions vary
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Thanksgiving is often portrayed as when families sit down to painstakingly crafted homemade meals, but that’s not the reality for many who may have to work or are unable to visit family.

“I’m cooking, but I’m working too,” said Ann Harmon, who lives in Gainesville but works in a Cumming restaurant. “When I get off of work, I have some friends coming over, and we’re going to have Thanksgiving dinner.”

Not very many places will be open today, but research by the National Restaurant Association found 33 million Americans will eat out for their Thanksgiving meal, whether it’s going out to eat inside a restaurant or ordering take-out.

An additional 46 million will be dining out as they begin their holiday shopping, whether it’s at 8 p.m. tonight or on Black Friday.

Josh McCoy will be one of those out to eat today, though he’s not sure where.

“I usually eat out (for Thanksgiving),” he said. “I eat chili and hot dogs.”

He said he always eats chili and hot dogs for the holiday.

“It’s good on the bones,” he said. “It holds me over and keeps me warm. It’s tradition.”

Joe Pritchett may also be found in a restaurant at some point today. He was unsure where he would be eating.

“My brother, he lives in South Georgia,” he said. “I didn’t want to drive all the way down there and come back up here.”

He thought he may drive to Dahlonega to eat at a restaurant there.

Regardless, many people are still cooking a traditional holiday meal.

Harrison Bartlett was on his way to Nashville, Tenn., to camp with family.

“Everybody’s cooking,” he said. “We’re having turkey, (and) all kinds of casseroles.”

Chris Donnelly is staying home with his wife this year. He plans to smoke a turkey, using wood from a hickory tree that recently fell in his backyard.

“It’s just going to be us, that I know of,” he said. “(My wife is) going to cook, too. Pecan pie, homemade tater salad, a little bit of everything.”

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