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Thanksgiving is the Rodney Dangerfield of the Holidays

Retailers can't figure out how to cash in on gratitude and thankfulness so they just ignore the original American holiday.

Pity Thanksgiving.

The original American holiday, taking place 155 years before those upstarts even founded the United States, has fallen so far from the radar that now – in American pop culture and the world of advertising – we jump straight from Halloween to Christmas.

Pity Thanksgiving.

Born out of the purest of motives – being thankful and showing gratitude; coming together with family and neighbors to share the bounty (when has all of that been more important in our history than now?) – retailers have been unable to figure out how to wring every penny out of those concepts and so have chosen to simply ignore its existence.

Pity Thanksgiving.

Try finding Thanksgiving-related decorations and accoutrements in the stores. Last year my son and I combed through Bed, Bath and Beyond in a desperate search for a Thanksgiving tablecloth and some decorations. And I don’t mean something in a fall color, like gold or dark brown. I wanted turkeys and Pilgrims and Indians and the whole nine yards.

The best we could do was a burnt umber tablecloth with leaf imprints and some tiny gourd candles. The only things that had actual turkeys on them were paper plates and paper napkins. Throw-aways.

Pity Thanksgiving.

Maybe we should Occupy the Dining Room Table? I saw a great cartoon on Facebook last week in which a very angry turkey is yelling at Santa: “December, Fat Boy. This month is for MY holiday! Now hop in that sleigh and wait your turn!” The good news is it had 14,340 shares, so I know I am not alone. But what can we do?

Can we demand flannel sheets adorned with Pilgrims? Snuggies covered with turkeys and gravy boats? What can we do to make Thanksgiving worth the retailers’ time and energy so they will take notice of it? How can we successfully market gratitude and thankfulness and sharing and kindness?

How indeed.

David Durgy November 25, 2011 at 12:11 PM
Can we demand flannel sheets adorned with Pilgrims? Snuggies covered with turkeys and gravy boats? What can we do to make Thanksgiving worth the retailers’ time and energy so they will take notice of it? How can we successfully market gratitude and thankfulness and sharing and kindness? You've certainly have grasped the true spirit of the holiday.
Victoriaanna Adinolfi November 25, 2011 at 04:15 PM
I have a real problem with this holiday and would suggest that we make an upgrade. Let's move away from a ludicrous story about puritans and savages coming together (as if neither side was plotting the other's demise while eating FISH) and make a more modern, less offensive communal holiday. We SHOULD be sharing with each other (because we're all on this planet together) and we SHOULD be thankful for any number of things; but maybe we should celebrate it with something other than head dresses and buckled hats as centerpieces. Maybe instead of dried out turkey and football, the new way to celebrate is to thank your neighbor by offering help/company.
Lise Cavallaro November 25, 2011 at 08:16 PM
It's up to families to take back Thanksgiving. The retailers ruin each and every holiday by cramming down our throats for so long. Personally, I do not start Xmas shopping until after Thanksgiving and I do not participate in Black Friday craziness. If you know how to shop and watch the coupons, good deals can be found all the time. Decorations go about around December 5. I shop when I want, not when retailers dictate.

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