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.
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.
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.
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?