I admit it, I’m a Grinch, it takes me forever to get into the Christmas spirit. This time of year in particular makes it difficult. As you may have noticed from my other articles, I have a bit of a thing about food. I tend to make all holidays about the food I am going to prepare. Thanksgiving is the one holiday where I don’t have to try to make food the focus. So why oh why is there no focus on Thanksgiving anymore?
It seems that every conversation before, during, and immediately after is about planning for Christmas. The Christmas marketing engine starts up right after Halloween and completely eclipses Thanksgiving. Poor Thanksgiving has become a gateway to black Friday sales. I think we need to analyze Thanksgivings failings and come up with a plan.
Lets take a look at the iconic Thanksgiving elements. First off we have the turkey, while there is a dearth of living or animated turkey imagery,
most people think of the brown delicious turkey in the center of the table.
Talk about a mixed message. I mean how are we supposed to get kids interested in Thanksgiving when the first thing you need to do is explain why the cute turkey in the funny hat is now on the dinner table. How is that a fun way to eat. It would be like eating the traditional rabbit feast at Easter. It just doesn’t work.
Next up, mashed potatoes. When one of the key ingredients to your holiday meal is often used as a simile for blandness (or wallpaper paste), you have a problem. If only mashed potatoes were used in sexy movie/food scenes instead of whipped cream then it might have a little more oomph behind it.
Let’s talk about stuffing, or dressing depending on who you are. You can already see part of the problem right there, who knows what to call it? Is it stuffing when it is cooked in the turkey and dressing outside? Who knows. How can you have an iconic dish when no one can agree on the basics of what kind of bread to use as its base? White bread? Wheat bread? Cornbread? Include sausage or apples or cranberries? These disagreements can turn into street brawls if you aren’t careful.
Lastly I have to mention cranberries. To set the record straight, I love cranberries but I tend to like bitter more than others. Despite Ocean Sprays best efforts, cranberries are just not cool.
The fact that jellied cranberry from a can is one of the symbols for the holiday is really indicative of its stature over all. No one is trying to make canned corned beef the symbol of St. Patrick’s day, why is a can of over sweetened glop a symbol for Thanksgiving?
It’s no wonder that people are overlooking Thanksgiving in favor of Christmas.
So what do we do about it? I suppose if you are one of those people who start to decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving then you may not care. For the rest of us we need to find some way to market Thanksgiving as it’s own cool holiday with something for everyone. I think we need to have a new Thanksgiving slogan.
Something like Thanksgiving, it’s time to eat, or Thanksgiving, the gift of family (OK that might be a tough sell for some), perhaps Thanksgiving, eat your heart out Santa.
And as for a mascot, the Turkey has got to go. You can’t have your mascot be your main course. Perhaps the cornucopia could be a focal point? Pilgrims have kind of become passe but they could be a good alternative.
What do you thing So Good readers? What can we do to save Thanksgiving? Is it already a lost cause for you? If not I’d love to hear your suggestions.