How Thanksgiving Became Thanksgiving

How Thanksgiving Became Thanksgiving

Like Christmas, the origins of Thanksgiving are hotly debated. Like Christmas, we can thank stories of Thanksgiving passed down through generations by word of mouth, in letters and documents, period media reports, and great literary works for the making of all that we celebrate of the holiday today. Historians these days love to deconstruct “the facts” surrounding Thanksgiving. They tell us we are wrong to think of it as we do. They say the “first Thanksgiving” celebrated in grade school plays likely never happened. But facts are stubborn things, noted President John Adams. Here are some stubborn facts about ThanksgivingRead more

Finding Christmas in Thanksgiving

Finding Christmas in Thanksgiving

A recent survey revealed sharp divisions in when the celebration of Christmas begins. Nearly a third said Christmas begins right after Halloween, a third said Christmas begins right after Thanksgiving and for another third the celebration of Christmas is something done every day. In recent years many have insisted that Christmas so overpowers the calendar that holidays such as Thanksgiving and Veteran’s Day are entirely forgotten. Those making the argument are also those who claim Christmas celebration comes in the form of broadcast music, seasonal Starbucks cups and decorations sold in stores. There are even those who blanch and takeRead more

The Thanksgiving History You Never Hear

The Thanksgiving History You Never Hear

Modern media is flooded each Thanksgiving with tales of the myths and distortions of America’s most widely celebrated holiday. That is the most amazing thing about Thanksgiving. It is full of ironies and falsehoods and ignored facts. On one extreme you have those who cling to the Charlie Brown version of Thanksgiving. This is what most of us were taught in grade school – that the pilgrims walked off the Mayflower, made nice with the Indians and enjoyed a festive meal. On the other extreme you have those who say the Thanksgiving at Plymouth of 1621 never happened at allRead more

Josiah, His Turkeys and His Sweetheart

Josiah, His Turkeys and His Sweetheart

(Editor’s Note: This Thanksgiving story was published sometime in the early 19th century. Like A Visit from St. Nicholas it was published as a tradition year after year in many newspapers. We found it in the Boston Traveler from 1836, though we noted it dating back as far as 1824 in another newspaper. This is a delightful look an old American Thanksgiving traditions – as well as a great story of love.) Have you ever been in Windsor, Vermont? If so, you have heard of Josiah Baker. Indeed, you have heard of him even tho you have not been inRead more

Ancient Connections of Thanksgiving and Christmas

Ancient Connections of Thanksgiving and Christmas

Here is some fodder for your Thanksgiving day discussions around the turkey — which is the more sacred holiday in America, Thanksgiving or Christmas? Check your learning of history at the door. This history of both holidays goes back further than you know — and both are related to each other in significant ways. Watch this video: Christmas, while constantly under a cloud in regular debates of what is politically correct or not, was NEVER a religious holiday in America. It may have been a religious holiday once-upon-a-time in Rome. The mashed-up words “Christ” and “mass”, which many historians sayRead more

Merry Podcast #49 — Turkeys and Tunes

Merry Podcast #49 — Turkeys and Tunes

Happy Thanksgiving! It’s time for our annual Thanksgiving show on the Merry Podcast, a festive celebration of the grateful season plus a preview of the great new music of season. In this episode we’re exploring the history of the American Turkey, the very staple of our feast. Plus we take an extended look at one of the best Thanksgiving movies of all time — Planes, Trains and Automobiles. And, of course, Christmas is not forgotten: we interview a real elf from the North Pole and talk about his role in tracking Santa. We’re also pleased to feature the music ofRead more

Thanksgiving Debate of Stuffing or Dressing

Thanksgiving Debate of Stuffing or Dressing

While the world embroils itself in constant debates and controversies each holiday season and calls it the War on Christmas the skirmishes over Thanksgiving get a pass. That is mostly because the debates of Thanksgiving rage about food. There is no greater debate at Thanksgiving than the one of stuffing versus dressing. Which do you have? And how can you tell the difference? The debate could well date back to Civil War times — yes, a North versus South thing. Only Yankees “stuff” their bird. They will combine bread with celery and onions and cook it inside the bird. TheRead more

Retailers Starting to Avoid Thanksgiving Openings

Retailers Starting to Avoid Thanksgiving Openings

In recent years the waters of Black Friday were significantly muddied by retailers pushing store openings to Thanksgiving Day. The move resulted in both a public and employee backlash who prefer Thanksgiving as a time for family and personal time off. Social media campaigns were launched to boycott Thanksgiving sales and holiday traditionalists were quick to criticize the money-grab. But retailers insisted they had to do something to combat online retailer who were capturing sales during Thanksgiving hours. Now it appears offline retailers are starting to cave. More than a week ago troubled retailer Staples announced it would not openRead more

Pumpkin Shortage Looms for Thanksgiving

Pumpkin Shortage Looms for Thanksgiving

2015 has not been a great year for the traditional foods of Thanksgiving. A bird flu virus threatened to wipe out the 2015 turkey flocks earlier in the year and now it appears canned pumpkin may be in short supply for Thanksgiving. According to crop experts in Illinois, the country’s top pumpkin-producing state, forecasts show supplies of canned pumpkin falling short compared to past years and consumers may find grocer shelves empty of the product by the middle of November. “I would not wait until Nov. 20,” University of Illinois professor Mohammad Babadoost said, referencing the Nov. 26 holiday. “I’dRead more

Will Turkey Take This Thanksgiving Off?

Will Turkey Take This Thanksgiving Off?

No doubt you have seen the signs in the grocery stores. Eggs are as much as five dollars a dozen in some spots and turkey lunch meats are in short supply at the deli counter. As we reported last spring the poultry industry has been combating a devastating bird flu epidemic that has so far cost that industry nearly $1 billion in production. While forecasts for holiday turkey remain optimistic there are some nervous farmers out there hoping the flu does not return. While turkey right now is at premium prices beyond five dollars a pound in some markets analystsRead more