Essay: Why We've Failed to Ruin Thanksgiving

Who really thinks about Thanksgiving? Most adults absorb the larger meaning of the holiday as part of the first-grade catechism (Pilgrims, friendly Indians, a day for offering thanks) and rarely move beyond Care-Bears sentimentality. This built-in ickiness is a pity, since it tends to overshadow the symbolic significance of Thanksgiving, that most unrepentantly old- fashioned of American celebrations, that patriotic heirloom that nobody has figured out a way to ruin.

For nearly 150 years, ever since a women's magazine called Godey's Lady's Book began championing the cause of an annual day of Thanksgiving, the topic has been drowning in a syrupy...

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