How advertising shaped Thanksgiving as we know it
Yet despite this adaptability, there’s a core part of the meal that almost everyone embraces. How did this come to be? Although few appreciate it, advertisers have shaped the meal as much as family tradition.
A uniquely broad appeal
When Sarah Josepha Hale, the editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book, first advocated for Thanksgiving as a national holiday in 1846, she argued that it would unify the country. In our research, my colleagues and I have been able to show that Hale’s vision for the holiday has been largely fulfilled: Inclusivity of people and traditions has been Thanksgiving’s hallmark quality.
A reason for its broad appeal is that it lacks any association with an institutionalized religion. As one interviewee told us, “There is no other purpose than to sit down with your family and be thankful.” And after interviewing a range of people – from those born in the U.S. to immigrants from countries like South Africa, Australia and China – it became obvious that the principles and rituals they embraced during the holiday were universal no matter the culture: family, food and gratitude.
But as a relatively new holiday – one not tied to a religious or patriotic tradition – a shared understanding of the celebration and the meal is crucial to ensure its long-term survival.
via The Conversation How advertising shaped Thanksgiving as we know it