An American Explains Thanksgiving
My most recent novel, The Marinara Murders, is set at the beginning of a cold winter in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The climax of the book takes place on Thanksgiving Day.
I recognize that many readers of Booked Up live in the UK and likely don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. My hunch is that you’re aware of it, but have never been to a Thanksgiving dinner. Just like I’m aware of Boxing Day, but have never been to a Boxing Day … ah, high tea? candle ceremony? ritual unboxing? (Truly, I don’t get Boxing Day.)
Anyway, here’s a quick primer on an American Thanksgiving.
- Thanksgiving is always on the fourth Thursday of November. This creates an awkward question about whether to take the day after as a holiday as well. Bankers don’t get the day off, but a lot of other people do (unless you work in retail, then the day after Thanksgiving is a terrible terrible day).
- In New York, Macy’s throws a big parade with floats and giant balloons. Most people not in New York are too busy sleeping, cooking, or cleaning to watch it.
- For some reason, the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys always play football on Thanksgiving Day (by which I mean American football, of course, and not football football).
- There are no gifts given at Thanksgiving. Independence Day (the fourth of July) and Thanksgiving are about the only two holidays or occasions where gifts or cards aren’t expected. You can bet retailers are figuring out a way to change this.
- Thanksgiving dinner is a massive dinner, traditionally consisting of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberries, and rolls. The dinner is eaten fairly early in the day, as if to give everyone time to recover from the food coma before they have to go to bed.
- Thanksgiving is basically the first day of Christmas. Everyone complains about Christmas music and decorations before Thanksgiving, but after that, it’s wall-to-wall Christmas.
I hope this has been enlightening. Now I’m off to start my next book. It’s about St. Boxing, who rode through the land the day after Christmas helping people break down their empty boxes to make them easier to store (or something like that).
* Thanks to Erik for taking the time to educate me, it explains a lot! I just wish I could give a definitive answer on what the heck Boxing Day is all about but it's a bit of a mystery. I'd love to make up some mad British tradition, but if I could manage that I'd probably be a writer not a reviewer. You can read my review of The Marinara Murders here. You can read more from Erik at erikhanberg.com