Thanksgiving Day, 1942

Thursday, Nov. 26, 1942

Let’s put aside war news and even family news for a day and consider what Thanksgiving Day used to mean. I know it has become fashionable to mock Norman Rockwell’s vision of the family gathered around the table. People today seem to regard Thanksgiving as a trial in which members of a dysfunctional family are required to be civil to each other for a few hours — at least until they run out for Doorbuster deals.

It was not always thus. Before the days of Black Friday (which has crept onto Thanksgiving Day), before Christmas decorations went up practically before Halloween, Thanksgiving mattered. People paused for a day, came together, ate, and then collapsed into a turkey-induced stupor. Stores were closed. Hardly anyone had a television so physical activity came in the form of a high school football game or tag football between the main course and dessert.

What has made Thanksgiving Day so vulnerable? Charles Schulz nailed it in a Peanuts cartoon in which Lucy Van Pelt asks, “What kind of holiday is it where you don’t give girls presents?” Our consumer society doesn’t have much use for a holiday that’s not about gifts.

OK, enough of my rant. Enjoy the day!

This entry was posted in Jewish life in America during WW II, Uncategorized, World War II and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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