The Lack of Thanksgiving Pop-Culture Compared to Christmas Ones


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Consider the famous Christmas productions that have highlighted peoples’ holiday for years in relation to Thanksgiving availabilities. The Christmas archives, including Its a Wonderful Life, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and The Polar Express, are accompanied with lesser acknowledged works, such as Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving and Pieces of April. Though all mentioned pieces are undeniably classics, it is clear that Christmas possesses more magnanimous compositions. For those skeptical, another example: if one were to peruse through their playlists, they would find an entire anthology of holiday music—perhaps “Jingle Bells” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”—but no Thanksgiving songs. With this being said, it can only be asked if there are any viable answers that clearly explain why Thanksgiving productions are almost obsolete from pop-culture. 

One reason presented is the fact that Christmas has an increased amount of merit when compared to Thanksgiving. But what accounts for such a discrepancy, especially when considering the fact that both holidays are synonymous with relaxed and joyous attitudes? 

Professor of pop-culture at Syracuse University, Robert Thompson, acknowledges the disparity. To explain the “unfortunate” overshadow of Thanksgiving, he explains that the answer is found within the placement of the holiday, tightly embraced between Halloween and Christmas. Having such a minute timeframe, retailers, with both holidays overlapping into November (of course, not literally, but in a sense) will still possess an abundance of candy leftover from Halloween and have Christmas themed decorations surging the store. 

Other than that, Thanksgiving and Christmas both possess different mythological origin and features, perhaps explaining something, Thompson claims. Simply think of the numerous morals entailing Christmas; heart-warming themes such as “redemption” and “believing” often come up as the central lesson of a Christmastime classic. And, furthermore, the holiday has multiple memorable characters, among them being Santa Claus, Scrooge, and the Grinch. But, as for Thanksgiving, perhaps the only mythological connotations that embody it are the Pilgrims and the turkey (which, even so, does not have any specifics regarding it).  

Of course, there are a couple of songs that have “Thanksgiving” hintings contained in their lyrics, among them being “Do the Mashed Potatoes,” composed by James Brown. But none of them contain anything that reflects the true meaning of Thanksgiving: to give thanks. It seems that society may be losing their appreciation for the holiday, and, as of now, it can only be hoped that the holiday will gain some degree more of acknowledgement.