The real history of Thanksgiving
The traditional story of Thanksgiving, and by extension the Pilgrims — the one repeated in school history books — doesn’t start in 1620, with the cold and seasick Pilgrims stepping off the Mayflower onto Plymouth Rock or a year later with the Pilgrims and the native Wampanoag all sitting together to “break bread.” It doesn’t start there because those things never happened, despite being immortalized in American mythos for generations. The first national Thanksgiving Day did not invoke the Pilgrims at all. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln declared a Thanksgiving Day on the last Thursday of November, looking to reconcile a country in the throes of the Civil War. Here’s the real story of the first Thanksgiving.
For many Native people, Thanksgiving represents the dark shadow of genocide and the resilience of Native people, rather than peace and shared prosperity between Native Americans and Pilgrims. “To most Natives, Thanksgiving is not a celebration,” said tribal citizen Dennis W. Zotigh, who is also a writer and cultural specialist at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. “Natives, particularly in the New England area, remember this attempted genocide as a factual part of their history and are reminded each year during the modern Thanksgiving.”
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2021 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade returns to pre-pandemic form
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is back. After pivoting to a modified, audience-free event in 2020, the 95th marching of the parade will welcome back crowds and all of the spectacle people around the world have come to expect for nearly a century. It will feature 15 character balloons, 28 floats, 36 novelty and heritage inflatables, more than 800 clowns, 10 marching bands and nine performance groups. Among the celebrities scheduled to appear: Jon Batiste, Kristin Chenoweth, Sara Bareilles, Mickey Guyton, Carrie Underwood, the “Sesame Street” cast, Nelly, Kelly Rowland and of course, Santa Claus. The event will air from 9 a.m. to noon on NBC and Telemundo and will stream on Peacock.
Prepare now for tough conversations at the dinner table
Consider the political-debate grenades at a Thanksgiving dinner table with a mix of Republicans and Democrats, such as “Will Trump run in 2024?” and “How is Biden doing so far?” Many hot-button political topics can also revolve around COVID-19 – whether it be a stance on mask-wearing, vaccines or negative test requirements for a family gathering. Maybe the tough topics are not political at all: “Are you dating anyone yet?” or “When are going to have kids?” While there’s often an expectation of joy, love and togetherness during the holiday season, for many families it can be much more complicated, experts say. No matter the topic, anticipate the questions, have a plan and set boundaries.
NFL’s Week 12 kicks off with 3 Thanksgiving Day games
As is the tradition on Thanksgiving Day, NFL fans can expect a feast at the dinner table and on the football field. After only playing two games on Thanksgiving 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns with the Baltimore Ravens, the league returns to a three-game slate this year and it features six teams all coming off losses. Leading off, the Detroit Lions (0-9-1) will host the Chicago Bears (3-7) for the third Thanksgiving Day game in four years (12:30 p.m. ET, FOX). The Bears won close games in 2018 and 2019. Next, the Las Vegas Raiders (5-5) travel to Dallas to play the Cowboys (7-3) in their first matchup since 2017 (4:30 p.m. ET, CBS). The Raiders have lost three consecutive games and the Cowboys have lost two out of their last three, both to AFC West opponents. Finally, Buffalo Bills (6-4) head south to take on the New Orleans Saints (5-5) in the nightcap (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC). Both teams won their divisions in 2020, but in 2021 both need wins to keep pace with rivals ahead of them in the standings.
Thinking of shopping last-minute? Here’s the list of stores that are open.
For the second year in a row, the majority of major retailers will keep their stores closed on Thanksgiving Day. The long list of stores closed includes Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods and JCPenney, which for years opened for in-person Black Friday shopping on the holiday. Select grocery stores across the country are open Thursday, many with limited hours. Like last year to limit crowds and spread out demand, retailers started rolling out deals before Halloween and have turned a weekend shopping blitz into an extended event. For an extended look at stores that will be open and closed, see this list.