Richard Connor: Who stole Thanksgiving? (A holiday conspiracy theory)

Turkey Day cartoon

Where are you Thanksgiving?

Maybe there’s a song title in that. We could get Faith Hill to sing it and put it in a movie called How the Grinch Stole Turkey Day.

Whatever. Someone should have told us there would be no Thanksgiving this year.

Ironically, no one is searching for Christmas. We appear to have leapfrogged from Fourth of July to Yuletide, with a brief layover for Halloween.

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It was actually on Halloween that I saw this phenomenon coming straight at us faster than the Polar Express.

I fret over not having enough candy for trick-or-treaters, so I ventured out on the day of Halloween to stock up. Kids show up these days ready to fill the back of daddy’s pickup truck, which is idling in the street. You need to be ready. I expect one night to look out and see a front-end loader at the door with a 6-year-old at the wheel saying “fill er up.”

To my surprise it turns out that by noon on Halloween most stores are out of candy. I made of list of the few, paltry bags sitting alone and rejected on the shelves. Those are the candies no one eats. Do not buy them. So noted.

The shelves, bursting with costumes and candy a few days earlier, were shockingly bare on Oct. 31. Store workers, not elves, were busy restocking with Christmas ornaments and gifts.

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Not even November and we were jumping right into Christmas?

Sure enough, less than a week after Halloween came and went, Christmas reigned almost everywhere. Starbucks already had displays of holiday coffees, cups and other trinkets. Christmas lights went up around houses in my neighborhood.

I began to feel regret for the disrespect we’re showing toward those old Pilgrims and the traditions they started, even though we now know they were feasting on berries, vegetables and dried fish – not plump birds and grandma’s special stuffing. “Please pass the herring, Capt. Alden.”

I am aghast, but it’s not too late. We must save Thanksgiving. We need a movement to reclaim this timeless American holiday.

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We can start with a book by Sam Sifton, food writer for The New York Times. It’s titled Thanksgiving: How to Cook It Well.

It’s informative and fun and offers six rules to live by on Turkey Day. Its best point is reminding us that Thanksgiving is a time to stop, reflect, give thanks and, of course, eat. Eat a lot.

Sifton’s six rules:

1. Turkey. That’s it.

2. No appetizers or salads. He writes: “At Thanksgiving, appetizers take up valuable stomach space. They are insulting to your own hard work. And salad? No. See above. A salad is a perfect accompaniment to many meals, a hint of astringency that can improve some dinners hugely. Not this one. You can have your salad tomorrow.”

3. Television is OK. Sifton’s a New Yorker but in his video, he says it’s fine to let the guests watch the Dallas Cowboys.

4. Make Pie. Lots of pies – apple, pecan, pumpkin. Get out the whipped cream.

5. Clean up the mess before going to bed.

6. Give thanks.

In this politically tumultuous year of 2019, I would add: no discussing next year’s presidential election, the candidates, Ukraine, or impeachment.

But if you must allow free speech and political debate, this rule is inviolable: no alcohol!

Join the movement. Be part of the protest. Bring back Thanksgiving. It’s been hijacked by Christmas but we can bring it back if we have the will.

Oh. And don’t forget to give thanks.

Richard Connor is president and publisher of the Fort Worth Business Press. Contact him at