Why doesn’t Thanksgiving have music?



A Charlie Brown float hovers over Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade onlookers in New York, New York in 2012. Charlie Brown has become one of the few faces of Thanksgiving due to A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.

The holiday season is almost upon us, and soon food, festivities and decorations will be thrust upon us until late December. It seems that the day after Halloween, the focus shifts almost instantaneously towards Thanksgiving; dinner plans are made, turkeys are bought and kindergarteners start preparing their lines as Indian Chief #2 for their school Thanksgiving play. Despite this quick turnaround after Halloween, Thanksgiving does not bring the excitement or culture that Christmas does, generally. Sure, both are the favorite holidays for many and impact millions of people who celebrate them, but Thanksgiving has a disadvantage under Christmas: it has barely any music.

Music is a huge part of building the anticipation and excitement for the holidays. In December, Christmas tunes play on repeat on the radio, in malls and most other public places. Along with decorations, these songs are a major reason for the hype surrounding December 25. So, why does Thanksgiving have so few songs?

It has to do with money. This is not to say that all Christmas amounts to is receiving toys and clothes from people, but it has become the time of the year that companies target and pressure consumers to buy tons of goods through Christmas marketing. The more Christmas songs are playing at a mall, the more it will be on the mind of consumers and the more likely they will buy gifts. “Christmas music is pushed on us in any and every way possible,” senior Alex Maceo said. “If they keep playing it at Target, I’m probably going to subconsciously look for Christmas stuff there.”

The same cannot be said for Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is not a day hallmarked by getting dozens of gifts and, thus, music touting the holiday’s greatness is kept at a minimum. In fact, most people cannot name one Thanksgiving song. Most music associated with Thanksgiving is the soundtrack to A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, much of which is instrumental. Since companies see little potential in marketing the holiday on the same scale as they do for Christmas, fewer songs trying to attract consumers exist, and the ones that do usually come from movies or other mediums, such as the Charlie Brown songs, and are not originally intended for Thanksgiving. Besides economics, maybe Thanksgiving just does not have enough material for songs to be written about it. “I think that Thanksgiving is too hard to brand,” senior Micah Reinharz said. “There’s not much to write music about besides pilgrims and turkey, whereas Christmas has more religious roots that can be touched upon in music.”

While having hundreds of festive Thanksgiving songs would build more excitement in November, it would most likely increase the exploitation of the holidays by companies. Thanksgiving may be boring to some, but it is still focused on its message of giving thanks, not gifts. “I’m glad that Thanksgiving hasn’t been corrupted by all of the excessive music and hype like Christmas has,” sophomore Eva Arnade said. “It’s nice to not have it forced on you, and you can just enjoy the holiday for what it is with no distractions, which is how it should be.”