Thanksgiving is a holiday for the family.
More than any other special day in the year, Thanksgiving is meant for the family to get together to visit, eat, watch football and, perhaps, play football.
For many, it's the official start of the holidays. Trees and decorations start to go up. In just a few weeks, Saint Nick will be here.
But Thanksgiving comes first.
Unlike Christmas or Hanukkah, Thanksgiving is not a religious holiday. In fact, it's based on a story of a peaceful meal between the Pilgrims and the American Indians that may or may not have happened. And the first one would not have been called Thanksgiving. And it's not always been a holiday, and it's not always been on the fourth Thursday of November.
As grade school students, we were taught that the pilgrims, being thankful of their Native American neighbors' help during those first tough years, decided to hold a special meal to thank them. They got dressed in their best black suit, put on their black hat with the buckle on it, and got ready to eat the turkey, pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes and other goodies.
There's been several stories of late that refute all of that.
First, pilgrims didn't dress in the all-black grab that is so popular with salt and pepper shakers and other nicknacks. They weren't exactly wearing leisure suits, but they dressed pretty much like all early settlers.
Recent stories on The History Channel suggested the men were having a contest by shooting their guns. The Indians, thinking there might be trouble with their neighbors, arrived ready to do battle. Both sides saw what was happening and had a peaceful, but tense, meeting with some food.
There might have been turkey, but there was definitely venison and some other game birds. Pies were not served and neither were potatoes. It's even been suggested that lobster might have been on the menu.
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, it was a three-day feast where 90 members of the Wampanoag tribe were with the 53 pilgrims.
If the two groups did sit down for a meal, it was not called Thanksgiving. To the pilgrims, a thanksgiving meant an all-day church service.
The holiday became a tradition in New England, and George Washington promoted it during the Revolution. Thomas Jefferson, however, did not observe it, and it was a hit-or-miss holiday until Abraham Lincoln proclaimed it a holiday after a series of editorials were written by Josepha Hale.
It was normally celebrated on the final Thursday of November, until Franklin Roosevelt changed it from 1939-1941, moving it up one week. November 1939 had five Thursdays, but then the next two years had the normal four. It finally was officially moved to the fourth Thursday.
Football became a tradition in the late 1890s. Various rivalries have been played on the day, but normally professional football is the king. The Detroit Lions have traditionally played on Thanksgiving.
There will be the football games, as well as the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade with all of its lip syncing wonder.
There will be turkey, pumpkin pie, green bean casserole, dressing (or is it stuffing?), cranberry sauce, and everything else you can imagine.
There'll be laughter. There'll be love.
There'll be family, most important of all. There'll be family.