Thanksgiving is the one comfy American holiday. There are no gifts or tips of the hat toward some complex religious custom. Participants are expected simply to wander in and chat with relatives they suddenly can tolerate, to smile at in-laws, to play or watch or actively avoid football. And to eat—this is the holiday for people who like to eat and eat more. It’s expected. It’s demanded.
Given its limited agenda, Thanksgiving has few myths or stories that surround it. Grandpa doesn’t talk about his first Thanksgiving in the New World; no one discusses the miracle of the one yam that fed 300 people on a mountain somewhere; there are no songs to be sung or heroes to be noted. It’s all business, really—the business of overeating.
Indeed, the only myth about Thanksgiving, not counting our averred friendliness toward Native Americans, is an odd one: that the Thanksgiving meal, alone among other pig-out sessions, can make a person sleepy. Yep, not only does Thanksgiving give the green light to overeating, it also signals two thumbs up to those who need to catch a 45-minute nap on the couch right after the meal.