Thanksgiving: History Shaped to Fit

By Amy Temple

The Hoffman Agency, London

What is Thanksgiving? A simple enough question it would seem. Or so I thought until I was asked that question by my 5-year-old daughter, an American, yes, but also British (and Canadian for that matter). So how do you tell a child about why Americans celebrate Thanksgiving without alienating the culture into which she was born? How do you explain why, living in London, her friends don’t celebrate the holiday as well? In a word: storytelling.

Teaching American history, or even British and Canadian history, to my multicultural daughter has taught me not only the importance of communication and storytelling, but how to do it well. I cannot change history, but I can shape the facts and ideals it gives us in order to communicate the events. I can tell my daughter that even though Thanksgiving may be, in some ways, at odds with a British identity, the notion of giving thanks is one that we can all relate to.

Knowing which facts to highlight is much of what we do in PR. We take the information that is important to our clients and we shape it into a story, creatively providing details that may otherwise get bogged down in the vast amount of content put out by businesses. Being able to polish that information and create a story the media can relate to, and build their knowledge on, is much the same as what I do time and again with my daughter. When it comes to understanding history – or understanding business – communication and storytelling are indeed the keys. 

Thanksgiving Turkey

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