Social Media Isn’t Just “Gobble”?digook at Thanksgiving
The first Thanksgiving in 1621 did not feature any turkey or pumpkin pie. There were no yams or any cranberry sauce served during that original three day celebration, either. In fact, the holiday wasn’t even called Thanksgiving, until 1863. According to Edward Winslow, who actually attended the first holiday feast, what we now call “Thanksgiving” was simply considered a “harvest festival.”
Twenty years ago, it might have required a trip to the local public library to research the details I so quickly and accurately summarized, above. Unless, of course, you were fortunate enough to be able to do some extensive thumbing through your own Encyclopedia Britannica volume.
Today, a quick Google search will provide 270,000,000 “Thanksgiving” results in just under25 seconds. This is just one indication that Social Media has officially become an integral and welcome part of all holiday celebrations from planning to cleanup.
We’ve already discussed the “Thanksgiving” history lesson, but there are so many other ways the Internet and its Social Media components can impact the holidays in so many very positive ways.
So, what will Thanksgiving be like at your house this year? For starters, the Web is chock full of “Thanksgiving Planners” available for download. A quick Google search will yield dozens of free and low cost planner downloads, which you can use to lay out your entire Thanksgiving celebration. Martha Stewart offers hers at no charge at: http://images.marthastewart.com/images/content/web/pdfs/pdf3/thanksgivingplanner.pdf. In her planner, the queen of classy entertaining covers an entire month of preparation for November’s Big Day.
By the way, the original “harvest festival” in 1621 actually took place in October. This was probably the case, because the pilgrims and Native Americans didn’t have to worry about who the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys were playing back in those days. Today, that information is readily available on the official website of the National Football League (NFL) at http://www.nfl.com/thanksgiving.
So… you have a Thanksgiving planner courtesy of Martha Stewart or another plan author. But, whom do you wish to invite to your holiday table and how will you reach out to them? Evite (http://new.evite.com/#home) stands ready with a variety of festive Thanksgiving invitations by E-mail and its effective guest tracking solution, which makes accounting for who is coming and who cannot make it – quick, simple and free. So much for the invitation piece. Mark it done and move on.
The Dinner Selections
We all know that Thanksgiving entertaining can be very expensive. We, as hosts, do not want our guests to leave hungry and unsatisfied. We also want our holiday celebration to be fun and memorable. Fortunately, Thanksgiving is a holiday that lends itself extremely well to wonderful old family recipes. Many of these abound on the Web and are free for the taking.
Apparently, there are 43,600,000 places to look for holiday serving suggestions, including places to brainstorm and discuss possible menu choices with others. One such place is “Rhodey Girl Tests” at http://rhodeygirltests.com/2010/10/28/thanksgiving-menu-recipes-discussion/. The nice thing about the web and Social Media is that you are never alone with your thoughts. You can bounce ideas off plenty of others – just like you –twenty-four by seven. The Web is always open for business.
Holiday cooking can be expensive. And, who wants to run from store to store comparing the prices of butterball turkeys and pumpkin pie filling? Fortunately, the web can be a huge here, too. The websites of news media outlets and others have already done some serious food comparison shopping at local supermarkets on your behalf. The ABC TV affiliate in Los Angeles has broken it all down for its viewers at: http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/food_coach&id=6518964. “Western Farm Press” (WFP) also offers some great savings information and advice on its own webpage at: http://westernfarmpress.com/management/thanksgiving-dinner-costs-9-percent. According to WFP, the cost of the 2010 Thanksgiving dinner has increased by 9 per cent since last year. An educated consumer can easily shave several dollars off their holiday food shopping bill by following WFP’s and other similar recommendations also found on the Web.
The Hungry – Please Give
While you are buying food for your own Holiday celebration, think hard about those less fortunate who may be going hungry somewhere in the world. Holiday time is giving time. Doesn’t helping others in need makes us all feel good inside? Social Media has an easy solution for this, too. Check out RiaEnjolie’s iBuyiHelp charity program, which has helped thousands of people around the world through the many challenges they face daily. Go to http://www.riaenjolie.com/ibuyihelp-overview.html and download a shopper’s toolbar to support a cause you believe in.
Dining Out Instead of In
Now, what if you don’t wish to cook Thanksgiving dinner and elect to take the whole crew out to a restaurant? Well, Social Media can help you with this, too? And, this help will definitely be appreciated, because dining out on the holidays is fraught with pitfalls and perils. Advance reservations, suit jackets, long waits, limited menus, price gouging, subpar food and poor service are all too often the hallmarks of the “away” holiday dinner. Websites like Gayot.com (http://www.gayot.com/restaurants/best-thanksgiving_999in.html) can help lead you in the right direction by offering you some wonderful “best of the best” lists of restaurants, by city.
At some point in the late afternoon or early evening the dinner is over and we men have been set off to watch our traditional holiday football games. For the non football types, “Black Friday” is next up on the horizon and the guerilla shoppers are already itching to get out to the retail stores.
Dealighted.com has promised to share a listing of money saving “leaked” Black Friday sales ads with its shoppers. These can be found at: http://blackfriday.dealighted.com/?gclid=CLbJr-qTq6UCFeFN5QodszM6aA. Another site called “Black Friday 2010,” offers more of the same at: http://www.blackfriday2010.com/. So, let the holiday shopping begin in earnest.
Hours later and totally pooped after fighting the “Black Friday” crowds reality sets back in. While you were out shopping, the holiday dishes piled up in the sink from dinner and those late night “Thanksgiving Sandwiches” we all love. Fear not. There are “After Thanksgiving Clean Up Tips” offered at: http://theradioblog.marthastewart.com/2010/11/got-stains-check-out-our-top-three-thanksgiving-cleaning-tips.html. At this site you will learn how to remove wine stains, candle wax and silver tarnish from your personal belongings. All of this just in time to do it all again for Christmas and Hanukkah! By the way, the latter holiday begins on Sundown on December 1st, this year. So, you better get going on your next round of holiday planning. Fortunately, Social Media has all the answers and the emotional support of countless others signing on to Facebook and Twitter to talk about their holiday successes as well as their family nightmares. Happy Holidays to all.
Marc LeVine is Director of Social Media at RiaEnjolie, Inc (www.RiaEnjolie.com) a web design company specializing in professional looking and affordable websites for small businesses of all types. Follow us on Twitter @RiaEnjolie
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