A Brit Tries Thanksgiving (And Learns A Little More About PR)

I understand: we lost the war. As a Brit who conducts more than half of her business in the United States, I’ve learned the hard way that Americans don’t like to hear states referred to as “colonies.” Who knew?


With a PR exercise that has sometimes forced me — and other times tempted me — into the American lifestyle, I must admit that Thanksgiving is a bit of a head-scratcher. A group of religious fanatics go off the grid, hire barely able sailors to take them across the Atlantic and land in an area that they thought was newly uncovered but – plot twist – recently it was done ravaged by a terrible plague, Would I be grateful for making it through that first winter without resorting to a donor party? (See: I’m listening to your history!) Of course, I would have sobbed with relief. However, can I, a descendant of discerning Old Yorkers who had lived in their ancient city, relate to the pilgrims’ utterly self-imposed dilemma? No, sir, I can’t.

Furthermore, beyond the problematic cross-cultural narrative, it seems more than a little treacherous for a dinner and shines on the brutal conflict and warfare that marked New England’s remaining colonial relations with indigenous inhabitants. . Furthermore, Thanksgiving itself was a political ploy promoted by none other than abraham lincoln, While the holiday was celebrated for years by the people of New England, and throughout the Revolutionary War the holiday was declared to boost morale, it didn’t catch on nationally until much later—and there’s a brilliant lesson in PR how it happened.


As it turns out, the British army was a little annoyed at losing the colonies (there, I said!) and fled a variety of items, Including the diary of William Bradford From Plymouth Plantation. American historians in London rediscovered it in 1855, transcribed it, and published it the following year. The book became a bestseller in the North during the lead-up to the American Civil War, promoting the idea that the Pilgrims were the true founders of America, as it placed the founding myth of America firmly in Massachusetts—as in Jamestown, Virginia (which was actually First colonized by the British).

Why bother with all this? Why do these details matter? What light do they shed on the true nature of thanksgiving? In my view, they don’t shed any. And maybe that’s what I love about this holiday. The notion of giving thanks in a purely secular way deeply fascinates me. But learning about the complicated way of stuffing and cranberry sauce (None of these pilgrims ate) reminds us that culture is a set of stories we tell ourselves – which I am exposed to daily as one in the content-creation and story-creation business. Furthermore, I would be very sorry if I did not claim my enthusiastic appreciation for Lincoln’s mastery of public relations. What a clever spin! What a flawless campaign! There can be no greater victory than promoting the entire holiday—and doing so so cleverly that the entire nation doesn’t even realize it took 250 years to catch on.


Being an international practice has allowed me to get to know a good deal of culture from all over the world. It is a region that takes all forms and crosses all time zones. One day it’s Dubai and the next it’s LA. Everyone has their own different ways of going about business, but the more I experience the cross-current of cultures, the more I see that we all do the same things. want, even if their expressions look a bit different from country to country. Being respectful of different cultural practices has made me a student of the calendar: understanding the function of the holiday is a chance to understand the context that determines a client’s needs – and perhaps to see our paths first. Why did you go to the place? It is also a course of patience and tolerance: there must be room for adaptation in every customer relationship because we are all on different calendars, literally and figuratively.

This is a lesson one must adopt and it is one that Zoom and the post-COVID telecommunications climate have made mandatory for all. To be sure, it is confusing at times, and difficult to navigate at times, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Getting the chance to learn about the world through my customers is a guarantee that each day will bring something new to me. And for that I am grateful.