“There’s something about these characters,” says department store historian Michael Lisicky. “So many of [them] are so wonderfully regional, and that’s why they’re still so powerful.” Featured characters include Uncle Mistletoe, Billie the Brownie, Christopher Candycane and Mr. Bingle.

Meet a Dozen Lesser-Known Christmas Characters, From Mr. Jingeling to Uncle Mistletoe

Created as department store marketing tools, many of these seasonal figures became beloved holiday traditions

This turkey, with his impressive wattle and snood, has nothing to fear during the Thanksgiving holiday. He gives thanks every November that he lives the secure life of a beloved pet.

Give Thanks for These 15 Photos Celebrating Thanksgiving

Gather together and commemorate the holiday of gratitude

GPT-3 generated a Thanksgiving menu featuring "roasted turkey with a soy-ginger glaze" and "pumpkin spice cake with orange cream cheese frosting."

Should You Let Artificial Intelligence Plan Your Thanksgiving Dinner?

While A.I. recipe generation has come a long way, it won’t outdo humans anytime soon

This 1925 painting depicts an idealized version of an early Thanksgiving celebration in Plymouth.

How to Tell the Thanksgiving Story on Its 400th Anniversary

Scholars are unraveling the myths surrounding the 1621 feast, which found the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag cementing a newly established alliance

Franklin believed a turkey killed with electricity would be tastier than one dispatched by conventional means: decapitation.

When Benjamin Franklin Shocked Himself While Attempting to Electrocute a Turkey

The statesman was embarrassed by the mishap—no doubt a murder most fowl

In some states, the odds of having a Covid-positive guest at a ten-person dinner are as high as 80 percent.

Are Small Gatherings Driving Recent Covid-19 Surges? Policymakers and Scientists Are at Odds

Data suggests that universities, indoor dining and large parties may be the bigger culprits

Regular dust bathing keeps the wild turkey's iridescent feathers in top condition.

View Amazing Photos and Video of a Turkey Dust Bathing

A New York photographer captured stunning footage of this captivating behavior in her backyard


Our Thanksgiving Menu Has Lost a Few Crops

Studying the domestication of any crop that people once ate helps scientists reveal how modern crops have evolved

This popular painting of "The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth" by Jennie A. Brownscombe is an example of how the myths of the holiday became engrained in Americana.

Why the Myths of Plymouth Dominate the American Imagination

A new book shows us a different picture of the English settlers who arrived at the lands of the Wampanoag


Seven Native American Chefs Share Thanksgiving Recipes

These original Thanksgiving foods are far different from the modern celebrations, but tradition is never static

"Engaged philanthropy is vital to democracy," writes Smithsonian scholar Amanda B. Moniz, who studies the history of giving in America. Above: charity workers bring groceries to those isolating with symptoms of Covid-19.

The Storied History of Giving in America

Throughout American history, philanthropy has involved the offering of time, money and moral concern to benefit others, but it carries a complicated legacy

Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology designed a peer-reviewed tool to estimate the risk of attending an event with someone infected with the coronavirus that causes Covid-19.

Five Online Tools for Evaluating Covid-19 Risk Ahead of the Holidays

Of course, the safest option is holding events virtually and skipping in-person, indoor gatherings altogether this year

Canadians gathered around their dining room tables for Thanksgiving on October 12, and two weeks later, authorities reported a spike in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations.

Covid-19 Cases Surged After Canadian Thanksgiving in October. Will Americans Heed Their Northern Neighbor's Warning?

Two out of five Americans plan to gather in large groups for the holiday, raising public health concerns

Theresa Secord (Penobscot, b. 1958). Ear of corn basket, 2003. Maine. 26/1694. By looking at Thanksgiving in the context of living cultures, we can make the holiday a more meaningful part of teaching and learning, in school and at home.

Five Ideas to Change the Way Thanksgiving Is Taught in Classrooms and at Home

Students can use Thanksgiving and their new tools for thinking about culture to learn and share more about their own family’s history and traditions

Farms have been processing their heritage turkeys earlier to keep them small.

Turkey Farmers Scramble to Meet Need for Smaller Thanksgiving Birds

They’ll just be thankful when the year is over

A new form of entertainment and a wandering trainload of frozen turkey triggered a convenience food boom.

A Brief History of the TV Dinner

Thanksgiving’s most unexpected legacy is heating up again

First Lady Grace Coolidge and Rebecca, the raccoon she and her family kept as a pet

Raccoon Was Once a Thanksgiving Feast Fit for a President

Calvin Coolidge refused to cook the raccoon sent to him, but the critter was a beloved staple for many Americans

Food, Glorious Food

Smithsonian magazine's coverage of food, drink and their role in our culture

The Patents Behind Pumpkin Pie

This Thanksgiving, when you take a bite of the traditional pie, take a moment to think about the inventions that have gone into the making of it

It took thousands of years, but the pumpkin went from one squash among many to American icon.

How the Formerly Ubiquitous Pumpkin Became a Thanksgiving Treat

The history of Cucurbita pepo has a surprising connection to the abolitionist cause

Page 1 of 3