In practice, however, what is now Thanksgiving Day involves mostly a celebration of domestic and family life, quite separate from any presidential imperatives. Moreover, Thanksgiving celebrations take place primarily within the private and commercial spheres of life. Preparing a Thanksgiving meal requires shopping for goods. Traveling to see friends and relatives often requires the purchase of various transportation-related goods and services. Enjoying the day is usually enhanced by consuming various forms of private-sector entertainment.
These holiday activities and rituals are not fundamentally different, however, from what countless human beings enjoy on a regular basis: a meal and leisure activities with friends and family within a private home and domestic setting. These gatherings reinforce the status of the family as a fundamental building block of human society. They remind us that private meals like a Thanksgiving meal are something valuable and something distinct from public activities in public settings.