My annual Thanksgiving appeal

Today is Thanksgiving Day in the US, an occasion when family and friends get together to go shopping and fight with other people to get the best bargains. No seriously, at its best, Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday, free from commercializing and just spent socializing. In fact, it has become my favorite holiday for reasons given here. (This year we received a Happy Thanksgiving card, which I view as an ominous sign of attempts to commercialize this holiday as well. It was from a firm we deal with and I hope that the practice does not spread.)

It is also my day to urge that we join the Canadians and move the date to the end of October. The main reason is that the end of November is a period of uncertain weather and, like this year, one can have a winter storm that cancels flights and makes driving treacherous, snarling traffic on one of the busiest travel periods of the year.

Of course, my proposal will not be accepted because the present date has now become firmly anchored to the start of the Christmas shopping season. In fact the choice of the present day (the fourth Thursday in November) was a compromise negotiated by Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Congress. Abraham Lincoln had decreed in 1863 that Thanksgiving be celebrated on the last Thursday. But that meant that in some years, the holiday ended up on November 30, thus making the shopping period too short. Roosevelt wanted to make it the third Thursday but Congress objected and the compromise reached in 1941 was the fourth.

But if the trend to earlier and earlier shop openings (as shown in this graph from Bluegal aka Fran) suggests, then I may actually end up achieving my objective.

retailers war on thanksgiving