Thanksgiving is on November 28th this year. Anything wrong with that?
Well, in the opinion of the nation’s retailers, there’s a lot wrong with that. Because having Thanksgiving that late in the month cuts into your Christmas shopping time, and therefore cuts into their Christmas revenue.
Holding Thanksgiving on November 28 means that there are only 26 shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Even more importantly, there are only 4 shopping weekends during that time. And if we continue to schedule Thanksgiving for the fourth Thursday, there won’t be another fifth weekend for Christmas shopping until 2018.
Lots of retailers are upset about that. Many of them think that we should do something about it. Like change the date on which we celebrate Thanksgiving.
But it’s traditional to have Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday in November, you say? Well, yes, but it’s not really a longstanding tradition. And it’s sort of an artificially induced tradition, too.
You see, it didn’t become ‘tradition’ to hold Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of the month until Congress declared that to be the law in 1941. From 1863 to 1941, Thanksgiving was usually held on the final Thursday of November, as announced each year by presidential decree. And the very first Thanksgiving is believed to have occurred sometime between September 21 and November 11 – way earlier than we currently celebrate it.
So Thanksgiving has been bumped around several times in the past. In fact, you might say it’s ‘traditional’ to reschedule Thanksgiving for economic reasons.
Should Congress fiddle with Thanksgiving’s date once again? After all, it’s not exactly as if they’re doing anything constructive with their time!