happy-thanksgiving1An historical tidbit for your Thanksgiving enjoyment:

At the beginning of Franklin Roosevelt’s presidency, Thanksgiving was always the last Thursday in November. His first Thanksgiving in office, 1933, fell on November 30th. Since statistics showed that most people did not do their Christmas shopping until after Thanksgiving, business leaders feared they would lose money, especially during the Depression, because there were only 24 shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas. They asked Franklin Roosevelt to make Thanksgiving one week earlier. President Roosevelt ignored those concerns in 1933, but when Thanksgiving once again threatened to fall on the last day of November in 1939, FDR reconsidered the request and moved the date of Thanksgiving up one week to November 23rd.

Thousands of letters poured into the White House once President Roosevelt announced the date change. Smaller businesses complained they would lose business to larger stores. Other companies that depended on Thanksgiving as the last Thursday of November lost money; calendar makers were the worst hit because they printed calendars years in advance and FDR made their calendars out of date for the next two years. Schools had already scheduled vacations and annual Thanksgiving Day football games by the time they learned of Thanksgiving’s new date and had to decide whether or not to reschedule everything. Moreover, many Americans were angry that Roosevelt tried to alter such a long-standing tradition and American values just to help businesses make more money.

As opposition grew, some states took matters into their own hands. Some governors declared November 30th as Thanksgiving. And so, depending upon where one lived, Thanksgiving was celebrated on the 23rd and the 30th. Families that lived in states such as New York did not have the same day off as family members in states such as Connecticut! Family and friends were unable to celebrate the holiday together.

Franklin Roosevelt observed Thanksgiving on the second to last Thursday of November for two more years, but the amount of public outrage prompted Congress to pass a law on December 26, 1941, ensuring that all Americans would celebrate a unified Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November every year.

What’s on your mind tonight?

Jim Moss

Jim Moss

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