True or false? Thanksgiving has always been celebrated on the 4th Thursday in November.
If you said false you get an extra heaping of mashed potatoes at today’s dinner feast. Here’s a quick scan of how the holiday got established and then re-established:
In 1789 President George Washington signed a Proclamation designating 26 November as a day of thanks (click here for good article on how George envisioned Thanksgiving as a day of unity in what was then a politically very divided country – that sure sounds familiar doesn’t it?)
It hung on that date for 74 years when, in 1863, President Lincoln signed legislation designating the last Thursday of the month as our day of Thanksgiving.
Then 75 years later President Roosevelt moved it back to the second to the last Thursday in November to allow extra shopping for Christmas. In 1939 Thanksgiving would have fallen on 30 November and FDR wanted the extra week for the unofficial start of the shopping season. That whole Black Friday thing was around even back then!
Two years later in 1941 Congress and FDR designated the 4th Thursday as our official Turkey Day. It has been celebrated on the 4th thursday of November ever since then.
On this day I am most thankful for all of my family and friends. And while this has been a particularly tough year, one of the few good things about it is that it has brought me closer to and more appreciative of my family and my friends. That I have several friends who are like family to me makes it even better. Happy Thanksgiving!