People are mad!  They’re picking sides.  Now, arguing and fighting are nothing new during the holidays –  just sit around the table of the average American family on Thanksgiving, or reach for the last specially marked item on the shelf on Black Friday.  But this fight is a bit unique.

The fight is not over what to buy but when to buy. Yep. Black Friday has expanded into Brown Thursday – a name I learned by watching  Jimmy Kimmel Live.   And the feelings run high.

“They’re ruining Thanksgiving!”

“It’s the death of Thanksgiving!”

A “Save Thanksgiving” Facebook page includes a “Naughty and Nice” list of who is open and who is not.  The “nice” list includes Home Depot, Sam’s Club, T.J. Maxx, Dillards.  On the “naughty” list we find “Macy’s, Walmart, Best Buy, among others.

Thirty-three million Americans have said they plan to be “naughty” this Thanksgiving.

This isn’t the first time controversy has been cooked up over Thanksgiving and shopping.  Ever hear of “Franksgiving”?    It’s a reference to our 32nd President, Franklin D. Roosevelt and his attempt to mess with tradition. The tradition was set by another President, Abraham Lincoln who, in 1863, set the last Thursday of November as Thanksgiving Day.

In 1939,  the last Thursday of the month was November 30 – which meant there were just 20 shopping days left til Christmas – not a good thing for retailers.  Business leaders, including the head guy of Federated Department Stores (Macy’s, Bloomingdales), and the Retail Dry Goods Association, expressed concern to the Secretary of Commerce who passed on the concern to the President, who in turn moved Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday of the month – to extend the shopping season.

Simple, right?  Not at all!  The public choked on their pecan pie.
Roosevelt was compared to Hitler.
Long time Democrats threatened to vote Republican in the next election.
In time, the earlier date became known as the “Democratic Thanksgiving” while the traditional “last Thursday” Thanksgiving became the “Republican Thanksgiving.”

Finally, after two years of squabbling and gobbling,  Congress made it official:  Thanksgiving Day would be the fourth Thursday of November – all because of shopping.


  • So much for the “good old days” when Americans cared more about getting together with family to celebrate Thanksgiving than the gross national product.  Maybe the “good old days” aren’t really too much different than these days.
  • We still demonize our leaders.
  • Maybe Thanksgiving is more than just a particular “day.”
  • Remember Lincoln?  When he established Thanksgiving Day, he asked – no, he pled with – all Americans to ask God to “commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation.”

A prayer for God’s care.  Let’s pray that.  Let’s be answers to that prayer.

No disagreement with that!

1 thought on “Franksgiving

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