Some of us are old enough to remember a time when people got off work for Washington’s Birthday—the holiday we now call Presidents’ Day.
Up until the 1980s, many businesses closed for Washington’s Birthday. It was a lot like Labor Day or Memorial Day, in that respect. So what changed?
There were a lot of factors, but one theory is in the 1980s, stores began staying open on Presidents’ Day to offer big sales and attract shoppers. As stores stayed open, other businesses had reason to do so as well. As a result, Presidents’ Day is a lot like Columbus Day: The banks and Post Office close; stores offer big sales; but that’s about the extent of the holiday. So I have to ask: Could the same thing happen to Thanksgiving?
This year stores like Kmart are staying open all day on Thanksgiving. Walmart will unveil its Black Friday sales Thursday, letting shoppers peruse their shelves Thanksgiving night and on into Friday morning. Best Buy, Target, J.C. Penny, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Sears, Toys R Us, and others plan to do the same.
Some people say as the economy rebounds, stores may not make a habit of opening on Thanksgiving in the future. I doubt it.
If more stores open on Thanksgiving, other businesses will likely find reason to follow suit. It happened with George Washington’s Birthday; there’s no reason to think Thanksgiving is too sacred for the same to happen to it.
I imagine people will always pause to eat turkey together the last weekend of November, but it bothers me that what was intended to be a day spent with family, giving thanks to God for the many blessings we enjoy might devolve into nothing more than “Black Friday Eve.”
I’ve never seen a Norman Rockwell painting of a family spending Thanksgiving in the checkout line of a big-box store. This week, I hope you and your family will take a break from the hustle and bustle to enjoy quality time together.
Whether it’s playing football in the backyard or listing your blessings around the dinner table, take a few hours to celebrate and have a happy Thanksgiving!