Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanksgiving Confusion

1939-41 


In 1939, a store owner in Kokomo, Indiana hung a sign in the window that read: “Do your shopping now. Who knows, tomorrow may be Christmas.” Anyone in the country would have recognized this as a humorous reference to President Franklin Roosevelt's declaration that Thanksgiving would be observed on the third Thursday of November that year, instead of the fourth. The decision to celebrate a week earlier was not popular for various reasons, including company holidays, school vacations, and college football games, all of which were already scheduled. Others disliked the idea for political reasons, seeing it as just another New Deal scheme. In fact, the polls indicated that sixty percent of Americans were opposed to moving the holiday. Since the presidential declaration was not legally binding, twenty-three states ignored the new date of November 23, choosing to observe on the traditional date a week later. Oddly, Colorado and Texas officially celebrated on both days.