No Time for Giving Thanks

The commercialization of Christmas has long been a complaint of the masses, dating at the least to the mid 1960’s when Charlie Brown decried the aluminum Christmas trees and longed for someone to tell him the true meaning of Christmas. The cry that Thanksgiving has become too commercial has increased as Sears and many Walmart stores have announced they will be open on Thanksgiving Day this year.

Before we start a protest of Sears and Walmart though, we need to go back to President Franklin D. Roosevelt as perhaps the spark that turned Thanksgiving into a retail holiday. Thanksgiving was officially observed on the final Thursday of November from 1863 until 1939, when FDR moved the observance to the third Thursday in hopes of increasing retail Christmas sales during the Great Depression. The holiday was sarcastically referred to as Franksgiving. In 1941 FDR signed an official proclamation returning Thanksgiving to the final Thursday in November, where it remains to this day.

I was not surprised to hear that Sears and Walmart will be open on Thanksgiving this year – actually I’m more surprised that it hadn’t happened earlier. Only a few days after Labor Day this year, stores were putting out their Christmas decoration displays, right next to the Halloween decorations, and it was very obvious that Thanksgiving was being left out in the cold.

When I was a little kid in the 1960’s, many stores were closed on Saturdays, and on Sundays most every retail establishment was closed (even gas stations). Now, every day of the week looks very much the same in the retail world and in how many people live. The advent of the internet and cell phones that do it all, leave many people constantly attached to their work, and blur the lines between work time and family time. In the larger picture, Sears and Walmart open for a few hours on the last Thursday of November is not very shocking.

So, my question to you is does it matter that more retailers are going to be open on Thanksgiving Day? In I Thessalonians 5, verses 16-18, we are admonished to:

Rejoice always, pray continually,  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

There is nothing magical about the last Thursday in November. For Christians, it should be just another day to rejoice in the love and Salvation of God through His Son, Jesus Christ … even if Sears is open.



  1. So very true, Kerry. It seems as if this world and it’s citizens go round and round all year long, with little down time to refresh the body and soul. For years, my employer has always let us off the day after Thanksgiving, with pay, because they felt it should be a time to enjoy being with family. Last year, that tradition went by the wayside because they felt they had to be open, just to make sure they didn’t miss the business. This year is to be the same. I think it is very sad.

    Good post. You have made me think.

  2. I think it’s a shame that Sears and Walmart are going to be open on Thanksgiving Day. I feel for their employees. I’m glad to live in a country where most retailers close on Saturday at 4:00 in the afternoon, and are closed all day on Sunday. (If you really need something, the shops at the main train station are open, primarily for travelers just returning home — but it comes in handy for me too, in case I forgot to buy milk 🙂

    When home in the U.S. on a visit, it always comes as a bit of a surprise to see people shopping on Sunday.

    On the negative side, it’s hard to find a turkey here – they are usually about as big as a chicken – and any bigger wouldn’t fit in the small-ish size ovens anyway!

  3. Let’s make a date to not meet at Sears on Thanksgiving.

    Although not 100%, we do our best to avoid shopping and eating out on Sundays too.

    • Hi Vince – I’ve got a date with a turkey that day, plus I would have to drive hundreds of miles to get to a Sears store.

      I trust that all is well with you and your family?

  4. Cindy, Jethro, Rugs, Oz and Harriet

    I refuse to set up my palm to access my work e-mail. And at home I rarely get in to my work PC unless I absolutely have to. I think people need to let it go when they leave the office but it seems like the younger generation has a different mind set.

    I remember when I was growing up nothing was open on Sundays either. Everybody seemed to survive. Sometimes I’m glad places are open on Sunday but I also think that it was a good deal when everything was closed on Sunday. At least we knew we had one day a week off work.

  5. Pingback: Sunday hunt for links – Wild Turkey Edition | Political Realities

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *