It’s Happy Thanksgiving! Not Happy Holidays yet! I have heard a disturbing number of people wishing other people “Happy Holidays” over the last few days. Wrong! Just say: “Happy Thanksgiving” for now. The bloodless directive of “Happy Holidays” crept into out national lexicon as a politically correct way around guessing just which holiday you may be celebrating during the seasons of Christmas, Kwanzaa and Hanukkah. Fine. It’s better for everyone, we’ve been told, when everyone shops, so the more inclusive the “giving holiday” can be the better.
Thanksgiving has been toyed with before in a nod to commercial interests. As Matt Soniak over at Mental Floss reports, up until 1939 Thanksgiving was always celebrated in the last Thursday of November, a tradition put in place by Lincoln to standardize what had been a random celebration prior to 1863. In 1939 FDR heeded the pleas of Depression-oppressed merchants and moved the holiday up a week in attempt to create a longer shopping season. It wasn’t an easy sell—even then, it disrupted the schedule of college football teams. Even then, Republicans rebelled and refused to accept the change. After two years of states having different Thanksgiving dates depending on their political leadership, FDR gave up in 1941 and created the fourth Thursday in November as an official holiday.
There’s nobody to offend by wishing a Happy Thanksgiving. Newsflash: None of us are Pilgrims (though some seem to think they are) but what makes Thanksgiving bearable is that it’s for everyone, from the DAR descendant to the most hopeful immigrant. The only shopping you need to do for now is at the grocery store, or if you lucky and care about that sort of thing, at the farmer’s market (oh, almost forgot — liquor store, too).
There’s no reason to jump the gun on “the holidays” a minute sooner than we have to. Even my kids, who have a vested interest in the longest shopping period possible, express horror at witnessing holiday decorations that appear shortly after Halloween.
So Happy Thanksgiving! If you are having worries about your bird and cooking, relax and enjoy the video below. This is a holiday about food that’s not even supposed to taste good! It’s not about the shopping — yet.