Deciding which day to have Thanksgiving may seem like an intimate choice for your family and friends who come over for dinner. And it’s certainly true that many families decide, together, that the best time to meet for a meal is a little later in the week, either Friday or Saturday or even Sunday. But making it official, the act of calling Thanksgiving a Thursday holiday, requires the Federal government to agree with the states and vice versa.
Back in 1939, when Franklin Roosevelt was cruising to a third term in office, the president believed, in a five Thursday month, that having Thanksgiving on the second to last Thursday would allow more time for Christmas shopping. One year removed from the Great Depression, that felt like a positive move. But sixteen governors disagreed and firmly held their Thanksgivings on the last Thursday of the month. It took an act of Congress, in 1941, to ensure that Thanksgiving would be held on the fourth Thursday of the month, which in most cases would be the last, but not always.
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