Ready, Set, Shop!

illustration family shopping 1950s

Vintage ad Family Shopping Festival 1955 sponsored by Saturday Evening Post
“It’s here! This week there’ll be fun, excitement and all kinds of bargains at thousands of the nations stores as they celebrate the Family Shopping Festival. Mother will appreciate the family’s help. Sis can be picking up shopping hints for the day when she has a family of her own.And what man or boy doesn’t like to search out the special treats.”

The great American competitive sport of bargain hunting is upon us.

Gobbling down that last morsel of pumpkin pie, serious competitor started their shopping earlier than ever. This year, Thursday was the new Black Friday

As shopper battle it out over flat screen TVs, video games and the hottest toys, they are merely following a long-standing post Thanksgiving tradition.

vintage illustration xmas shopping

Vintage ad Watchmakers of Switzerland 1949

The very date of Thanksgiving was changed to accommodate holiday shopping.

In 1863 Abraham Lincoln had decided that Thanksgiving should fall on the last Thursday of November.

But in 1939, as the country was creeping out of the depression, November had 5 Thursdays and Thanksgiving would have fallen on the very last day of the month.  President Franklin Roosevelt concerned about the nations shaky economy, decided it would benefit from a longer Christmas shopping season and moved Thanksgiving back to the fourth Thursday.

It was so successful that the following year Roosevelt pushed the date even earlier to the third Thursday .

Not everyone was happy with the arrangement. Some states went along with FDR other states stuck to the traditional date. For a few years  the country celebrated Thanksgiving on 2 different days.

Republicans were outraged calling the change in date as an affront to the memory of Lincoln. People began referring November 30 as the “Republican Thanksgiving” and November 23 as the “Democratic Thanksgiving” or “Franksgiving”

Finally in 1941, Congress decreed that Thanksgiving would be the fourth Thursday of November, leaving plenty of time for Xmas shopping.

Happy Shopping!

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One comment

  1. Pingback: In Praise of the Small Businessman | Envisioning The American Dream

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