Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah
image The extended Christmas shopping season skips over Thanksgiving. Moving Thanksgiving to January would allow people to focus more on giving thanks.

November 5, 2015
Let’s move Thanksgiving — again

I liked learning to count.

1, 2, 3 … and rest of the way to the end of infinity.

Even the most random of minds must appreciate the security of order. What if we woke up one day and somebody changed the order? Maybe three comes first now?

I walked into a store, whose name shall not be spoken, in Tooele before October this year and saw a display of Christmas merchandise.

I ordinarily would have walked out and not returned until after Thanksgiving, the proper order for Christmas.

However, over the years, I have become desensitized to premature Christmas. A fit of pragmatism set in, as I admitted to myself that I was fighting a losing battle, and continued to shop.

Banishing myself from all pre-Thanksgiving Christmas retail stores anymore means eventually I will have nowhere to shop for the next two months.

And they wouldn’t miss me.

I like my holidays and I enjoy them, in order and one at a time. 1, 2, 3 … Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

It’s a trifecta, an end-of-the-year crescendo of holiday revelry.

When I was little, the fall seemed neat and orderly. October was Halloween. November was Thanksgiving. Christmas came in December. Santa Claus always waited until the day after Thanksgiving to arrive, and that marked the first day of the Christmas season. That was when lights went on, stores decorated and the Sears Christmas toy catalog arrived.

Then retailers started subtly pushing Christmas a little earlier a little more each year.

Others innocently bought into the misdeed.

One year, a major retailer snuck their Christmas toy catalog into my home via my Sunday paper in November. It was printed in red and green with tree ornaments — but no direct mention of Christmas.

I saw flocked Christmas trees in a hardware store in early October.

I have heard nonstop Christmas music on radio stations since Nov. 1.

I understand those that want to keep Christmas in their hearts year-round.

That’s fine, keep Christmas in your heart, but keep it off the store shelves and radio waves until I’ve enjoyed Thanksgiving, please.

Somebody once explained to me that a feast is not a regular meal, but an event for special occasions.

If we had a feast for dinner every night, he said, a feast would cease to be a feast and become just another family fight over the dinner table instead.

I am concerned that as we prolong the length of commercial Christmas each year, the real holiday itself becomes less special.

Eight years ago, in this very column I proposed a compromise to the world.

It’s been largely ignored, so like other bad political ideas I will resurrect it until it catches on. Repetition wears down the walls of opposition. Sooner or later you’ll be saying, “I like that idea.”

Here we go.

I will give up complaining and fighting against the inevitable and unseasonably early Christmas if we can do something for Thanksgiving.

Poor Thanksgiving, now sandwiched between Halloween — the new start of the Christmas season — and Christmas Day itself is getting steamrolled.

Let’s give Thanksgiving the time it deserves. I propose we move Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday in January.

Let’s change our counting order.

It wouldn’t be the first time Thanksgiving was moved. Thanksgiving used to be the last Thursday in November. Abraham Lincoln thus established it by presidential proclamation in 1863. It was a day to give thanks and to unite the nation, according to Lincoln.

In 1939, 1940 and 1941, Franklin D. Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving to the third Thursday in November — wait for it — to lengthen the Christmas shopping season. The move stirred quite a controversy at the time, and many Republicans continued to celebrate Thanksgiving on the traditional day.

Some referred to Roosevelt’s holiday as “Franksgiving.”

In 1941, Congress settled the argument and passed a joint resolution setting Thanksgiving as the fourth — not always the last — Thursday in November.

January would be an ideal time in which to relocate Thanksgiving.

The month is dark, cold and dismal, plus everyone’s credit cards are maxed out from Christmas.

Why not bring some joy to the month by adding a once-a-year meal shared with family and friends?

I know Thanksgiving is usually thought of as a fall harvest celebration, but is there ever a wrong time to give thanks?

Let’s do it in January and give the holiday its full due once again.

I need a social media-marketing guru. This time, my Thanksgiving relocation proposal needs some real traction with a Facebook page complete with a SurveyMonkey link, a petition, and a viral YouTube video.

Tim Gillie

Staff Writer at Tooele Transcript Bulletin
Tim covers education, Tooele City government, business, real estate, politics and the state Legislature. He became a journalist after a long career as an executive with the Boy Scouts of America. Tim is a native of Washington state and a graduate of Central Washington University.

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