A Definite Date Will Dismiss the Turmoil of Thanksgiving


Annie Qiao

Thanksgiving lands on the fourth Thursday of November, which means that depending on the year, the date of the holiday can differ by up to a week.

Akshay Raj and Aaron Sha

As the holiday season rolls around, families find themselves blindsided by the annual Thanksgiving break, and many cannot help but wonder why Thanksgiving is such an inconsistent holiday. Since its establishment as a national holiday in 1863, the date of Thanksgiving has remained a national conundrum. To eliminate the uncertainty around this holiday, a nationally set date for Thanksgiving each year must be set.

Other holidays that shift dates annually, such as Easter and Lunar New Year, are typically derived from various calendars and have religious or cultural reasons behind their dates.  Despite this date having no connection to the first Pilgrim Thanksgiving whatsoever, the legal date of Thanksgiving has since been arbitrarily set as the last Thursday of November, according to former President Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation. 

Last year, Thanksgiving fell on Nov. 22, almost a week prior to this year’s Thanksgiving on Nov. 28. These sudden and drastic shifts can be confusing and catch many off guard.

“I think the date system is confusing because it changes every year, and it’s not as clear cut as other holidays like Christmas and Halloween,” senior Richard Yea said. “Most people just know that it’s on like the third or fourth week of Thursday of November.”

Many globally-recognized holidays have become largely associated with their dates; July 4 is synonymous with Independence Day, and Nov. 11 is well-known to be Veterans Day. A specified date for Thanksgiving would not only make the holiday more memorable, but also make it more convenient to plan ahead of time.

I think the date system is confusing because it changes every year, and it’s not as clear cut as other holidays like Christmas and Halloween

— Richard Yea

An ideal national date to set for Thanksgiving is Nov. 25, since it is right in the middle of the current earliest and latest dates possible for the holiday. This solution will also be easy to remember and adapt to since it is exactly one month prior to Christmas.

Some may wish for the original date to remain in fear of interference with the subsequent Black Friday and their holiday shopping sprees. However, the sales for Black Friday have grown to encompass the entire week, with businesses offering discounts many days before Black Friday, stretching all the way to Cyber Monday and even past that, according to HuffPost. Therefore, the Thanksgiving shift would bring little impact to the eager shoppers awaiting their opportunities.

As for school districts and businesses that allow time off during Thanksgiving, allocating the five day period surrounding Thanksgiving day as break would be optimal, since students or employees will have time to prepare before Thanksgiving and take part in the sales thereafter. For example, if Nov. 25 fell on a Friday, the break period would span from Wednesday to Sunday that year.

With Thanksgiving being the perfect time to bring people together, a consistent date will make sure the holiday is orderly, stress-free and enjoyable for families across the nation.