Every year, Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday of November. But it wasn’t always that way. In fact, for a brief time, America was split, celebrating Thanksgiving on two different days.

Here’s a transcript of our conversation:

Brittany: Hi, Ronni.

Ronni: Hey, Brittany.

Brittany: So, every year, you know, we gather with our friends and our loved ones on the fourth Thursday of every November, and we give thanks for really anything we’re thankful for. And of course, that, you know, commemorates the day, I always say, hate to say like the day what it commemorates because history is so, skewed on what really happened. In fact, Connor and I did an episode about this a long time ago, but you know, it’s the day we celebrate. When we got together, American colonists were the first people who came here, came over the mat Mayflower, and they got together with, you know, the natives who, native Americans who lived here, and they all had this big feast. Now, it didn’t happen that way. no, probably not. And as Connor and I talked about years ago, there’s actually a lot of, commune, not common-like socialism, almost like ruined the first Thanksgiving because, they found out the hard way that that’s not the best way to get your crops to grow in time. So basically they almost, go ahead.

Ronni: Yeah, I actually had, yes, I’ve read about that how, like communism was actually a big part of the first, well, it almost ruined the first Thanksgiving, so, yeah, no, that’s a fascinating story too.

Brittany: Do you wanna tell, you wanna give a brief summary of that? If you remember? I just put you on the spot so you don’t have to, you can.

Ronni: It’s okay. It was, actually in a magazine article, I think last Thanksgiving. So I remember it because that’s when I researched it. But, yeah, so, Pilgrim’s landed, they’re trying to set up the spring. New colony times are tough. The original plan was that everyone’s gonna work together and then everyone’s going to share everything. And so no matter how much labor you put in, you were still going to get the same rewards. Well, they found out very quickly that this did not work very well because there was no reason a lot of the men, they didn’t, especially the men who maybe, yeah. That maybe they just like didn’t feel as though there was a, like as much of a need to work. Cause they were still gonna get all of it. Anyways, they kind of quickly figured out that, oh, the strategy’s a bad strategy. So they switched to giving plots of land to everybody and then having people work their own plots or having neighbors come over and help each other. And then that improved morale and working and yeah. So it did a much better job when they let people actually do there and have pride in their own, in their own creation.

Brittany: It’s crazy how that happened. Well, so that’s what we celebrate the, again, fourth Thursday of every November. That’ll, that’ll come in handy in a minute, but I don’t know if you guys know this, I know I actually did not know this until I did some research. I thought it was really exciting. Ronni put up my radar is, that it wasn’t always the third, or sorry, fourth Thursday of every month. So, this little quiz for you, or not quiz, I guess trivia in 1863, Abraham Lincoln was the president who decided that Thanksgiving was going to be a national holiday. So, that’s when it became a thing. It hasn’t always been, it wasn’t, you know, since the Revolutionary War came tweet today, revolutionary War when we became a country, it was much later. but he decided it would be on the last Thursday of every November. So it wasn’t until about a hundred years later in 1939 that Franklin Delano Roosevelt FDR is what we call him, he changed it to the fourth Thursday of every month. And this might not seem like a big deal, right? In fact, a lot of times, correct me if I’m wrong already, but a lot of times the last Thursday of the month is the fourth Thursday of the month. Correct?

Ronni: Yeah. In fact, I remember growing up, I thought that Thanksgiving was the last Thursday because too, that’s how it typically fell.

Brittany: I did too. And I think it was actually not until a couple of years ago, we had one that wasn’t the last Thursday, and everybody was thrown off. Like every, nobody knew it because they were like, wait a second, wait, we still have another week. So it was very confusing because sometimes November does have four Thursdays. So again, five Thursdays. Sorry, five Thursdays. Thank you. Okay. It doesn’t seem like that big a deal, right? You’re like, okay, well that’s barely even, barely even matters. Well, that’s not how people viewed it. In fact, Americans hated it. It became this huge thing. People even protested. And it happened pretty quickly where all of a sudden FDR was just like, all right, well now it’s the fourth. That’s terrible, I don’t know how we sounded, but that was my imitation. No, it’s gonna be, you know, the fourth Thursday of every November now. But you have to remember, Thanksgiving is a big, holiday for things you like, football games, people are really into that. Schools have to give time off. So this was really confusing for people because things were already scheduled, big parades were already scheduled, you know, church services, school closings, all these things, and know everybody was scrambling to switch them. I guess there was a college that was mad because they had to switch and then like, students were just taking both days off. They were just like, well, whatever. You know, they’re, gonna be weird. We’re just gonna do that. So if. sorry to interrupt. No, you’re good.

Ronni: Do you know? Why he decided to, switch it to the fourth Thursday that year?

Brittany: We’re gonna, get to it.

Ronni: Almost there.

Brittany: But if I forget anything, please let me know. I think I have it right, but if I get it wrong, just to give you an example of how angry everybody was Turkey Cellars were even mad because remember, they plan, they’re like, that’s their busiest time of year, right? And they plan all that around this. But now it all switched. Now they had to get, you know, things from different times from the producers and all these things. So the polls actually showed that 62 to 38 was the total score on people who did not like the change. And some states were just flat out like, we’re not gonna do it. There’s an I didn’t, this is an actual like title. Somebody’s job was the chairman of the annual celebration commemorating the like 1621 Harvest Feast by the Pilgrims. So, the chairman of that, he said, you know, we heartily disapprove. He was very upset about it. And he said, we here in Plymouth, ’cause that’s where he lived. He’s like, we consider this a sacred day. And now you’re just switching it for what seemed like no reason, right? Like Ronni said there was a reason, but we’re to get to it. So the country was torn. So half of them celebrated Thanksgiving on the day that it was, I think that was the day that he changed it to FDR, and then other people celebrated. Oh, no, Okay. So that was a regular one and the other people celebrated Frank’s giving. And actually, Ronni, I might have to ask you for this ’cause I forgot, is Frank’s giving the one that FDR started, or was Frank’s giving the original Thanksgiving?

Ronni: I’m gonna go with it probably was when they switched it to the fifth.

Brittany: That’s what I thought too.

Ronni: Between, the fourth Thursday away from the fifth, that was probably Frank’s giving. ’cause a lot of the people felt as though it was like the fake Thanksgiving.

Brittany: Yeah, okay. That makes more sense. But here’s the, this part really makes me laugh. There were three states, Colorado, Mississippi, and Texas, where we’re just like, whatever, we’re gonna celebrate both. So they did both, which I thought was really, really funny. But, so this became a really heated issue. One of, FDR’s political opponents even compared him to the very terrible, brutal dictator. Adolf Hitler, we’ve talked about him in one of the villain episodes, Connor and I did a while ago, that’s not a fair comparison, right? Hitler killed millions and millions of people. FDR just wanted to change Thanksgiving. So that was a little bit too unfair, but I bring that up to just tell you how crazy everyone felt about this, right? So eventually, because nobody could disagree, FDR was just like, yeah, let’s pass a law and now you have to celebrate Thanksgiving when I wanna celebrate it. the fourth Thursday of every month. So, okay, now back to what Ronni was saying. Why did they switch? Well, FDR was saying it was to boost the economy. And Ronni, I’m gonna put you on the spot like I always do. I’d, you know, for someone like FDR is that someone you look to for economic wisdom when you look at the history of the United States?

Ronni: You know, probably not. But then also I’m thinking, yeah, why anyone who is going to make a sudden change like that without thinking through all the ramifications of what’s going to happen, I wouldn’t trust for economic wisdom either. So I think there’s a few different reasons why I’m gonna say no.

Brittany: Yes. And I mean, I look at like, you know, the Great Depression or the New Deal, which is what they called it, which was what ruined our economy and you know, we’re still kind of dealing with the increased welfare state and all this government spending. So, FDR is not the best person to look to for any idea of how to boost the economy. But let’s talk about why he wanted to change it. So he wanted Americans to have extra days to shop for Christmas, then they would spend a ton of money, right? So Christmas season, as everybody knows officially starts the day after Thanksgiving, even though some people put their trees up sooner, which is just nuts.

Ronni: It was at, I was at Target on September 30th, so this is like a week and a half ago or something. And they already had Christmas decorations they were selling. I couldn’t believe it. I took a picture, I was like, it’s not even Thanksgiving yet. I mean, not even Halloween yet. And they were all already at Christmas after.

Brittany: It is unacceptable. I know our listeners probably have different views. I think it’s unacceptable. How dare they try to rush Christmas without even celebrating Halloween or Thanksgiving? We have so many other things. So I think, and I think most people, you know, Christmas season officially starts after Thanksgiving. So what they wanted to do was prolong the season of shopping. If they moved it to the fourth Thursday, or, you know, not the last th or yeah, fourth Thursday, then you are gonna have a little bit extra time to do your shopping, which means, you know, people were gonna, businesses were gonna make more money and then boost the economy, blah, blah, blah. so how do you think big businesses felt about this, Ronni?

Ronni: Well, I’m going to give a little, another little example to answer this, but it has to do with Halloween. And did you know that a few, several years back, I think when we were, I don’t know, maybe teens, kids, somewhere around there that they changed, daylight savings time. It used to be before Halloween, and they changed it to the week after Halloween. And do you know why they did that? They did that so that there would be longer, like an extra hour of light to trick or treat because candy retailers believe that they would be able to sell more candy for trick or treating. So with that mindset, I’m gonna go that businesses probably like being able to have as much time as possible to sell things to people.

Brittany: I mean, that makes sense, right? That you’d think that makes sense. So that’s exactly what the businesses thought here. In fact, one business, Lord and Taylor, which is super expensive, I would never be able to afford anything from there, but it’s awesome. They were estimated they were gonna make an extra $1 billion. So I get it like I can understand why they’re really excited about this. But to show you how big of a deal this was in American culture, there was a cartoon, it was called Mary Melodies, but it’s like what we know as like Looney Tunes today. They had a Thanksgiving episode, and when one of the characters went to write on the calendar, there were two that circled. It said Republican Thanksgiving and then Democrat Thanksgiving, because it became such a political issue, like a se like, it’s like how gun control, like, is like every, you know, Democrats want gun control for the most part, and Republicans, you know, want more gun rights. So, it’s kind of like that it became that big of an issue and it’s so crazy.

Ronni: Wait, which one was Thanksgiving?

Brittany: So, Republicans wanted to keep it how it was the Democrats decided. To with FDR. So that was a huge deal. Like that’s how big of a deal it was. But here’s the real twist of the matter. When all the data came back, it turned out that FDR’s plan didn’t even do anything to boost the economy at all. It, like, there was no noticeable change. So then you gotta wonder like, well, what was all that for? The country got torn apart and it’s because one man thought, here’s this brilliant idea. None of my other economic ideas have worked, but let’s try this. And, just turned into a complete, you know, bust. It was just a political storm. So I don’t know, Ronni, if you have any comments on that before we wrap up. The story’s just so crazy to me.

Ronni: I just think that overall, anytime we have a decision being made by the higher-ups in which all the little details of how it affects people’s normal everyday life are not taken into consideration, a lot of times that plan ends up being a total bust. So maybe instead of all of the directions we get being top-heavy and then telling us what to do, maybe we should, you know, not do that so much. That’s my overall takeaway.

Brittany: Yeah, me too. And this is not the overall takeaway, but I just think it’s funny, we have so many silly holidays now. It was just funny to me how it’s all controlled by, you know, one person that’s just like, all right, this sounds good. It just and then the whole calendar kind of settles or set, center, excuse me, around that. So a very interesting story. I just think that’s a lot of fun. Thank you for putting out my radar, Ronni. And to our listeners, please like and subscribe if you haven’t, and share this podcast with others. And we will talk to you again soon.

Ronni: All right, see you soon.