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Voice of the Reader: Turkey day is a special day to be thankful

November 25, 2013 Updated: November 25, 2013 at 10:53 am
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Some like Thanksgiving because they think it is less materialistic than Christmas. Some like it because it can be viewed in a nonsectarian way - it's not linked to a single religious faith.

Some love shopping on Black Friday; others wouldn't consider shopping on that day.

There's no right or wrong on this. If you are one of those who perceives that a day of gluttony is followed by a huge retail opportunity, just know that is not a new notion.

Thanksgiving was first seen as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season in the early 1800s. Many historians single out the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade in 1924 as a key event that triggered what has become known as Black Friday.

Time magazine's website reports that "The holiday spree became so important to retailers that during the Great Depression, they appealed to President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939 to move Thanksgiving up in order to stretch out the holiday shopping season. Roosevelt obliged, moving Thanksgiving one week earlier, but didn't announce the change until October. As a result, Americans had two Thanksgivings that year - Roosevelt's, derisively dubbed "Franksgiving," and the original. Because the switchover was handled so poorly, few observed it, and the change resulted in little economic boost."

It is a fact that the holiday has its roots in 1621, when the Plymouth pilgrims shared a meal with the Wampanoag Indians.

After that, colonies and later some states observed days of thanksgiving, but it did not become an official national holiday until 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation.

Those who do not approve of the mad dash to retailers don't have to take part. Most of those who get up early for Black Friday deals have fun with the day.

There are exceptions, including the shopper trampled to death at a Walmart last year, and the two shoppers shot at a Toys R Us store in California, also last year.

So be careful. Try to remain cheerful.

Remember that if you can afford to spend a day shopping, that's something to be thankful for, right there.

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Contact Barry Noreen at 636-0363 or barry.noreen@gazette.com.

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