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Do Americans only have Thanksgiving dinner on the Thursday?

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fwsr Oct 26, 2009 02:06 PM

I have a restaurant in a Canadian city with a fairly large American population, and I was thinking of offering traditional Turkey dinner for American thanksgiving. I did a little research and it looks like Americans only have turkey dinner on the Thursday, unlike Canadians who have it either the Sunday or the Monday.

Is this generally true?

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  1. Karl S RE: fwsr Oct 26, 2009 02:24 PM

    Generallly BUT (1) odd work schedules can mean some families have to gather on one of the other weekend days and transfer the feast, and (2) large families can mean extended clans extend the feast over the weekend days. That's not common, but it does happen.

    1. NYCkaren RE: fwsr Oct 26, 2009 02:53 PM

      Right. The idea is that it's Thursday. I sometimes have a big dinner on a different day because of visitation issues with my daughter or the like, but the only real Thanksgiving is the fourth Thursday in November.

      1. q
        queencru RE: fwsr Oct 26, 2009 03:05 PM

        That's true, although I've been in situations where we celebrated the Saturday or Sunday before when I'm abroad because no one had Thursday off to celebrate/prepare that day.

        1. Cherylptw RE: fwsr Oct 26, 2009 04:27 PM

          The holiday is on the Thursday, but sometimes it's a three day celebration....it's common for people to usually eat leftover turkey on that Friday but by Saturday, they are not looking to go out to eat turkey!

          1. a
            akq RE: fwsr Oct 26, 2009 04:32 PM

            Like any holiday, you can celebrate on whatever day works for your family, but the "real" day is Thursday. Note that many (most?) Americans eat an early dinner/late lunch for T-giving, but if they don't have the day off in Canada, I guess dinner would make more sense.

            1. f
              FrankD RE: fwsr Oct 26, 2009 11:07 PM

              In the US of A, Thursday is generally reserved for the family feast and football. As any husband can tell you, Friday is for SHOPPING. And I don't mean Friday at 8 am, or 9 am - I mean Friday at 12:00 AM. At many malls (especially outlet malls) there are lineups literally miles long just to get in the parking lots. When the women return home, there's absolutely no way they are interested in firing up a stove. Hence the general over-abundance of food on Thursday, which leads to quick and easy meals from the copious leftovers on Friday. (Even the most clueless of males can usually assemble a turkey, lettuce, mayo, and cranberry sandwich - stuffing optional.)

              If the mods will let me be a bit cynical, by Saturday, most families I know are tired of being in each others' constant company since some time Wednesday night, so people tend to split up and go their own ways during the day, meeting for a last dinner on Saturday that features ANYTHING but turkey. Sunday is a travel day, so the likelihood of gathering everyone together then is slim.

              4 Replies
              1. re: FrankD
                coll RE: FrankD Oct 31, 2009 08:25 AM

                Isn't Midnight Madness sort of a new concept? We always ate leftovers all weekend, back in the days when shopping wasn't such an addiction.

                1. re: FrankD
                  d
                  dingey RE: FrankD Nov 18, 2010 06:16 AM

                  Ah, but there are some families where neither shopping nor football hold any particular interest. I thank my lucky stars to be from one of them. ;) Leaves more time for eating and napping.

                  1. re: dingey
                    j
                    jujuthomas RE: dingey Nov 18, 2010 10:31 AM

                    I don't shop on Friday either - and I think the folks who do are NUTS! ;)
                    we'll be doing our usual 2 feast thanksgiving, one in our home, one at my grandmother's. I can't wait.

                  2. re: FrankD
                    m
                    mpjmph RE: FrankD Nov 18, 2010 12:20 PM

                    In my family we eat the big meal around 3pm, then visit and graze through the wee hours. On Friday wait until mid-morning to go shopping (after the truly crazy are done), and leave the men to fend for themselves with leftovers while the women go out for lunch. Dinner is a free for all of leftovers, with the goal of finishing everything by Saturday morning, then everyone hits the road for home before lunch. We're a basketball family, so we watch our fair share of ESPN over the holiday :)

                  3. p
                    pemma RE: fwsr Oct 27, 2009 10:35 AM

                    It's definitely only on the Thursday, unless there are unusual circumstances for the family. Just about everybody has Thursday off and a lot of people have Friday off, too.

                    But, if I were an American in Canada and didn't have Thursday off I could see switching the celebration to the weekend. I think if I were you I would plan on serving a Thanksgiving dinner on the weekend. But, you might want to query your American customers and see what they say.

                    1. j
                      jujuthomas RE: fwsr Oct 27, 2009 10:58 AM

                      i actually get 2-3 thanksgivings, thanks to extended family. This year for example, DH and I will go to the In-laws in DE on Thursday. On Friday we will head to upstate NY to my mothers, where we will probably help consume her leftovers. Then Saturday we head to my grandmother's where we have a huge feast with all the cousins/aunts/uncles.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: jujuthomas
                        Will Owen RE: jujuthomas Oct 28, 2009 04:45 PM

                        We have just the two, thank God, Thursday at our house and Friday at my niece's place in San Diego. Reason for that is my brother (in Nashville) long ago discovered that cheap flights abound on Thanksgiving Day, so that's when he flies out to SD. I enjoy it a lot, since Thursday's feast is one I cook most of, while Friday's (done mostly by Marie Callender, if you must know), for me is just eating, drinking (in much greater moderation!) and driving.

                      2. r
                        Rick RE: fwsr Oct 27, 2009 01:59 PM

                        THE day is Thursday. If you offer it on Friday, Sat., or Sun. don't expect many if any American customers.

                        1. Jen76 RE: fwsr Oct 27, 2009 02:51 PM

                          I would also agree that Thursday is THE day. Even people who don't have Thanksgiving day off will often make special arrangements to still eat dinner with the family that day. My husband always used to work on Thanksgiving day. He got off earlier, so we just ate later. A friend whose mom always works Thanksgiving night has brunch with the whole family present, though they do go out to a restaurant that serves the traditional turkey and fixins.

                          1. paulj RE: fwsr Oct 27, 2009 03:24 PM

                            Most Americans only eat the big dinner - turkey with all the fixings - on Thursday, but they also only eat that at home or with family or friends. Eating it at a restaurant is not common, though full service groceries advertise full meals-to-go. Those who don't or can't cook the big meal themselves, increasingly have the option of buying many or all the components premade, ready to be warmed and served at home.

                            However it is not hard to find restaurants that sell some of the Thanksgiving items at this time of the year. For example, a turkey dinner, with slices of turkey served over a ball of stuffing, topped with gravy, a side of mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce.

                            I don't think many Americans would think "Since we can't travel to Grandma's house this year, let's see if we can find a restaurant that serves the same sort feast." But they might be more interested in ordering some Thanksgiving related items in the week or sort around the holiday.

                            I did not find it at all odd some years ago to eat at a museum cafeteria in Alberta around the middle of October, and find turkey like this on the menu. It was only after eating the meal that I remembered it was the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend.

                            10 Replies
                            1. re: paulj
                              paulj RE: paulj Oct 27, 2009 04:19 PM

                              Come to think of it, roast turkey to go is nothing new. Stuart McLean pioneered the idea some years ago (Dave cooks the Turkey story).

                              1. re: paulj
                                Karl S RE: paulj Oct 27, 2009 04:49 PM

                                Eating Thanksgiving dinner at restaurants is actually not uncommon. The traditional meal is well tuned to restaurant fare, especially a prixe fixe deal. Most restaurants that offer it are packed to the gills; I would say that demand is probably greater than the supply. It's probably one of two major restaurant holiday meals that is likely to be better than average (the other being Christmas), as compared to the dreaded Valentine's Day and Mother's Day. Part of this has to do with (1) traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas foods lend themselves well to catering, and (2) families are often grateful a restaurant is willing to be open and do the work from them on these days, so they can avoid meltdowns at home, and thus people are a bit better behaved than you might imagine they would be.

                                1. re: paulj
                                  r
                                  Rick RE: paulj Oct 27, 2009 05:08 PM

                                  Sorry, but I disagree paulj. Each year several people that I know, for various reasons, have Thanksgiving at a restaurant. Sometimes just too many people are in from out of town so they go to a restaurant, the person who normally makes it is sick, so they go to a restaurant, they are out of town so go to a restaurant. I particularly disagree with your third paragraph, I think that would be a big reason to go out to dinner on Thanksgiving.

                                  1. re: Rick
                                    paulj RE: Rick Oct 27, 2009 05:18 PM

                                    I must be frequenting the wrong type of restaurant. One of the few holiday restaurant meals that I've had was on Christmas eve, at a Chinese place. :)

                                    Would restaurants connected with hotels be more likely to offer this type of meal, than say, 'family restaurants'?

                                    1. re: paulj
                                      r
                                      Rick RE: paulj Oct 27, 2009 07:25 PM

                                      I'm not sure, never been to a restaurant for Thanksgiving myself. It's just a whole lot more common that you may think.

                                      1. re: Rick
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                                        jujuthomas RE: Rick Oct 29, 2009 07:17 AM

                                        Even my local diner offers a Thanksgiving day take-out meal. They close early that day so the staff can be with their families. We go over for breakfast and see lots of people with big carry out bags with their turkey and trimmings.

                                      2. re: paulj
                                        Karl S RE: paulj Oct 28, 2009 02:34 AM

                                        Hotels, certainly, but hardly that. In the urban parts of the Northeast, many restaurants are open for these holidays. Not a majority, to be sure, but not a small fraction either.

                                    2. re: paulj
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                                      akq RE: paulj Oct 28, 2009 06:30 PM

                                      Not being a big fan of turkey, I prefer going to a Thanksgiving buffet than cooking at home. That way I get to have my obligatory bite o' turkey and can then turn my attention to the crab legs (in Seattle) and prime rib. Lots of restaurants do Thanksgiving meals here, many buffets, and most book up EARLY. It was always too stressful trying to cook a whole Thanksgiving meal in my tiny college and grad school apartment kitchens...

                                      1. re: paulj
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                                        beachmouse RE: paulj Oct 29, 2009 07:32 AM

                                        I live in an area that's one part military base and one part resort area. It's relatively common to see restaurants have Thanksgiving buffets down here. The question is whether you want kind of a generic American spread or one that has more of a Southern or Cajun/Creole vibe to it.

                                        If you want to do a wink and nudge at American T-day and have rotating specials on the menu, the rest of Thanksgiving weekend is usually leftovers until you get sick of them. (Pizza Hut ran an ad about that for years) If you slipped a turkey noodle soup, or roast turkey and dried cranberry salad on the menu the rest of the weekend, the south of the border crew would probably get the joke.

                                        1. re: beachmouse
                                          paulj RE: beachmouse Oct 29, 2009 08:48 AM

                                          Don't forget the turkey sandwiches with slices of canned cranberry sauce (the jelly stuff). :)

                                      2. j
                                        Jcohen552003 RE: fwsr Oct 27, 2009 04:38 PM

                                        Many years ago in the late70's and early 80's my aunt who never cooked use to take the whole family (about 25 people) out for Thanksgiving dinner. She would take every one to a place that has gone out of business. It was called Cookies Steak Pub. There was one out on Long Island and another in Yonkers.
                                        There claim to fame was there salad bar with fresh peel your own shrimp, home made soups and all the salads you could think of. Then they would serve a small 1/2 turkey with all the dressing and sides to every diner. Then the desert.
                                        Almost every one had the turkey and side packed up to go. So we all had turkey the day after.
                                        But i must say the went out of business in the late 80's and most of the family has since passed. But what memories.

                                        6 Replies
                                        1. re: Jcohen552003
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                                          chaz RE: Jcohen552003 Oct 27, 2009 07:38 PM

                                          Whoa. Cookies Steak Pub. I believe it started in Camden NJ in the 50's. There was one on Queens Blvd. in Kew Gardens, and one in the Whitman Mall in Huntington, LI. And we thought that a quarter of a head of iceberg lettuce w/ about 6 possible dressings served in one of those things you dont see anymore w/ the little stainless steel bowls on a rotating thingie was the height of eating. And the shrimp. A person could eat 50-100 and nobody would question it. Didnt they have a dessert bar?

                                          1. re: chaz
                                            coll RE: chaz Oct 31, 2009 09:31 AM

                                            I believe there was one in Hempstead too. I used to always get something like Lobster Thermidore or Coquille St Jacques (don't remember exactly) but it felt fancy to me at the time. Actually I still see those salad dressing servers at an place in Patchogue, which is also an all you can eat but also drink (beer or wine) so I guess it's part of that theme.

                                            1. re: coll
                                              m
                                              MrsT RE: coll Nov 18, 2010 09:36 AM

                                              There was on in Brooklyn and in Staten Island. I think the one in Brooklyn was at Kings Plaza. My grandparents always went there. I always wanted to go with them. I never had the chance. From what I remember it sounded like a Beefsteak Charlie's (remember them?), with the all you can eat shrimp and salad bar. The one in Kings Plaza became a ChiChi's, then a Red Robin, after that Redheads, now it's an H & M.

                                            2. re: chaz
                                              r
                                              ragazzis RE: chaz Jul 2, 2012 11:00 PM

                                              Cooky's Started in the 50's on ave J in Brooklyn and branched out over the years in Brooklyn, Queens, Yonkers, Staten Island with several in Long Island and even in New Rochelle once apon a time.

                                            3. re: Jcohen552003
                                              r
                                              ragazzis RE: Jcohen552003 Jul 2, 2012 10:48 PM

                                              Worked for Cooky's for over 20 years, started as a cook in Yonkers and managed Yonkers and 9 other locations over the years. Yes the food and the memories were the best! I was with Cooky's to the end. We closed Hicksville of 1993.

                                              1. re: ragazzis
                                                PHREDDY RE: ragazzis Aug 15, 2012 02:16 PM

                                                Wow guys!!!!! what a blast from the past....completely forgot about Cooky's...I would bring dates there in the 70's when i lived at the Forest Hills Inn....down stairs there was a Stteak and Brew , which became Beefsteak Charlies....

                                            4. i
                                              irishnyc RE: fwsr Oct 27, 2009 05:31 PM

                                              Generally Thrusday, but in my family if one particular aunt isn't the host, she makes the whole deal on Friday and we eat it all over again. Yum. I also cook a downsized version of it a few times a year.

                                              1. f
                                                fwsr RE: fwsr Oct 28, 2009 10:01 AM

                                                Thanks everyone for the info, you were very helpful. I think I'll run it on the Thursday and see how it goes.

                                                1. Midlife RE: fwsr Oct 30, 2009 12:32 AM

                                                  My first reaction to this question was to say "Um............... well................... Thanksgiving Day is the 4th Thursday in November, so.............. YES.............. the Thanksgiving meal is generally eaten on that day. If it were eaten on any other day it wouldn't really be the Thanksgiving meal, would it. Unless specific family situations caused the celebratory meal to be enjoyed on a different day, that would be the way it is."

                                                  After thinking about it, though, I'm now very curious as to why it's different in Canada. The official Canadian Thanksgiving (at least according to Wikipedia) is the 2nd Monday in October, so how is it that Canadians have their holiday gathering on EITHER Sunday or Monday (or even Saturday)??? Is this possibly a function of the holiday being immediately adjacent to the weekend, instead of separated by Friday (as in the US)? Has the Monday always been generally a day off in Canada? If not, perhaps that's why it is often celebrated on Sunday?

                                                  14 Replies
                                                  1. re: Midlife
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                                                    FrankD RE: Midlife Oct 30, 2009 01:47 AM

                                                    First, as has often been said, we Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving earlier because we have so much less to be thankful for. ;}

                                                    Generally, Thanksgiving is much more of a big deal in the US than it is in Canada. (See, for example, Barry Levinson's "Avalon" - a wonderful movie whose tag line "You cut the toikey?! You cut the toikey!!!" still resonates.) Citing another movie, no one would ever make "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles" in Canada. And there's definitely no huge shopping day like Black Friday in the US.

                                                    Some families like to have Canadian Thanksgiving on Sunday - it gives people who traveled a chance to rest up from Friday/Saturday, and lets them get out early on Monday. But, if your family is relatively close (geographically), the Monday makes a nice change of pace. Also, the Canadian Football League, in one of their more inspired moments, has back to back games on the Monday, giving Canadian fans a heads up on the Grey Cup (our version of the Super Bowl.

                                                    In modern times, Thanksgiving has always been a Monday off, so most of us plan around it. However, since most of Canada is nominally Christian, Thanksgiving is not the "pan-holiday" it is the US; we save it for Christmas.

                                                    1. re: Midlife
                                                      f
                                                      fwsr RE: Midlife Oct 30, 2009 09:51 AM

                                                      LOL! The real reason Thanksgiving is earlier in Canada is the shorter growing season - the harvest is usually complete the end of September. By the end of November most parts of Canada have had a least one snowfall.

                                                      And because the holiday is on Monday and people have to work the next day a lot of people (2/3, from what I can see) have the thanksgiving dinner on the Sunday night. It will be interesting to see if Americans here will come out for Thanksgiving turkey when they have to work the next day.

                                                      1. re: fwsr
                                                        Karl S RE: fwsr Oct 30, 2009 10:13 AM

                                                        What's interesting is that the day after Thanksgiving is not a governmental holiday in the USA. Many private companies give it as a holiday in exchange for a minor national holiday like Columbus Day or Veteran's (Armistice/Remembrance) Day. But many don't. Stock markets and banks are open, so the considerable number of Americans in financial services don't have it as a holiday; of course, neither do retailers, as it is their most important day of the year. Thus, many people work, but many don't. I've worked my share of those Fridays, after cooking and serving a feast the night before.

                                                        Easter, btw, is somewhat similar in this regard: Easter Monday is not a holiday in the US. The only people who get it off are in the Virgin Islands and, if Easter falls the day before the 3rd Monday in April, people in Massachusetts, which celebrates Patriot's Day (the running of the Boston Marathon coincides with that celebration) as the start of the American Revolution in 1775.

                                                        New Year's Day used to be like this: in the past generation, the celebration has largely shifted to the Eve, but it used to be customary to have a big feast on the Day, and to go visiting relatives and have open houses and what not. The next day was not a holiday.

                                                        1. re: Karl S
                                                          DockPotato RE: Karl S Oct 30, 2009 04:35 PM

                                                          What a lack of special holidays! What a sad comment on those special days.

                                                          Move here, Karl.

                                                          Canadian Football is a better game.

                                                          1. re: DockPotato
                                                            Karl S RE: DockPotato Oct 30, 2009 05:01 PM

                                                            Hey, here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, it looks like they may finally get rid of Evacuation Day and Bunker Hill Day as local holidays for Boston.

                                                            1. re: DockPotato
                                                              paulj RE: DockPotato Oct 30, 2009 05:48 PM

                                                              Canadians are required by law to have one long weekend each month, aren't they?
                                                              Victoria Day, Canada Day, August-filler day, Labour Day, etc.

                                                              1. re: paulj
                                                                f
                                                                FrankD RE: paulj Oct 30, 2009 08:16 PM

                                                                Umm.. November?February? March/April (Easter only comes once a year!), and June? As many have pointed out elsewhere, if Easter occurs late in April, we go from New Years to Easter without a single holiday during the depth of our winter. Canadian sado-masochism or what?!

                                                                1. re: FrankD
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                                                                  queencru RE: FrankD Oct 30, 2009 08:29 PM

                                                                  That's still better than the US where many people in the private sector don't get anything from 1/1 to the last week of May. I've never worked anywhere that gave President's Day or MLK off. You might be lucky to get half of Good Friday off, but that was rare and usually unexpected.

                                                                  1. re: queencru
                                                                    LindaWhit RE: queencru Oct 31, 2009 10:55 AM

                                                                    Whereas all the companies I've worked at give Presidents' Day off, but not MLK, and I don't recall having Good Friday off ever in all states that I've worked in. Not having anything between 1/1 and Memorial Day would be killer.

                                                                    The Evacuation Day (3/17) and Bunker Hill Day (6/17) holidays for Suffolk County should definitely be abolished. Of course, those that have it said on the news they understand its needed for cost savings, but don't want to give it up "because I like having the day off."

                                                                  2. re: FrankD
                                                                    Davwud RE: FrankD Oct 31, 2009 07:16 AM

                                                                    In Ontario we get 1 in Jan. 1 in Feb. 1 in Mar/Apl. 1 in May. 1 in July. 1 in Aug. 1 in Sep. 1 in Oct. and 2 in Dec.

                                                                    Not all get the one in Feb. but they're supposed to.

                                                                    DT

                                                                2. re: DockPotato
                                                                  b
                                                                  betsydiver RE: DockPotato Nov 2, 2012 11:25 AM

                                                                  that's why i invented the mid winter blow out the blues party usually in feb. basically an open house with everybody i know! once i had a guest come ftrom columbia, md to upstate ny for this infamous pArty!

                                                                3. re: Karl S
                                                                  LindaWhit RE: Karl S Oct 31, 2009 10:52 AM

                                                                  and, if Easter falls the day before the 3rd Monday in April, people in Massachusetts, which celebrates Patriot's Day (the running of the Boston Marathon coincides with that celebration) as the start of the American Revolution in 1775.
                                                                  ~~~~~~~
                                                                  Well, I've lived here for 20 years, working in both Middlesex and Essex Counties, and none of the companies I've worked for give Patriots' Day as a holiday. State, county and municipal offices are closed, but not federal offices, and I'd say many if not most companies outside of the immediate Boston area remain open.

                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                    Karl S RE: LindaWhit Oct 31, 2009 12:40 PM

                                                                    Right: closing within the Boston area makes sense because of the myriad road closures due to Revolutionary War re-enactments and the Marathon.

                                                                4. re: fwsr
                                                                  Will Owen RE: fwsr Nov 19, 2010 12:21 PM

                                                                  "LOL! The real reason Thanksgiving is earlier in Canada is the shorter growing season - the harvest is usually complete the end of September. By the end of November most parts of Canada have had a least one snowfall."

                                                                  A-HEM. In my youth, we in middle Illinois had more than likely had at least one snowfall by late November. In fact, I remember one year we made an unusually long trip to the farm of an aunt and uncle near Eureka, and drove through a snow-covered landscape all the way. I also remember that many of the Thanksgiving illustrations of Pilgrims showed them walking through the snow, though when they got to the feast table those were all miraculously snow-free, though invariably set outdoors.

                                                              2. GretchenS RE: fwsr Oct 30, 2009 11:00 AM

                                                                When I lived outside London for several years, many local restaurants/pubs had either traditional Thanksgiving dinners or Thanksgiving-y versions of things (turkey and cranberry meat pie, for example) the whole week of Thanksgiving. Very popular with all the American ex-pats I knew.

                                                                1. Davwud RE: fwsr Oct 30, 2009 11:21 AM

                                                                  I'd do it on Thursday. I'd have some TV's ready with football as well. Advertise it for the Expats who can't make it back home.

                                                                  If there's lots of leftovers, hot turkey sandwiches are the special of the day for Friday and Saturday.

                                                                  DT

                                                                  1. rockandroller1 RE: fwsr Nov 18, 2010 11:38 AM

                                                                    We always have it on Friday, almost always have. The grocery stores are open in case you need to run out for something (and aren't that busy as most people are at the mall) and most people have it off work so we've never had any problems with attendance. This allows us freedom on thursday to prep/cook instead of having to rush around, and also to attend others' thanksgiving celebrations without missing out on our "foodie" favorites, which we make for our own thanksgiving on friday. I highly recommend it.

                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                    1. re: rockandroller1
                                                                      gaffk RE: rockandroller1 Nov 18, 2010 01:28 PM

                                                                      Too late for this year, but I may suggest that for next year. I always dread the Wednesday before Thanksgiving . . .rushing around after work to prepare for the big day.

                                                                      1. re: rockandroller1
                                                                        Will Owen RE: rockandroller1 Nov 18, 2010 05:15 PM

                                                                        Well, here in sunny SoCal almost every grocery store is open regular hours, a few being open until 5 pm or so. The ones that are closed all day are the oddballs, and it's the same for Christmas. In spite of that, the stores are slammed the days before both holidays! Is a puzzlement...

                                                                        1. re: Will Owen
                                                                          Will Owen RE: Will Owen Nov 21, 2010 05:22 PM

                                                                          I misspoke - getting old, memory's going, yada yada - most of the supermarkets close at 6 pm or thereabouts so that the workers can return to their hovels in time for their meagre feasts. I guess that's why traffic is so heavy there most of the day. I intend to have all my stuff bought Wednesday, but you never know …

                                                                        2. re: rockandroller1
                                                                          deet13 RE: rockandroller1 Nov 18, 2010 06:09 PM

                                                                          Same here. My family members are geographically spread across the US, and some are in other countries, so they typically run into issues coming back home to Florida. Normally everyone usually arrives by Thursday afternoon, so we do a small meal Thursday evening.

                                                                          On Thursday morning my cousins, my brother, and I usually get up early and go fishing, run crab-trap lines, heat up the kettles for cooking (boil the crabs, and fry the fish/hushpuppies), and have everything else (the turkey/pork and all the rest) ready to eat by Friday afternoon.

                                                                        3. Jasz RE: fwsr Nov 18, 2010 09:45 PM

                                                                          I'm asking this in all sincerity, no offence intended, seeking information: why Thursday? It seems an odd choice to have a major holiday in the middle of a work-week, something like this year when our Remembrance Day fell on a Thursday, we had the day off and then had to return Friday. A Friday or Monday just seems to make more sense to me. Is there a, possibly historical, reason that Thursday was chosen?

                                                                          9 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Jasz
                                                                            gaffk RE: Jasz Nov 19, 2010 05:12 AM

                                                                            During the Civil War, President Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November should be a day of thanks giving. Guess no president since has seen fit to change it. I think the majority of (non-retail) businesses close on the Friday as well.

                                                                            1. re: Jasz
                                                                              m
                                                                              mpjmph RE: Jasz Nov 19, 2010 06:02 AM

                                                                              As gaffk said, the modern celebration has always been on Thursday. I think a lot of people like having it on Thursday b/c most (non-retail) businesses and offices are closed on Friday as well. It makes it easier to really slow down and gives people more time to travel and visit.

                                                                              Our Veteran's Day is the same as your Remembrance Day, always 11/11 because it is tied to the end of WWI. We have a pretty even split of national holidays that occur on a specific date regardless of the day of the week and others that are always on a Monday close in time date/event observed.

                                                                              1. re: mpjmph
                                                                                coll RE: mpjmph Nov 19, 2010 06:06 AM

                                                                                Holidays used to be celebrated on the day they fell on, not on Mondays...although I was a tiny little toddler then, so hopefully I'm remembering correctly. At some point, they moved everything (except Thanksgiving and Christmas and a couple of other big ones) to a Monday for the convenience of someone or other.

                                                                                1. re: coll
                                                                                  gaffk RE: coll Nov 19, 2010 06:22 AM

                                                                                  For the convenience of a three day weekend I suspect.

                                                                                  1. re: coll
                                                                                    m
                                                                                    mpjmph RE: coll Nov 19, 2010 09:44 AM

                                                                                    From the internets... there was a push to move holidays to Mondays in the 60s and 70s, with the intent of giving workers more 3 day weekends. Some holidays got to keep their mid-week and date specific timing, presumably because they day/date is too significant to mess with.

                                                                                    1. re: mpjmph
                                                                                      coll RE: mpjmph Nov 19, 2010 01:35 PM

                                                                                      That's how I remember it, and the timing is right. But it seems only schools and civil service get the three day weekend, the rest of us just get lighter traffic.

                                                                                2. re: Jasz
                                                                                  paulj RE: Jasz Nov 19, 2010 01:27 PM

                                                                                  The Canadian Thanksgiving has been fixed at the 2nd monday of October (roughly the US Columbus Day) only since 1957.

                                                                                  1. re: Jasz
                                                                                    f
                                                                                    foiegras RE: Jasz Jul 3, 2012 08:52 PM

                                                                                    Friday is normally always a holiday as well. And if the holiday calendar should fall short, people schedule vacation to correct the deficiency.

                                                                                    1. re: Jasz
                                                                                      KaimukiMan RE: Jasz Oct 25, 2012 01:22 PM

                                                                                      We don't know when the first thanksgiving was, just that it was in the fall (sometime around the end of September or as late as early November.) President George Washington proclaimed Thursday November 26, 1789 as thanksgiving that year, but as gaffk said, a formal national day of thanksgiving wasn't established until Lincoln in 1863, and he set it as the last Thursday in November. In the late 1930's president Roosevelt tried to move it to the third Thursday that year to give more shopping days before Christmas. That didn't work out too well, and finally in December of 1941 the US Congress declared the fourth Thursday of November as Thanksgiving (giving everyone a year to plan ahead, although there were a lot of calendars printed with the other dates.)

                                                                                    2. sunshine842 RE: fwsr Nov 19, 2010 09:53 AM

                                                                                      Americans IN the US do primarily have their celebration on the fourth Thursday of November (it's the fourth, by the way, not the last -- although it usually works out that way)

                                                                                      BUT Americans working outside the US celebrate on the Saturday, as we all have to work/go to school on Thursday.

                                                                                      There are a few places serving a Thanksgiving dinner in Paris on the Thursday, but the companies selling American groceries told me this week that most of the expats have their meal on the Saturday.

                                                                                      1. Bill Hunt RE: fwsr Jul 3, 2012 07:11 PM

                                                                                        Last year, we had Thanksgiving in July.

                                                                                        We have great friends, who live 1200 miles away. For almost 20 years, we had Thanksgiving with them, but we moved. Our schedules are tough, and their's are just as bad. We wanted to get back together, so made the plans. Getting a fresh turkey in Denver, in July, was a bit of a task, but everyone made it, and the gathering was great.

                                                                                        Hunt

                                                                                        1. a
                                                                                          ahuva RE: fwsr Jul 3, 2012 07:34 PM

                                                                                          My dad's in the food business and was usually busy on Thanksgiving day so in our family, growing up, turkey-cranberry relish-sweet potatoes-green beans were dinner on Thanksgiving Friday!

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: ahuva
                                                                                            sunshine842 RE: ahuva Jul 4, 2012 12:25 AM

                                                                                            and family traveling from afar can also shift things around -- young marrieds often spend Thanksgiving with her family, and the day after (or Saturday) with his family, and then switch it the following year.

                                                                                          2. f
                                                                                            foiegras RE: fwsr Jul 3, 2012 08:49 PM

                                                                                            Yes, and I believe people would only be looking for a restaurant meal on the day (although lots of cafeterias and restaurants here serve turkey and trimmings in the days/weeks leading up to Thanksgiving for those who just can't get enough). It's common for a Thanksgiving meal to be served at work on maybe the Friday before, or whenever they think a significant number of people will still be around to eat it.

                                                                                            I have celebrated Thanksgiving with family on Thursday and friends on Friday before, or something like that ... but those were home-cooked meals.

                                                                                            1. Disneyfreak RE: fwsr Jul 6, 2012 09:28 AM

                                                                                              My family has had a second Thanksgiving celebration over the Thanksgiving weekend. It was an excuse to get the family together -- on those years when people were busy with other families on the actual day of Thanksgiving.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: Disneyfreak
                                                                                                njmarshall55 RE: Disneyfreak Aug 15, 2012 09:50 AM

                                                                                                My family used to do that. Made it alot less pressure to get to two families over the holidays.

                                                                                              2. t
                                                                                                tardigrade RE: fwsr Aug 15, 2012 07:17 PM

                                                                                                I do my big Thanksgiving dinner on the Saturday after Thanksgiving because
                                                                                                -when Mr. Tardigrade and I were both working it was too difficult to prepare a large dinner when we didn't get home until 7 the night before
                                                                                                the grocery stores aren't as crowded on Friday in case we need any last-minute items
                                                                                                -we can invite friends who may have family commitments on Thursdays
                                                                                                -it's sort of our anniversary, since we started going together the Saturday after Thanksgiving years ago

                                                                                                1. s
                                                                                                  sueatmo RE: fwsr Aug 19, 2012 02:29 PM

                                                                                                  It is not unusual to have large communal Thanksgiving dinners a week before the actual holiday. If you offered an old fashioned turkey dinner for a week or so before, many American ex pats might enjoy it, especially if you are closed on that date. Another option is to offer takeout Thanksgiving foods for your customers. Many markets in the U.S. offer these now; families often eat this so all can watch football together. (So I'm told.) I often bought the cranberry salad offered at our local market to add to my own dinner. This is not an unusual practice.

                                                                                                  If you offer a Thanksgiving dinner for groups on the date of Thanksgiving you might get some takers, but I don't know the market well enough to be confident of that. In the U.S. hotels and some restaurants offer special dinners on that day.

                                                                                                  1. j
                                                                                                    JudiAU RE: fwsr Aug 24, 2012 03:25 PM

                                                                                                    Most people eat the traditional dinner on Thursday but some families schedule it otherwise becaue of work, travel, or other family commitments. I generally attend one the week before with my family and one on the day of with my husband's family.

                                                                                                    1. l
                                                                                                      LindyCindy RE: fwsr Aug 24, 2012 03:48 PM

                                                                                                      It's basically a 4 day weekend and in my large, extended family Thurs., Fri. Sat. or Sunday is game for Thanksgiving dinner.

                                                                                                      1. t
                                                                                                        tardigrade RE: fwsr Oct 25, 2012 10:31 PM

                                                                                                        I do my big dinner on Saturday because 1) it was more convenient when I was working, 2) it's less hectic having a couple of free days to prepare, and 3) Mr. Tardigrade and I started going together the Saturday after Thanksgiving one year so it's our sorta anniversary.

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