This is How Thanksgiving Day Claimed Its Spot on the Calendar
How did the fourth Thursday in November get chosen as Thanksgiving Day every year? There is some very interesting history to it.
It's NOT necessarily always the "last" Thursday in November
There was a time when it was. Journal Now says that In 1789, George Washington unofficially proclaimed November 26 a "day of prayer and thanks." It was never a national holiday until 1863, when according to KCCI, via Delish, Abraham Lincoln made it one.
At that time, it actually was the last Thursday of November. President Ulysses S. Grant changed it to the third Thursday of the month in 1869, but believe it or not, in between the two came President Andrew Johnson, who made it the first Thursday of the month! Washington politicians not being able to settle on something, imagine that.
In 1939, President Roosevelt came along and changed it to what it is today: "the fourth Thursday in November". Congress was smart enough to sign a proclamation to make it official in 1941. Last year (and this year), that happened to be the last Thursday of November, but in some years, that's not the case (2018 most recently, when there was an extra Thursday).
There is also a retail connection
Many stores began trying to open on Thanksgiving Day itself in recent years, but that trend didn't last long. There's a long list of places that won't be available for your shopping needs on that day, including one that's always been a go-to.
Black Friday has changed significantly too, as brick-and-mortar stores keep closing, taking the "fun" or misery out of the thrill of the hunt for deals and discounts. They've extended the Black Friday tradition to months if not weeks and now most, if not all the shopping can be done from your couch.
According to Yahoo! News, the National Retail Dry Goods Association had a hand in all this. They wanted to extend the Christmas shopping season, so they pushed for the proclamation of a uniform day to hold Thanksgiving, leaving more time for you to go out and fight over X-Boxes.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!