Is Thanksgiving a bigger deal than Christmas in the USA?

Especially for children, Christmas kicks Thanksgiving’s butt. Christmas takes one look at Thanksgiving, and Thanksgiving goes back to its corner, lies down, and dies. Why? Because Christmas means presents. The anticipation and excitement of receiving several mysterious gifts, a number of which will probably delight the kid, should not be underestimated.

As adults, we become more aware of the costs and hassles, and if we’re devout Christians the religious aspect takes on more importance. But most of us still remember how we felt about it when we were kids.

I never hear about anyone getting into the Thanksgiving spirit. Although I kind of do.


Brainiac4 is in ecommerce. The website never closes. Thanksgiving and the day after Thanksgiving are their two biggest days. He ALWAYS ends up working those two days - and usually Christmas Eve as well…although he does it from home (or where ever we are) armed with a laptop and a cell phone.

He also doesn’t take time off between Christmas and New Years because people are shopping for bargains.

My company likes to gift me with a lot of mandatory time off around Thanksgiving and Christmas because “your families are home anyway” - so the kids and I get our holidays without their dad.

To make things more complicated, my sister and her husband are both hospital nurses - they don’t get holidays off either.

All we need is a cop in the family and we’d hit the trifecta for “having our holidays in January.”

And banking. Banks are open the Friday after.

As a former banker, I concur.

As a former movie theatre employee, we often didn’t even get Thanksgiving or Christmas off. And Easter is one of the biggest days of the year.

Also, there are a ton of Christmas movies out there. In fact every year brings out at least two or three big Christmas movies (and that’s just theatrical releases and not including all the straight-to-DVD and made-for-cable TV dreck that gets churned out this time of year). But the only Thanksgiving movies I can think of off the top of my head are “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” and “Pieces of April.”

Really it’s all part of the start of the year end “Holiday Season” starting at Labor Day, continuing throughf Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas/Hanukkah/other religeous holidays and ultimately ending on New Years Day.

It mostly involves stuffing your face and watching football.
Don’t forget this holiday classic!

Ha! I work in a library and the only day I get off is Thanksgiving itself. I work all day today and I work all day Friday. I don’t even get New Year’s Eve off.

While government workers get a lot of smaller holidays off (Columbus Day, Veteran’s Day, Martin Luther King Day), the days surrounding Thanksgiving and New Year’s aren’t considered holidays.

Not to mention TV specials. The only T-Day one I can think of is Charlie Brown, and even that is far outshined by the Charlie Brown Halloween and Christmas specials. And then we’ve got the Grinch, Rudolf, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, The Year Without a Santa Claus, Frosty, Nestor, 'Twas the Night, and a whole list of theatrical release movies that play every year.

To be fair, Thanksgiving has the Macy’s parade. But look how that always ends!

And the goddamned public library. Fuckers. (We’re closing at 5 today, which means I get to go home a half hour early. Thanks.)

ETA - we don’t get Veteran’s Day or Columbus Day or Confederate Memorial Day off, either. Just the biggest ones - Christmas day (plus some other days depending on where it falls in the week), Thanksgiving Day, New Year’s Day, MLK, Memorial Day, Easter, Independence Day, and Labor Day.

Thankgiving is our tribute to obesity. Christmas is our tribute to retail sales of durable goods.

The reason why I asked, because I know that Christmas is a bigger economic beast, is that it seems more de rigueur for family members to be together at Thanksgiving than at Christmas. Is my perception wrong?

Yes your perception is wrong.

Families get together on Christmas eve and day. You often have problems over who you visit. Husband’s or wife’s relatives. Often they split the day in half and visit both sides of the family. Christmas eve is also a big family event.

Often people visit one spouse’s family for Thanksgiving and one side for Christmas day. The people that get you for Thanksgiving day are getting you for the lesser important event.

The big family get together holidays are:

The big vacationing holidays are:
Forth of July
Memorial day
Labor day

I think it depends entirely on the circumstances. For me, it’s one or the other. It’s more important for me to be with my family on Christmas. It’s the more special holiday for us. Also, Thanksgiving sort of implies that I get 4 days with them, minus travel time. At Christmas I can choose my own vacation days and be as flexible as I want.

Ever heard of a little something called Black Friday?

Many families get together for both, but I guess at Christmas you’re more likely to have “Christmas Eve with his family, Christmas Dinner with my family, tree with our kids and nobody damned else this year…” There’s also a certain perception that Christmas is more about the kids, where as Thanksgiving is family as a whole.

ETA - and I don’t know anybody who goes home for Easter. Even I don’t go home for Easter and my parents live three miles away.

Culturally, Christmas is far bigger. But Thanksgiving is what Christmas would be without all the stress and commercialization, so in some ways for some people it’s a favorite holiday. It’s just about family & food, and there are few objections to either (of course there are exceptions).

I worked for many years in the HQ of a major retailer, and the day after Thanksgiving was mandatory all-hands-on-deck don’t dare ask for the day off work day. At my present employer it’s not a holiday, but everyone takes it off. So for those who choose to work, it’s a day spent playing solitaire.

Easter really varies from family to family, I think. I know some families who make it vitally important to be together and have an elaborate meal. I don’t even know what my family does for it anymore. It’s not worth travelling 1000 miles to be with them for one day. To me it’s just another Sunday.

I like being with people close to me on Thanksgiving, but if I’m alone, it’s no big deal. I don’t know if I could be alone on Christmas, though. I make sure that I’m with my family, or on rare occasions, my closest friends.

Easter is ham, and I HATE ham.

Eternity is two people and a five pound ham.

Did you feel guilty throwing out those last two pounds? I sure didn’t.