Thanksgiving: Home for the Holidays? - 351 responses

Nov 27, 2013

Thanksgiving has historically been viewed as one of two days in the year—with Christmas as the other—in which the majority of Americans could be expected to remain at home with their families. In recent years, however, Black Friday has cast an increasingly large shadow on Thanksgiving, as retailers scramble to entice those in search of the best deal. This year, the term “Gray Thursday” dawned in NH with many stores open for the first time on Thanksgiving itself, which literally ruffled the feathers of many people, including numerous Live Free or Die Alliance (LFDA) Facebook members. 

“Give people a chance to be with their families for crying out loud,” said one gentleman in response to our question on Facebook, “Should NH follow the lead of RI, MA and Maine and prohibit almost all businesses from being open on Thanksgiving?” In total, however, 56 percent of respondents felt legislation is not the answer, including this same gentleman.

“That said, I'm not for laws enforcing this,” he added.

Echoing sentiments expressed by many in the majority, one gentleman suggested an alternative, noting, “If you want retailers to stay closed on Thanksgiving, don't shop on Thanksgiving.”

While many on both sides acknowledged concern at the prospect that many individuals would now essentially be “forced” to work on Thanksgiving, majority opinion continued to reflect the notion that the issue should not be regulated by the government.

For those in the minority, 32 percent of total respondents, the increasingly commercial nature of Thanksgiving—and the demands it places on employees—invite government intervention. As one woman noted, “With 363 other days of the year to shop, why do we need to shop on Thanksgiving and Christmas? Close these two days of the year.”

For the majority, though, the real issue was to what extent it should be permissible to allow the government to dictate when a business must be closed. Several others expressed concern over exceptions to the ban, which would allow movie theaters, restaurants, pharmacies, gas stations and convenience stores to remain open. Despite stories covered in the press in which many claimed they would not shop this past Thanksgiving, fairly robust sales certainly counter such claims and add fire to an already heated debate.

In total, the LFDA received 351 citizen responses, including specific comments from 94 individuals supported by 223 concurrences. In addition to the aforementioned statistics, 12 percent of respondents did not offer a clear position.

The nonprofit, nonpartisan LFDA takes no position on this or any issue. Rather, we present this report as a summary of citizen testimony on this subject. As New Hampshire’s Virtual Town Hall, the LFDA, now numbering over 22,000, provides objective information on state issues, promotes the civil exchange of opinions, and communicates views to elected officials. To learn more about this issue or the LFDA, visit

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