I think there's been a cultural shift, a kind of repositioning of how things are perceived. An interesting thing has been happening over the last few years concerning Thanksgiving.
We already know that Christmas is no longer seen as the birthday of Jesus, but rather a giant commercial and economic opportunity for the consumer, the retailer, and the economy. Santa has replaced the manger. Frosty is the new Wise Man. Gold, frankincense and myrrh have been replaced by presents, vacations and gift cards. Essentially, it has become an incredible opportunity for money to change hands.
But recently, the "Christmas Season" (or rather the "buying season") has gradually expanded where it doesn't begin with the day after Thanksgiving, but now it includes Thanksgiving.
Yes, stores were open on Thanksgiving Day in the hopes that consumers would begin to spend their holiday dollars sooner, thus making sure that this will be a good year for business. "Black Friday" (the Friday following Thanksgiving where retailers hope to get into the black) expanded to include Thanksgiving Day (or should we go ahead and begin to call it Black Thursday to avoid the rush?).
Some major retailers required their employees to come in and work on Thanksgiving (did they pay them time-and-a-half?) so they could gather dollars sooner. And those who didn't open on Thursday opened early on Friday (most at 5:00 am, some at 4:00 am).
So when will it end? Will the gradual transformation of the "American Holiday" continue to expand and absorb all things sacred in its path?
Is Halloween next?