While you’re basting your turkey, prepping your pies, and getting your Thanksgiving menu together, it might occur to you that Thanksgiving is a little later than usual this year. And you’d be right! (After all, “What day is Thanksgiving?” is always Googled around this time of year.) As it turns out, there’s a reason the holiday is arriving a little on the tardier side—and it’s downright historic. In fact, the story dates all the way back to 1939 when Franklin Roosevelt decided to shake up the tradition a bit in the name of capitalism.
Thanksgiving had been celebrated on the last Thursday of the month since the time of Abraham Lincoln. But, according to TIME, during 1939, the calendar had been unusual, as the month started on a Wednesday, so there were five Thursdays as opposed to four.
To restore some order, Roosevelt moved the national holiday to the second-to-last Thursday of the month (a change that many were unhappy with). Instead of focusing on the negative, Roosevelt attempted to justify his decision with a pro-shopping response: merchants would now have a holiday further from Christmas to allow for more shopping time. In a way, this birthed the consumer craze known as Black Friday nearly 80 years ago.