PORTLAND, Ore. ( TheStreet) -- Quickly, someone reunite the participants from charity-rock supergroup Band-Aid, get them in the studio and force them to bleat out a song for these troubled times: "Do They Know It's Thanksgiving?"
Kmart (owned by Sears (SHLD)), Toys R Us, Macy's (M), Kohl's (KSS), JC Penney (JCP) and Staples (SPLS) are among the retailers opening their doors for Black Friday-style sales this Thanksgiving. The Adobe Digital Index 2013 Online Shopping Forecast predicts record growth for online sales on Thanksgiving this year, up 21% to $1.1 billion, exceeding the 17% growth predicted for Black Friday itself.
Even on the 40th anniversary of its first airing in 1973, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is going to have the football yanked out from under it by the National Football league when it airs on ABC (DIS) on Thanksgiving night. The pigskin-headed Peanuts frontman has been scheduled at the same time as a Pittsburgh Steelers-Baltimore Ravens game on NBC (CMCSA), which should steal a whole lot of popcorn and buttered toast off of the animated special's plate.
Isn't there anybody who can tell us what Thanksgiving is all about?Don't start huffing about Plymouth Rock quite yet. The Pilgrims of Plymouth Plantation and the Wampanoeg tribe didn't have their first Thanksgiving celebration until 1621, by which time 16th Century Spanish settlers and the first settlers of the Commonwealth of Virginia had already beaten them to it. And don't drone on about the holiday's longstanding tradition that should somehow supersede the winter holidays, either. Abraham Lincoln only made it a holiday 150 years ago in an attempt to settle tensions between the North and South. Since the South had already seceded, it didn't have much use for Lincoln's little holiday until about 1870. We rarely even celebrate it on the day Lincoln dictated. While he wanted it on the final Thursday of November, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt changed it to the fourth Thursday of November back in 1939 to boost the economy a bit -- which is kind of odd considering all the wailing that occurs when someone even suggests shopping on that date today. In fact, when you extract all of the Christmas spending from the equation, Thanksgiving only brings in $7.8 billion, according to market research group IBISWorld. We say "only," because the Christmas holiday that everybody is in such a rush to get to brings in a whopping $69 billion.