From early fall many people Google ‘What day is Thanksgiving this year?’ and it can seem somewhat of a (literally) movable feast. This year, more people than normal might be questioning the date, as it falls unfeasibly late in the year, on November, 28. But as the team at Lifton Home Elevators discovered, the truth is there is a very historical reason that Thanksgiving is tardy this year – and we have one of our much-loved Presidents to thank for it.

The story dates all the way back to our 32nd president in 1939 when Franklin Roosevelt decided in the name of capitalism to give a boost to the Christmas shopping period. Since the time of Abraham Lincoln the national holiday had been celebrated on the last Thursday of the month. However, the 1939 calendar was unusual, according to TIME, as because the month started on a Wednesday, were five Thursdays rather than the usual four.

To address the fact that Thanksgiving would be exceptionally late, Roosevelt moved the date to the second-to-last Thursday of the month for that one year. The change proved to be unpopular with many people and Roosevelt addressed this negativity with a positive spin – the bonus that shop owners and merchants would benefit from the move by giving them more shopping time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and therefore encourage more people to spend more money. You could possibly say that in this way the concept of Black Friday was born 80 years ago.

The following year, 1940, the change stuck as the second-to-last Thursday making the official Thanksgiving Day the third Thursday in Nov, making it an especially early Thanksgiving on the 21st – although this appears to be unintentional. Roosevelt reportedly admitted in 1941 that the date switch in 1940 was a mistake, but because the calendars had already been printed with Thanksgiving as the third Thursday in November, it was too late to change the date back again.

To sort out the year’s confusion and uncertainty about Thanksgiving’s official date, Roosevelt finally made a permanent change. As 1941 came to a close he signed a bill declaring that Thanksgiving Day always falls on the fourth Thursday of November, whether or not it’s the last Thursday of the month.

This year, 2019, the month of November starts on a Friday, meaning that the fourth Thursday of the months falls just about as late as it can be on November 28. And if you’re thinking it’s not been this late for a while, you’d be right. Last time it was this late was 2013.

So if you have been counting down the days before you gather the family around the table to give thanks, whilst sharing around the turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie, now you know the history behind the date, and have a new Thanksgiving story to share with your loved ones.