Unless you’re the type to get merry and bright before Turkey Day, the holiday season unofficially begins on Black Friday (or for some, the moment they’re done consuming all that pumpkin pie and mashed potatoes). But because the date of Thanksgiving is variable — it’s always the fourth Thursday in November, meaning it can fall anywhere between November 22 to 28 — the length of the Christmas season is as well.
Thanksgiving will fall on November 28 in 2019, so the number of days between Black Friday and December 25 is the fewest possible: 27.
Beyond leaving those who celebrate with fewer days to feel merry and bright, the shortened Christmas season can also be detrimental for retailers. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), “holiday sales represent about 20 percent of annual retail sales each year,” and this number can be higher for hobby, toy and game retailers.
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If shoppers wait until Black Friday to begin their Christmas shopping, there will be six fewer potential shopping days this year as compared to 2018, when Thanksgiving fell on the 22nd.
This could be to the advantage of shoppers, though. According to a survey from RetailMeNot, retailers are planning on offering deeper discounts on goods to make up for the lower number of shopping days.
Hanukkah shoppers will have a little more time than usual to get their presents in order. The Festival of Lights also has a variable date each year, as it’s determined by the Jewish lunar calendar. In 2019, it takes place rather late, from December 22 to 30.