Is Thanksgiving 2019 a Federal Holiday?

Thanksgiving Drinking Games

Getty Spectators watch the 91st Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Thanksgiving falls on Thursday, November 28 this year. While it always occurs on the weekday, you have probably noticed that schools, government-run offices, and many other businesses are closed across the United States so that their employees can enjoy the holiday with paid time off. This is because Thanksgiving is a federal holiday, observed nationally.

The 10 federal holidays celebrated annually in the United States, in addition to Thanksgiving, New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday, George Washington’s birthday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, and Christmas Day.

Thanksgiving has been a federal holiday since 1941, and although it occurs on a different date each year, it always falls on the fourth Thursday in November. Next year, in 2020, it falls on November 26. In 2021, Thanksgiving will be celebrated on November 25.

Since Thanksgiving Is a Federal Holiday, Many Businesses Will Be Closed Giving Employees the Day Off

According to, on federal holidays including Thanksgiving, all non-essential government employees are off work and most government offices (including post offices) are closed. States and private companies are not required to observe federal holidays, but most state and local governments as well as many private businesses are also closed on these days.” Since it is a federal holiday, even though federal workers have the day off, they will still be paid for the day.

In addition to schools and government offices being closed, you will also find that the post office, delivery and sanitation services, and the stock market are closed for Thanksgiving Day.

While many private-sector employers give their employees the holiday off to spend with friends and family, there are some major exceptions due to the nature of the holiday. Expect that many restaurants and food delivery services will be open for business for those who opt not to cook their Thanksgiving dinner at home, and many local grocery stores will stay open for at least part of the day for last-minute shopping needs. And of course, Black Friday deals have bled over into the day before, with many starting on Thanksgiving evening, which requires retail employers to come into work on the holiday and into Friday, November 29.

Public transit employees will also likely have to work on Thanksgiving, to accommodate an influx in travelers using the holiday as an opportunity to go home or on vacation with their families.

In Celebration of the Holiday, There Is Plenty of Festive Activity & Entertainment to Enjoy

Just because Thanksgiving is a federal holiday, it doesn’t mean you’ll be without live entertainment to celebrate. Most famously, the Macys Thanksgiving Day parade will march through New York City, featuring Broadway and recording artist performances, celebrity appearances, and iconic pop-culture floats; if you are unable to watch the show in-person in New York City, it will be televised live on major networks.

In addition, Thanksgiving Day is a big day for the NFL. On the Thursday holiday, the Bears will play the Lions at 12:30pm, the Bills will play the Cowboys at 4:30pm, and the Saints will play the Falcons at 8:20pm.

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