Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanksgiving Time Shifting

For the last five years, Amber and I have traveled to either Jacksonville (even years) or Toledo (odd years) for Thanksgiving. Every year, we've left on Wednesday and come back on Sunday. Those two days also happen to be among the busiest travel days of the year, and as a result, those Thanksgiving drives are often my least favorite drives of the year. Normally we leave super early in the morning (between 1 and 4 AM), or take a circuitous route, to circumvent the worst of the traffic. But this year, we're doing something different, and way easier: we're leaving on Thursday and coming back on Monday, effectively "time shifting" Thanksgiving weekend back a day.

The reason Wednesday is such a busy travel day is because everyone feels the pressure to get to their destinations before Thanksgiving Day. And then, everyone heads back home at the last possible moment, which is Sunday, because for some reason nobody ever takes the following Monday off. Why is that? Is this like Christmas Creep, but for Thanksgiving? Back when I was a kid, Thanksgiving weekend started on Thursday, not Wednesday. Today, it is becoming more common for people to take off not just that Wednesday, but the entire week.

Well, the way we see it, it's kind of arbitrary. Instead of starting Thanksgiving weekend a day early, why not end it a day late? We can leave on Thursday morning and still get to Jacksonville a couple of hours before dinner. (Might be a different story when we go to Toledo, but we'll worry about that next year.) And, we'll get all of Sunday in Jacksonville, too. Regardless of whether we do Wednesday-Sunday or Thursday-Monday, I have to take the same amount of vacation time, and under both scenarios, everyone else is off from work the entire time we're there (except for Monday morning, but we're leaving first thing Monday morning anyway). And, most importantly, Thursday-Monday helps us avoid traffic. What's not to like?

Of course, the big assumption is that traffic won't be anywhere near as bad on Thursday/Monday as it is on Wednesday/Sunday. Having never driven on either of those days, I guess we'll have to see. You only need one big accident to mess everything up, right?

Happy Thanksgiving!

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