"It was quite the heated dialogue here in our office," said Veronica King, vice president and Santa Rosa Market Manager for Bank of Marin, whose decision to work in banking was based in part on the ability to get holidays off, after missing family gatherings as a hospitality worker.
"It's a time you don't get back, and you can't make up for it," King said.
But family traditions take different shapes, and for many, heading out in the wee hours with coffee, credit cards and cousins in tow has become an annual ritual.
"I've done it my whole life; it was a tradition with my family," said Katie Strickland, 25, who does marketing for a small business in Santa Rosa. "We go to bed early, get up before midnight, and my mom always had hot chocolate and some type of leftovers .... and my dad would take us down and wait in line at the stores with us."
Even so, Strickland won't show up at any stores before midnight. She loves Black Friday, but doesn't want to take part in what she called "Crazy Thursday."
"I'd rather keep that precious Thursday, and spend time with family and loved ones," Strickland said.
Nancy Citro, a retired event planner in Healdsburg, agreed. Citro intends to spend the holiday with friends, and then take a hike or a bike ride, as she does every year.
"We need less corporations and more family, and that's what Thanksgiving is all about," Citro said.
Retailers are responding to what they say is consumer demand for stores to be open on Thanksgiving. And once stores began announcing Thanksgiving hours, the others fell into line like dominoes.
"It just comes down to being competitive," said Mike Gobble, store manager for JC Penney in Coddingtown Mall. "Ultimately, it's the customer that is voting for these shopping times."