Macy’s will be open on Thanksgiving Day. So will Walmart, Toys ‘R Us and Best Buy, as the national retailers try to get an early start on the shopping binge that tips the balance between failure and success.

Those stores will be open — but not in Maine, Massachusetts or Rhode Island. We are one of the last three states in the nation that still ban some businesses from opening their doors on the national holiday so our big-box stores and supermarkets will stay closed until Friday, giving customers and employees a break.

Normally, we don’t like it when Maine is an economic outlier, and the laws are a relic of our Puritan past, somewhat out-of-step with way people live today. We understand that about 70 percent of our economy is driven by consumer spending, and we are rooting for our colleagues in retail sales to have a robust end to the year.

But Thanksgiving is special. Maine can be proud that there will be one fewer obstacle for families and friends to sit down together and reflect on the year that is rapidly coming to an end.

Holiday closures, for murky historical reasons known as “blue laws,” were originally legal instruments to enforce the observance of the Christian sabbath. Despite their religious heritage, the laws have been upheld by the Supreme Court, which has found a secular benefit shared equally by people of all religions.

In 1990, Maine voters allowed department stores to open on Sundays, but kept the ban on Thanksgiving openings.

That’s appropriate. Even though it also has religious roots — the Pilgrims giving thanks to God for their survival in a harsh new world — it has became a holiday for people of every faith and people with no faith. It is our best holiday because people can celebrate it anyway they like. For some, it’s a day to hunt deer, for others it’s an opportunity to watch a parade or a football game. For some it’s chance to just sit around and visit. But for those who can, it usually features a shared meal and a moment to reflect.

That’s worth a lot.

Plenty of people will have to work today: Police officers, fire fighters, doctors, nurses, care givers (not to mention reporters, photographers, editors and other people who bring you the news). Some businesses, like restaurants and movie theaters, will be open. But it’s good to draw the line somewhere.

Retail workers in most other states have been told that they risk being fired if they choose to celebrate Thanksgiving Day with their families. These are people who will be working long hours at relatively low pay during the upcoming holiday rush, and who deserve a break.

Shopping can wait a day — or a few hours in the case of the stores that will take the law literally and open after 12 a.m. Friday.

The chance to celebrate Thanksgiving should not be denied. Maine can be proud that it remains one of the last holdouts in defense of this important tradition.

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