A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry forthcoming—B.P. (10/21)
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Entry from December 07, 2010
“The bears have Thanksgiving, but the bulls have Christmas” (or, “The bulls have Thanksgiving…")

"The bears have Thanksgiving, but the bulls have Christmas,” or is it “The bulls have Thanksgiving, but the bears have Christmas”? The former appears to have been cited in print since at least 1903; in a 1917 newspaper article, it was an “the old saying that the bears have Thanksgiving and the bulls have Christmas.”

However, an April 1929 newspaper article stated: “‘A bull Thanksgiving means a bear Christmas’ is another superstition that is widely respected among the Wall Street fraternity.” This version was also present in a 1930 book: “It is an old saying that the bulls may have Thanksgiving, but the bears usually get Christmas.”

It appears that “the bears have Thanksgiving, but the bulls have Christmas” is the popular version. However, if the bulls take Thanksgiving, then the bears will have Christmas. There doesn’t seem to be a proverb that has the bulls or the bears have both holidays.

An end-of-year rally when “the bulls have Christmas” is called a “Santa Claus rally.”


Google Books
26 December 1903, Profits, pg. 5, col. 3:
Bears had Thanksgiving and the bulls get a fair Christmas.

25 December 1917, Boston (MA) Globe, “Stock Market,” pg. 7:
The market closed (...) the old saying that the bears have Thanksgiving and the bulls have Christmas is not fully exemplified,...

21 April 1929, New York (NY) Times, “New York is wary of superstitions”:
“A bull Thanksgiving means a bear Christmas” is another superstition that is widely respected among the Wall Street fraternity.

Google Books
Why You Win Or Lose:
The Psychology of Speculation

By Fred C. Kelly
Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin
1930
Pg. 32:
It is an old saying that the bulls may have Thanksgiving, but the bears usually get Christmas.

25 December 1934, New York (NY) Times, “Topics in Wall Street”:
One broker s circular says: “The old axiom that a bull Thanksgiving is usually followed by a bear Christmas seems to be running true to form this year.”

Google Books
The Great Boom and Panic, 1921-1929
By Robert Trescott Patterson
Chicago, IL: Regnery
1965
Pg. 62:
One broker commented sadly, “The bulls had the Thanksgiving turkey, and it looks as if the bears will have the Christmas stocking.”

Time magazine
A Wealth of Upbeat Signals
By Lawrence Malkin;John Greenwald;Raji Samghabadi Monday, Dec. 31, 1984
(...)
Said Harry Laubscher, a Paine Webber market analyst: “The bears had Thanksgiving, the bulls Christmas.”

Google Books
High Steppers, Fallen Angels, and Lollipops:
Wall Street slang

By Kathleen Odean
New York, NY: Dodd, Mead
1988
Pg 174:
SEASONAL SWINGS
Wall Streeters try to discuss patterns in the ups and down of months in market history, and use these patterns to predict the future. For example, they say, “The bears have Thanksgiving, but the bulls have Christmas.” This adage predicts a market correction in late October and November, with a year-end rally later when institutional investors dress up their portfolios for the end of the quarter.

13 December 1996, South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL), “Stocks take another dive,” pg. 1D:
“There’s an old saying that if the bulls get Thanksgiving, the bears get Christmas,” said James Engle, chief investment officer at Wood Struthers & Winthrop Management, referring the 8.2 percent advance in stocks in November and 3.3 percent slide so far this month.

Forbes.com
Adviser Soapbox
Bob Stovall’s Bubble-Market Buys And Sells

Robert H. Stovall, Wood Asset Management 12.01.05, 6:00 AM ET
(...)
There is an old saying that sometimes works out: “The bears have Thanksgiving, and the bulls have Christmas.” So if November disappoints you, don’t give up hope.

New York (NY) Times
Stocks and Bonds
New Worries About Credit Drive Down Stock Markets

By MICHAEL M. GRYNBAUM
Published: November 20, 2007
(...)
“There’s an old saying that the bears have Thanksgiving and the bulls have Christmas,” said Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at Standard & Poor’s. “This week could be a challenging one.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityBanking/Finance/Insurance • (0) Comments • Tuesday, December 07, 2010 • Permalink