Thanksgiving Fun Facts

For the next few minutes, depending on how quickly you read, just forget about the ongoing heated debate over the meaning of Thanksgiving VS Black Thursday and Friday and learn some fun holiday facts you can share around the dinner table when the family has stopped talking to one another and your favorite Uncle Joe is fast asleep on the couch.

  1. There are three places in the United States named Turkey.
    1. Turkey, Texas
    2. Turkey, North Carolina
    3. Turkey Creek, Louisiana.
  2. The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade used live animals from the Central Park Zoo.
    The parade used floats instead of balloons, and it featured monkeys, bears, camels and elephants all borrowed from the Central Park Zoo.
  3. Jingle Bells was originally a Thanksgiving song.
    In 1857,
    James Pierpoint composed a song for children celebrating Thanksgiving. The title was “One Horse Open Sleigh,” and it was such a hit that it was sung again at Christmas. The song quickly became associated with the Christmas season, and the title was officially changed in 1859, two years later.
  4. The Detroit Lions always play on Thanksgiving.
    The first NFL football game that took place on Thanksgiving Day was in 1934 when the Detroit Lions played the Chicago Bears. According to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the Lions have played on Thanksgiving ever since, except when the team was called away to serve during World War II.The Dallas Cowboys also always play on Thanksgiving. Their first Thanksgiving Day game was held in 1966, and the Cowboys have only missed two games since then.
  5. The night before Thanksgiving is the best day for bar sales in the United States.
    The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is responsible for t
  6. he most bar sales, more than New Year’s Eve, the Super Bowl, or even St. Patrick’s Day. It makes sense, since nearly all Americans have Thanksgiving off and dealing with family members can be very stressful!
  7. Thanksgiving leftovers inspired the first-ever TV dinner.
    In 1953, the original “TV dinner” company Swanson overestimated the demand for turkey by over 260 tons, the owners of the company had no idea what to do with all the leftovers and so they enlisted the help of company salesman Gerry Thomas. Taking inspiration from airplane meals, Thomas ordered 5,000 aluminum trays, and loaded them with the turkey leftovers to create the first TV dinners.
  8. Ben Franklin wanted the turkey to be the official bird of the United States.
    Benjamin Franklin thought turkeys were much more American than bald eagles and that the turkey is much more respectable.
  1. Thomas Jefferson canceled Thanksgiving during his presidency. 
    George Washington was the first to declare Thanksgiving as a national holiday, but it was on a year-to-year basis, so Presidents had to re-declare it every year. Jefferson was so adamantly against Thanksgiving that he refused to declare it a holiday during his presidency. Most historians agree that Jefferson refused to declare the holiday because he fervently believed in the separation of church and state, and thought that the day of “prayer” for being Thankful violated the First Amendment.
  2. FDR tried to change the date of Thanksgiving — and it caused a lot of problems. 
    In 1939, Franklin Roosevelt changed the date of Thanksgiving from the last Thursday in November to the second-to-last. The change was made in an attempt to lift the economy during the Great Depression,the idea being that it would give people more time to shop for Christmas. It caused such a public outcry that people began referring to it as “Franksgiving.” After two years, Congress ditched the new policy.
  3. Minnesota produces the most turkeys in the U.S.
    Minnesota produces more turkey than any other state in America, more than 1.16 billion pounds of turkey, valued at nearly $839 million. North Carolina, Arkansas, Missouri and Virginia are also top producers.
  4. There is an annual tradition of offering a turkey a Presidential Pardon — and no one is really sure when it began.
    The White House has a tradition of pardoning one lucky turkey each year. The annual tradition was thought to have begun in 1947 with President Harry Truman. But some think that it actually started in the 1860s with Abraham Lincoln after his son Tad begged him to spare his pet turkey’s life. Despite these two theories of the origins of the pardon, George H. W. Bush was the first president to officially grant a turkey a presidential pardon. What a strange tradition!
  5. The Origin of Black Friday was that the black in Black Friday referred to the time when retailers finally got into the black — that is, reached profitability.
    The day after Thanksgiving, which earned a reputation as the biggest shopping day of the year, has always lured price-conscious consumers with the promise of killer deals. But it’s just not all that it used to be, now that retailers are starting their big holiday sales during the days leading up to Black Friday, and those following as well.
  6. Don’t blame the Turkey for your laziness after eating too much.
    As it turns out, turkey contains no more of the amino acid tryptophan than other kinds of poultry. In fact, turkey actually has slightly less tryptophan than chicken. Proteins like turkey, chicken and fish, which are high in tryptophan, require assistance from foods high in carbohydrates to affect serotonin levels.So if eating turkey isn’t exactly the same as popping a sleeping pill, why the sudden grogginess as soon as our holiday feast is over? Well, when people overeat, digestion takes a lot of energy. Don’t incriminate the turkey that you ate, instead incriminate the three plates of food that you piled high. And let’s not forget that the holidays generally mean time off from work and with family. Many people feel more relaxed to begin with (family wars not withstanding). Add alcohol to the mix, and voila! Sleep!

Plus, coming up on the holidays and trying to get all the things done that one would normally be doing, you short cut your sleep and that’s never helpful. So, go ahead, eat that tryptophan induced turkey, at least then you’ll have a good excuse to lie down and take a nap on the couch, right beside your favorite Uncle Joe.

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JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom incentive travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies in many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

World Cup Spotlight: America’s Hopes for Victory

After a nail biting tie between USA and Portugal, it is clear that team USA has matured into a formidable team with a real chance of holding the FIFA World Cup trophy – a feat never completed by an American team.

The nineties brought about a shift for the country and we began to embrace soccer in ways that extended beyond adolescence.  Twenty years ago, America played host to the 1994 FIFA World Cup, an event that thrust soccer into the hearts and desires of many young children whose older brothers and sisters had been brought up to play mainstream American sports. Finally, the sport could be viewed on television and a younger generation was introduced to stars like Eric Cantona and Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima (the original Ronaldo) and idolized them with equal adoration to Michael Jordan and John Elway. This passion has grown since then with many people believing that our current team is the best we have ever had.

For USA midfielder Graham Zusi, life has come full circle since the age of seven when he was chosen to take part in the opening ceremony of the World Cup matches in Chicago two decades ago.

FIFA’s surprising choice of the United States as host was one that paid off. The professional league of soccer in America had collapsed ten years earlier and all that was left were indoor leagues. World Cup fever struck after Brazil won the challenge and the professional league was reestablished. Fast forward to last Sunday’s nail biter of a game and we have the most viewed soccer game in US history.

These children of the 90’s have now grown into athletes in the prime with a thirst for World Cup glory – as was seen in the 2-1 win over Ghana. This match showed how far our team has come over the last few decades, but the conditions in Brazil favor those teams used to high temperatures and high humidity.

A Brazilian court ordered FIFA to introduce mandatory ‘water’ breaks for all players in matches with high temperatures last week. This new rule enforced for the first time in America’s game against Portugal on Sunday resulted in extra time being added to the stoppage time at the end of the game, ultimately allowing Portugal to equalize in the last seconds of the match. The heat was obvious from the sidelines with spectators’ face paint running down their faces. Now imagine that heat and humidity for a player that runs an average of six miles a game.

So, in which scenarios can America advance into the next round?

The basic FIFA World Cup scoring system is easy enough to understand. Three points for a win, one point for a draw and zero points for a loss. Things get more complicated if, at the end of all games in a round, two or more teams have the same amount of points and the tiebreaker scoring process is implemented.

Goal differential is taken into account first. Overall goals scored are subtracted from goals allowed in all group games. If this does not yield a winner then the total of all goals scored in all group games is counted. If these two options still do not find a winner then there are four more steps FIFA uses: 1) Greatest number of points gained in the group matches between teams of that group 2) Goal differences resulting from the group matches between teams of that group 3) Greatest number of goals scored in all group matches between teams in that group 4) Drawing of lots by the FIFA organizing committee.

As you may know, only two teams per group are heading through to the next round. How can America be one of those two from group G, also known as the ‘Group of Death’ due to Portugal, Germany and Ghana’s perceived toughness?

America will advance if we win or draw against Germany today but, there is still a chance to advance if we lose. If Ghana and Portugal draw and America loses we will advance and if America loses and Portugal wins, we have a chance of advancing as long as we have a better goal differential than Portugal. The last option we have to advance is if we are defeated by Germany and Ghana beats Portugal by only scoring one goal (a 1 – 0 win) as we would win the second tiebreaker of most overall goals.

There is still hope for America and our dreams of a FIFA World cup victory.  Due to the complicated scoring system though, let’s just hope for a win against Germany, giving us better seeding in the next round.

Go team USA!

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Stephanie Thomas

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JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

Brazilian Spotlight: Soccer Sensation Neymar

With only a few hours left before the opening game of the 2014 FIFA World Cup between Brazil and Croatia, players from both sides must be starting to feel the pressure. None more so than Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior who is one of the most celebrated young stars from the home side. At just twenty-two years of age Neymar will show up on the pitch wearing the well respected number 10 on his jersey.  Amongst a host of notable achievements, Neymar has held the title of South American Footballer of the Year twice, he received the FIFA Puskás Award for Goal of the Year in 2011 and was an obvious selection for the Brazilian National Team for this World Cup.

Known for his acceleration, speed, dribbling, finish and ability to drive play with both feet, he seems to be a well-rounded talent that is drawing comparisons to the likes of Pelé, Messi and David Beckham.

Neymar was born in Mogi da Cruzes, São Paulo, and was destined for soccer greatness as the son of a former professional soccer player. At the age of eleven he accepted a contract with Santos FC and received training in their youth academy. In 2009, he made his professional debut at the fresh age of seventeen for the prestigious team Real Madrid.  It took him a mere two matches to score his first professional goal and earn the respect of onlookers across the globe.

In 2013 Neymar left Real Madrid and signed a five-year deal with the equally prestigious club FC Barcelona – rumored to have the tenth overall highest transfer fee for any player in history. Since his competitive debut for Barcelona in the 2013-2014 La Liga season he continuously proves his worth, including an impressive hat-trick in a 6-1 win over Celtic in the Champions League.

With his ever-changing hairstyles and unique dance style, he has captured the hearts of soccer fans all over the world and for good reason. At a recent match leading up to the 2014 FIFA World Cup, a young boy ran onto the field. As security was about to escort him away, Neymar intervened and took the opportunity to introduce the young fan to his entire team – a compassionate action he has taken once before.

While our eyes will be firmly glued to the USA team’s performance over the next few weeks, we are also excited to see if Neymar lives up to our expectations as a truly remarkable footballer.

By JNR Incorporated

Written by Stephanie Thomas

______________________________________________________________

JNR Incorporated is a results-based, globally recognized leader that specializes in creating custom travel, meeting, event, prepaid card and merchandise programs that motivate, engage and inspire the employees, customers and channel members of our clients. We have over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies of many diverse industries. Our programs are tailored to fit the specific needs of marketing, sales, management and human resource professionals. The unique solutions we apply are measurable and proven to increase performance, loyalty and revenues.

Photo: “168637068RM00090_Brazil_v_J” by Football4friendship is licensed under CC BY 2.0