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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