It’s that time of year again: friends, family, football, and lots of turkeys. Tables across the United States are set to be stocked with in-laws, gravy, and hopefully no heated discussions about the mid-term elections.
Now is the perfect time to brush up on your Thanksgiving trivia. After all, your father-in-law is still upset about your career choice. So, here’s an opportunity to impress the former hedge fund manager with your encyclopedic knowledge of America’s greatest holiday.
Turkey Wasn’t Always the Main Course
In the early years of the tradition, turkey likely wasn’t even the main dish, with people instead relying on local foods, like deer.
The First Thanksgivings were in Texas
No, that’s not a typo. Forget about the Mayflower pilgrims in 1621; Texas has its own (two) claims predating the event by nearly one hundred years. Find out more about the Lone Star state’s fascinating Thanksgiving history here.
The average cost of Thanksgiving dinner in 2022 is expected to be $64.05 for 10 guests. This represents a 37% jump since 2000 when the average meal cost $46.90.
Takeout on Thanksgiving?
Not everyone can enjoy a home-cooked meal. Roughly 1 out of 10 Americans will order takeout or celebrate at a restaurant.
Holiday Diets on Pause
Three billion calories of turkey are eaten in the United States every Thanksgiving. To put it another way, a typical male adult would need nearly 9.5 hours to burn the average 4,500 consumed calories!
In 1989, George H. W. Bush was the first U.S. president to officially pardon a turkey.
Thanksgiving Day Parade
Move over Macy’s, the title for the oldest Thanksgiving parade belongs to another department store. The Philadelphia Gimbel Brothers Department Store parade began in 1920, predating Macy’s annual event by four years.
Time to Prep
Nearly half of American hosts will take time off work to prepare for the massive holiday feast.
About 31% of Americans will travel on Thanksgiving.
The Town of Turkey
The United States contains four towns named Turkey, including one in Hall County in North Texas.
In Australia, only Norfolk Island, hundreds of miles off the country’s eastern coast, celebrates the holiday each year. The tradition was brought to the island in the 1800s by American whalers.
A Plethora of Pumpkin Pies
It’s estimated that 50 million pumpkin pies are consumed annually in the United States.
The original 1857 version of “Jingle Bells” was meant to be sung on Thanksgiving, not Christmas. Two years later, it was updated and moved to the December holiday.
Tens of Millions of Turkeys
Roughly 46 million turkeys are prepared each year for the tradition.
Dallas’ very own Cowboys and the Detroit Lions have played more Thanksgiving games than any other NFL teams. The Cowboys have played nearly every Thanksgiving for over a half-century.
Church and State
Thomas Jefferson declined to issue an official day of thanksgiving while president, considering it a potential violation of the First Amendment. He did, however, issue thanksgiving proclamations while serving as governor of Virginia. Most other presidents did not see the practice as a violation, however, and George Washington became the first president to call for a day of national thanksgiving shortly after being inaugurated.
In 1953, when a Swanson employee ordered 260 tons of turkey in error during the holiday season, the company creatively solved the problem by creating the first frozen TV dinner.