Thanksgiving Dinner Trivia

As Thanksgiving approaches, take a moment to learn some historical and fun facts about the day we set aside to acknowledge the blessings in our lives. Once your kids have a chance to brush up on their trivia, encourage them to quiz your guests at dinner on Thursday!

1. While the first Thanksgiving took place in 1621, the celebration didn’t become a national holiday until Abraham Lincoln declared it so in 1863.

2. American writer Sarah Josepha Hale, who also penned the well-known children’s song “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” played a key role in making Thanksgiving a national holiday. In addition to writing several stories about the holiday during her time as editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book, she also spent roughly 30 years lobbying for state and federal officials to make Thanksgiving an official national holiday.

3. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade began in 1924 and was then known as the Macy’s Christmas Parade. Instead of featuring giant balloons, it featured several animals from Central Park Zoo.

4. In 1939, Franklin D. Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving up a week to give retailers more time to make money during the Christmas shopping season. While his decision was designed to help depression-era retailers, it was widely criticized. He officially moved the holiday to the fourth Thursday in November in 1941, which is when we celebrate it today.

5. TV dinners were invented in 1953 after a Swanson employee accidentally ordered 260 tons of turkey in preparation for Thanksgiving. Swanson packaged the leftover meat with dressing and veggies, and sold more than 10 million TV dinners over the course of the next year.

6. Since George H.W. Bush granted the first official presidential pardon to a turkey in 1989, the practice has become a presidential tradition. Each November the president of the United States sends a turkey into retirement on a farm rather than to a Thanksgiving dinner table.

7. Today, Thanksgiving ranks second among Americans’ favorite holidays. Christmas tops the charts at number one.

8. Approximately 46 million turkeys are consumed on Thanksgiving. That’s more than the amount consumed on Easter and Christmas combined! The average weight of a turkey purchased for Thanksgiving is 16 pounds.

9. The average American consumes 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving.

10. Four towns in the United States include the word turkey in their name: Turkey Creek, Louisiana; Turkey, Texas; Turkey, North Carolina; and Turkey Creek, Arizona.

The Fiscal Times
Good Housekeeping

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