13 Fun Facts About Thanksgiving

November 20, 2017
Amanda Carrozza

Amanda Carrozza is a freelance writer and editor in New Jersey.

Spice up your typical Thanksgiving banter with these 13 fun facts about the holiday.

Thanksgiving is rich in tradition. Since 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving to fall on the last Thursday of November, millions of families across the country have feasted on large portions of nap-inducing turkey and its delectable side dishes. This year, spice up your Thanksgiving dinner with these 13 fun facts about the holiday.

Save the date: Hoping it would boost the shopping season during the Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving up a week in 1939. The swap was unsuccessful and just two years later, President Roosevelt admitted his mistake and officially declared the fourth Thursday in November the national holiday.

No floats: The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924 featured only animals from Central Park Zoo — no large balloons.

  • The original: The Philadelphia Thanksgiving Parade is four years older than Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
  • A mighty big turkey: The average turkey for Thanksgiving weighs 15 pounds, but according to the Guinness Book of Records, the heaviest turkey weighed 86 pounds.
  • Spawning an industry: The first TV dinners were created as a result of Thanksgiving. In 1953, Swanson had so much extra turkey left after Thanksgiving that the company packaged it onto trays with other sides.
  • A real party: The first Thanksgiving in 1621 lasted for three days.
  • I’ll have some tomorrow: Almost eight in 10 people prefer leftover meals consisting of stuffing, mashed potatoes and pie to their original Thanksgiving dinner.
  • Gobble, gobble: Minnesota produces more turkeys than any other state in the country.
  • Make a wish: The tradition of the wishbone being considered good luck dates back to the ancient Romans.
  • Help, please: The Butterball Turkey Talk Line answers almost 100,000 calls each season.
  • Don’t forget the staples: Twenty percent of all cranberries eaten in America each year are consumed on Thanksgiving.
  • Eagle, schmeagle: Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be the national bird.
  • Quick cuts: The record for the fastest time to carve a turkey is 3 minutes 19.47 seconds.