8 Facts about Thanksgiving

CliffsNotes November 23, 2015

Thanksgiving Detail Page

Happy November! It’s time to take off your Halloween masks and put on those stretchy pants you refuse to get rid of. With Thanksgiving coming up, family drama and food comas are almost upon us. To get you in the spirit, we’d like to share 8 interesting facts about Thanksgiving that you may not know. Feel free to use these as conversation starters with those out-of-town cousins you hardly know and/or recognize.

1. For 74 years, each state chose its own Thanksgiving date.

Back in 1789 when George Washington was president, he proclaimed that the U.S. should have Thanksgiving. However, it didn’t actually become an official national holiday until 1863 when good ol’ Honest Abe Lincoln proclaimed it to be the fourth Thursday of November.

2. You’ll probably consume 3,000-4,500 calories on Thanksgiving Day…

and roughly 45 percent of those calories come from fat, which is equivalent to 3 sticks of butter. Don’t freak out! In the classic novel Jane Eyre, food is a metaphor for generosity and wealth. And if you read Oliver Twist, you’ll be very thankful you have so much food.  Plus, we’re convinced that calories don’t really count on Turkey Day anyways.

3. Americans consume 46 million turkeys per year on Thanksgiving.

That racks up to roughly $875 million. Gobble, gobble.

4. The Macy’s Day Parade originally had live animals from the Central Park Zoo.

When the parade first started in 1924, it actually took place in Newark, NJ. Once it moved to New York, real animals were used for three years before the huge balloon floats that we know and love became the main sources of attraction. Maybe the parade creators read Animal Farm and got worried that these creatures would rebel too?!

5. The night before Thanksgiving is the busiest night for bars.

Nearly everybody has off on Thanksgiving, so naturally they all go to the bars the night before. You’ll be spending the next day with family, so why not use that Wednesday night to get together with old friends who are back in town? Plus, we can’t imagine anyone wanting to put much work into entertaining guests BEFORE Thanksgiving. Take the night off, rest your feet, and mentally prepare your body for the food you’re about to devour.

6. The term “Black Friday” came from accountants.

Although you probably think “Black Friday” is called that because it’s a day of horrifying shopping where you risk your life for a TV, it’s actually from an accounting term in the ‘80s. For most of the year, retailers were operating at a monetary loss, which they would record in their books in red ink. Once they were profiting – which happened during the holiday season starting that Friday after Thanksgiving – they recorded these profits in black ink (hence the name “Black Friday”). Check out The Grapes of Wrath and Death of a Salesman to read about no money, mo’ problems.

7. Speaking of Black Friday, it happens to be the busiest day of the year for plumbers.

We know, it probably seems obvious why they’re busiest the day after a feast, but actually the problems are more about kitchen sink drains and garbage disposal problems. All that food consumption makes people tired by the end of the day, so they try to take the easy way out and shove food down the sink. We wonder if Winston from 1984 unclogged his neighbor’s sink for the same reason. Maybe clogging the sink is better than clogging other things…

8. The Detroit Lions have played football on every Thanksgiving since 1934.

The only years the Lions didn’t play were between 1939 and 1944. The first game to be broadcast on TV was in 1956. We hope the players get all the leftovers.

There you have it! We hope these factoids help your Thanksgiving traditions live on for years to come. Now if you’ll excuse us, we’re going to go stretch our stomach muscles…

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