We have officially entered the holiday season, and many are looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving at the end of this month. Thanksgiving is a time where friends and family come together, eat lots of good food, and reminisce on what they’re thankful for. In honor of the upcoming holiday here are some fun facts about Thanksgiving you may not know.
Turkey is traditionally the main dish for Thanksgiving dinner and is certainly one of the most popular options. In fact, Americans are expected to consume about 46 million turkeys1 for Thanksgiving, and are estimated to spend about $1.1 billion on Thanksgiving turkeys. Now that’s a lot of turkey!
The first Federal Congress asked the President of the United States to recommend to the nation a day of Thanksgiving2 on September 28, 1789. However, it wasn’t until December 26, 1941, 152 years later, that President Roosevelt signed a resolution declaring the fourth Thursday of November as the Federal Thanksgiving Day holiday. Prior to this resolution, the country was quite divided on when the holiday should be, with some states insisting it should fall on the last Thursday of the month. Others opposed this, however, as they worried having Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of the month would shorten the Christmas shopping season too much and have a negative impact on the economy.
Thanksgiving often is seen as the kickoff for holiday shopping, and the day after Thanksgiving is notoriously known as Black Friday. As many of you know, Black Friday is a day when retailers across the United States offer big sales and discounts on certain products. Black Friday is a huge shopping day to say the least, and in 2020 consumers spent a total of $9.0 billion3 on Black Friday alone. Over the years, Black Friday has slowly crept more and more into Thanksgiving Day, and around 40% of Black Friday shoppers4 say they prefer to shop on Thanksgiving as they believe there’s better deals. However, Thanksgiving Day holiday shopping is controversial, as 76% of Americans believe stores should be closed5 this day.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
On Thanksgiving Day many tune-in to watch the infamous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Something the parade is known for is its use of gigantic balloons that make their way down the streets of New York; however, these signature balloons were not always part of the event.6 In the early years, the parade featured bands and zoo animals, and the balloons were introduced in 1927, three years later. At first, the balloons were released at the end of the parade, with a reward offered for anyone who found and returned one, but this ended in 1932 after, among other things, an airplane nearly crashed trying to capture one of the balloons.
We hope you enjoyed learning about some of these Thanksgiving facts, and we hope that you have a happy and safe holiday!
1Laycock, Richard. (2022, Nov 2). Retrieved from: https://www.finder.com/american-thanksgiving-turkey-spend
2National Archives. (2021, Mar 9). Retrieved from: https://www.archives.gov/legislative/features/thanksgiving
3Zaki, Zunaira. (2020, Nov 28). Retrieved from: https://abcnews.go.com/Business/black-friday-hits-record-report/story?id=74435965
4Sabanoglu, Tugba. (2022, Nov 24). Retrieved from: https://www.statista.com/topics/2307/thanksgiving/#topicOverview
5Brown, Dalvin. (2020, Oct 1). Retrieved from: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2020/10/01/shoppers-want-retailers-closed-thanksgiving-survey-says/5877363002/
6Neary, Kathleen. (2022, Nov 9). Retrieved from: https://people.howstuffworks.com/culture-traditions/holidays-other/macys-thanksgiving-day-parade1.htm