Even More Thanksgiving Facts to Share With Your Family


Thanksgiving pumpkin and apple various pies

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~Red wine is the most popular Thanksgiving tipple.

According to a 2017 survey by the alcohol delivery service Drizly, about 50% of households serve red wine with Thanksgiving dinner. Only 10% go with white. The rest are pouring something else, whether that's soft drinks, beers, or cocktails.

~The turkey isn't to blame for your post-dinner slump.

A widely accepted myth will have you believe that it's the main dish of the meal that makes you eager for a nap after you eat Thanksgiving dinner. But it's time to stop blaming the turkey and its tryptophan for your sluggishness. Though the amino acid does help your body produce melatonin, which promotes relaxation and sleep, turkey doesn't have any more of it than its poultry brethren. So why the immediate desire to nod off? Because eating a big meal—any big meal—makes you sleepy.

~One Connecticut town delayed Thanksgiving because of a pumpkin pie shortage.

Well, sort of. Pumpkin pies were mostly popular as a Thanksgiving dessert in New England early in the 18th century, becoming more synonymous with the holiday across the country in the early 20th. But according to History, the town of Colchester in Connecticut agreed to hold the holiday a week when a molasses shortage threatened their ability to make the gourd-based sweet.

~Holiday weight gain accounts for most of the thickening associated with aging.

According to a 2000 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the average person gains one pound between the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Coupled with the fact that most individuals tend to gain one pound a year throughout adulthood, this seasonal thickening may play a large part in the general weight gain that accompanies age.

~Two towns in Texas claim to be the site of the first Thanksgiving.

While the "first Thanksgiving" is generally considered to be that aforementioned meal in 1621 in Plymouth, Massachusetts, there are at least two towns in Texas claiming to have been the site of earlier Thanksgiving feasts. El Paso, for one, claims it was host to a day of giving thanks celebrated by the Spanish explorer Juan de Oñate in 1598. The town has been observing that Thanksgiving every April since 1989. Another claim, made by The Texas Society of Daughters of the American Colonists, asserts that the first Thanksgiving was observed by Spanish explorer Francisco Vázquez de Coronado and his expedition in Palo Duro Canyon in 1541. Researchers, however, have since uncovered details to suggest otherwise.

~The first national Thanksgiving was declared by George Washington.

The first national Thanksgiving was declared by President George Washington and was celebrated on Nov. 26, 1789. In his "Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1789" Washington defines the day as a pious time to thank God for, amongst other things, protecting Americans and helping them achieve independence.

~Turkeys are named after the country—the result of confusion about birds.

During the time of the Ottoman Empire, guinea fowl—birds that closely resemble turkeys—were often imported from their native North Africa to Europe, to be eaten. Because Europeans received them from Turkish traders, they referred to them as turkey-hens or turkey-cocks. When settlers from the Americas began sending what we call turkeys back to their European counterparts, the latter—confused by the resemblance—began referring to them by the same name. Thus, we have turkeys!

~Minnesota raises the most turkeys in the U.S.

Turkeys apparently prefer cold temperatures and friendly neighbors: Of all U.S. states, Minnesota raised the most turkeys in 2017, according to the USDA. In fact, the 450 turkey farms in the state are responsible for about 18 percent of all turkeys raised and sold in the United States yearly. While Minnesota has perpetually been in the top of the rankings of domestic turkey producers since record keeping began in 1929, they've remained in the very top spot since North Carolina slowed production in 2003.

~The first Thanksgiving "football" game predates the National Football League.

According to the Princeton website, on Thanksgiving in 1876, Princeton and Yale students squared off in Hoboken, New Jersey, playing "what would best be described as an 11-on-11 form of rugby." The schools' showdown became an annual one, eventually moving to New York, where 40,000 fans showed up in 1893.

~Benjamin Franklin liked turkeys more than bald eagles.

There's a myth, which is just one of many in American history, that Benjamin Franklin proffered the turkey—a bird he held in much higher esteem than the bald eagle—as a replacement for America's official avian representative. The misconception likely stems from a letter he wrote to his daughter in which he lamented that the "bald eagle…is a bird of bad moral character. He does not get his living honestly…[he] is too lazy to fish for himself," while the turkey is "a much more respectable bird." But that's as far as his turkey fandom went.


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