9 Thanksgiving Fun Facts

These are sure to make you smile .

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Thanksgiving is a holiday that everyone loves to celebrate, except maybe turkeys. After all, they are the featured main course. But seriously, who doesn’t enjoy a festive meal shared with family and friends?  Or the chance to give thanks for all the good things in life?

So, while you are cooking and preparing your feast, or when you are gathered around the table, take a few minutes to enjoy the lighter side of Thanksgiving with these nine fun facts that are sure to make you smile.

Turkey Wasn't Served on the First Thanksgiving

Turkey wasn’t on the menu for the first Thanksgiving feast in 1621. The pilgrims and the Wampanoag ate venison, waterfowl, lobster, clams, berries, pumpkin, and squash. While there were wild turkeys in the area, they were not included in the three-day feast.

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The First Macy’s Parade Didn’t Have Balloons

The first parade in 1924, didn’t have any of the high-flying balloons like Snoopy that has been an all-time favorite. But they did have live monkeys, elephants, camels, and bears borrowed from the Central Park zoo according to How Stuff Works.

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Butterball Has a Turkey Hotline

The Turkey hotline answers over 100,000 turkey cooking questions every year in November and December in the US and Canada. In fact, they have 50 plus experts answering questions. You can call the hotline at 1-800-BUTTERBALL or text 1-844-887-3456. You can even reach them  through social media, live chat, and Amazon Electra.

Americans Eat 80 Million Pounds of Cranberry Sauce on Thanksgiving

Cranberries are a holiday staple. In fact, according to Insider, Americans consume a whopping 80 million pounds of cranberries during Thanksgiving. Much of it is the canned jellied form of cranberry sauce. So many cans are used that it could fill 80 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

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Four US Town are Called Turkey

Yes, this really is true. The small towns are located in Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, and North Carolina according to It’s a Southern Thing. But there are more holiday themed towns too including: Burnt Corn, Alabama; Spuds, Florida; Pilgrim, Kentucky; Cranberry, North Carolina; and Thanksgiving, Maryland.

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A Thanksgiving Mistake Led to TV Dinners

In 1953, a Swanson employee accidently ordered a huge amount of Turkeys according to Smithsonian Magazine. They had 260 tons of frozen birds left after Thanksgiving. But thanks to the vision of Swanson salesman Gerry Thomas, he saved the day and started a new industry. He ordered 5,000 aluminum tins and filled them with turkey, cornbread dressing with gravy, peas and sweet potatoes and sold the first TV dinners for 98 cents. They were a huge success.

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Presidential Pardons

The first turkey to receive an official presidential pardon was a 50-pounder that attended the presidential Thanksgiving proclamation on November 17, 1989, according to History. Seeing that the guest of honor seemed a bit anxious, then President George H.W. Bush officially pardoned him from becoming dinner, saying: “Let me assure you, and this fine tom turkey, that he will not end up on anyone’s dinner table, not this guy. He’s granted a presidential pardon as of right now.”

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Americans Eat 50 Million Pumpkin Pies on Thanksgiving

While pumpkin was eaten at the first Thanksgiving feast, it was not baked into pies. While Americans eat 50 million pumpkin pies on the holiday according to Eat This, Not That. While that is a really large number, it is tempered by the fact that pumpkins are really healthy. So, enjoy your slice.

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The First Professional Thanksgiving Day Football Game was Played 100 Years Ago

That’s right, professional football has been played on the holiday for a century according to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Six games were played on November 25, 1920. So, enjoy your meal before the games and then partake in a 100-year-old tradition.

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