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Nine in ten Americans planning to host Thanksgiving this year are looking forward to a traditional dinner, but one-third of consumers are, again, planning for smaller gatherings.

Thanksgiving is this week, and while we all enjoy the food, time with family, and parades, how much do you really know about the holiday?

Here are some interesting facts about Thanksgiving that you may not know.


  • The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621

    It included 50 Pilgrims, 90 Wampanoag Indians, and lasted three days. It is believed by historians that only five women were present.

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  • Turkey wasn’t on the menu at the first Thanksgiving.

    Venison, duck, goose, oysters, lobster, eel, and fish were likely served, alongside pumpkins and cranberries


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  • Thanksgiving wasn't a national holiday until October 3, 1863

    Sarah Josepha Hale, the woman who wrote “Mary Had A Little Lamb,” convinced Lincoln to make Thanksgiving a national holiday after writing letters for 17 years.


    NEW YORK, NEW YORK – NOVEMBER 26: Performers pose at the 94th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade® on November 26, 2020 in New York City. The World-Famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade® kicks off the holiday season for millions of television viewers watching safely at home. (Photo by Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for Macy’s Inc.)

  • There are four towns in the United States named “Turkey.”

    There are Turkey towns in Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, and even our very own, North Carolina.



    STAMFORD, CT – NOVEMBER 24: A Guatemalan immigrant carves the Thanksgiving turkey on November 24, 2016 in Stamford, Connecticut. Family and friends, some of them U.S. citizens, others on work visas and some undocumented immigrants came together in an apartment to celebrate the American holiday with turkey and Latin American dishes. They expressed concern with the results of the U.S. Presidential election of president-elect Donald Trump, some saying their U.S.-born children fear the possibilty their parents will be deported after Trump’s inauguration. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

  • We eat... A LOT

    The average number of calories consumed on Thanksgiving is 4,500.


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  • The Butterball emergency line is BUSY!

    Butterball answers more than 100,000 turkey-cooking questions a year


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  • The Thanksgiving Football tradition started in 1876.

    Yale and Princeton was the first Thanksgiving ffootball game. The first NFL games were played on Thanksgiving in 1920.

    CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA – NOVEMBER 21: Christian McCaffrey #22 of the Carolina Panthers celebrates a 27-yard touchdown reception with teammate, Robby Anderson #11 in the fourth quarter against the Washington Football Team at Bank of America Stadium on November 21, 2021 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

  • LOTS of Americans travel on Thanksgiving!

    More than 54 million Americans are expected to travel during the Thanksgiving holiday this year.

    CHARLOTTE,NC – MAY 15: Passengers walk between terminals at Charlotte Douglas International Airport on May 15, 2020 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Air travel is down an estimated 94 percent due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and major U.S. airlines are taking a major financial hit with losses of $350 million to $400 million a day and nearly half of major carriers airplanes are sitting idle. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)