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Stuff You Didn’t Know About “Turkey Day,” Part One

NEW YORK, NY – NOVEMBER 24: Dora the Explorer make her way through NYC streets on Dora’s Christmas Carol Adventure float during the 85th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 24, 2011 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Nickelodeon)

Thanksgiving is one of those days we all celebrate, but know very little of the history, or events associated with it. From Pilgrim times to 2012, Thanksgiving traditions continue to evolve. Turkey, dressing, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, football, parades, and booze all make this one of the boons to our somewhat anemic economy. Will this holiday season pull companies out of the red? I guess we’ll find out soon.

The First Thanksgiving

No one knows for sure what the menu was at the first Thanksgiving but historians tend to agree on one common fact. No turkey was served. Seafood and venison were the bill of fare for that history-changing event.

Then how did turkeys become the meat of choice for future feasts? Wild turkeys were very plentiful, you could feed a lot of people with a single bird, and Tom Turkeys didn’t lay eggs so they were an easy choice.

If You’re Thankful For Thanksgiving — Thank Lincoln.

Some presidents celebrated Thanksgiving and some didn’t. Among those who did not was Thomas Jefferson. James Madison did a couple of times but not always in the fall of the year. You can thank our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln for creating the holiday and federalization of it in 1863. Perhaps he was thankful the Civil War would only last another two years.

What would Thanksgiving Be Without Macy?

What would Thanksgiving be without the movie, “Miracle on 34th Street” and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade started in 1924 and instead of the inflatable floats, Macy got live animals from the Bronx Zoo to march in the parade. “Felix The Cat” was the first inflatable balloon provided by the Goodyear corporation in 1927. Mickey Mouse joined the fun in 1934.

I’m Older Than Green Bean Casserole

Not sure how I feel about that. Most people reading this grew up with this holiday staple. Fifty-three year old green bean casserole is a real marketing phenomenon. Campbell’s soup was looking for creative recipes to improve the sale of their soups, — particularly mushroom soup. So take a vegetable that no one likes and combine it with several unhealthy other items and wha-la, a tradition is born.

Bar Sales

The day before Thanksgiving is the biggest day of the year for bar sales. Bigger than New Years Eve, the Super Bowl, and St. Patrick’s Day. Why you ask? Contrary to popular belief, you can go home again. And millions of people do — they meet up with friends and family and hit the bars. I think it’s because mom wants everyone out of the house so she can cook and get organized. Plus you are going to have the pain of spending the following day with family and drinking may be your only defense.

Some Final Thoughts

Tomorrow I’ll have a few more tidbits of things you might not know about Thanksgiving. Why does Detroit always play football on Thanksgiving? Is Cyber Monday for real? And when did Pumpkin Pie enter the picture? In the meantime it’s your last chance to hit the store and make sure you’ve got all the fixin’s for the big day.

 

 

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