Thanksgiving Day: Weird, Fun Facts About the Holiday

Thanksgiving is a day for family, food and football for many Americans, but where did all these traditions begin?

As you enjoy the holiday, learn a few things about your favorite Turkey Day moments; you'll look like the smartest person at your feasting table.

Thanksgiving feast:

The average Thanksgiving meal packs around 4,500 calories. It would take 10 straight hours pounding away on a treadmill to burn it all off.

The average cost of a Thanksgiving meal for 10 people is $49.78.

The National Turkey Federation estimated that 46 million turkeys — one fifth of the annual total of 235 million consumed in the United States — are eaten at Thanksgiving.

Nearly 88 percent of Americans eat turkey at Thanksgiving.

Though many blame the tryptophan for their sleepy feelings post-turkey feast, chicken actually packs more of the sleep-inducing agent. You're only feeling sluggish because you probably overate, and your body is working overtime to digest the meal.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest pumpkin pie ever baked weighed 2,020 pounds and measured just over 12 feet long. It was baked on October 8, 2005 by the New Bremen Giant Pumpkin Growers in Ohio, and included 900 pounds of pumpkin, 62 gallons of evaporated milk, 155 dozen eggs, 300 pounds of sugar, 3.5 pounds of salt, 7 pounds of cinnamon, 2 pounds of pumpkin spice and 250 pounds of crust.

Thanksgiving Day parades:

The first Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade took place in New York City in 1924. It was put on by Macy's employees and featured animals from the Central Park Zoo, and it was meant to signify the launch of the Christmas shopping season.

Today, more than three million people attend the annual celebration and over 44 million watch the live television broadcast.

Though Snoopy the Beagle is the most iconic float flying about the streets of New York during the parade, Ronald McDonald has made the most appearances in the last 30 years, entering the parade 24 times.

Presidential involvement:

Thanksgiving was proclaimed as a national holiday by President Abraham Lincoln in October 1863. Presidents didn't begin the annual tradition of pardoning a turkey until President George H.W. Bush did the honors in 1989.


The Dallas Cowboys and the Detroit Lions play every year on Thanksgiving.

In the first national Thanksgiving Day football radio broadcast, the Detroit Lions played the Chicago Bears at the University of Detroit stadium in 1934. The NBC radio broadcast network aired the game on 94 stations across the country.

The first television broadcast was in 1956, when the Lions played the Green Bay Packers.

Random knowledge:

There are four towns in the U.S. with the word "turkey" in them: Turkey Creek, Arizona; Turkey City, Texas; Turkey Creek Village, Louisiana; and Turkey Town, North Carolina.


The inventions of TV dinners was born out of a Thanksgiving mishap by a Swanson employee in 1953. They misjudged the number of frozen turkeys they would need for Thanksgiving by 26 tons, so they sliced the meat and packaged it with sides for individual microwavable meals.

Though Americans often say "gobble, gobble" on Thanksgiving, only male turkeys, called toms, gobble. Females, called hens, make a cackling sound.