Turkey Hand Ideas:

Thanksgiving Hand Turkeys

Historical Thanksgiving Trivia:
  • The first New World Thanksgiving traditions originated with the arrival of the earliest Catholic Spanish colonists in the 16th century in areas such as Florida and Texas.1
  • Protestant English settlers arriving in the Virginia Commonwealth in 1607 also recorded religious services of thanksgiving. 
    • The first official “day of thanksgiving” was ordained on December 4, 1619 by Captain John Woodleaf to commemorate the safe arrival of settlers to the Berkeley Hundred. 
    • Two years later, the same settlement toasted the holiday with American bourbon whiskey, first distilled there in 1621.1
  • The Separatists, now known as “Pilgrims,” celebrated what has come to be called the First Thanksgiving Day Feast with the Wampanoag Indians at the Plymouth Plantation in 1621. 
    • It was a 3-day festival and was largely a Native American style celebration.2 
    • The original fare reportedly included wild turkeys among other fowl, various fish, corn meal dishes, New World vegetables like onions and beans and fruits like cranberries and blueberries.3
  • Thanksgiving is celebrated as a national holiday in several locations throughout the world: 
    • the 4th Thursday of November in the United States and Puerto Rico, 
    • the 2nd Monday of October in Canada, 
    • the 1st Thursday of November in Liberia, and 
    • the last Wednesday of November in Norfolk Island. 
    • Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, and Grenada also have similar autumn holidays and harvest festivals called various forms of Thanksgiving.1
  • The traditional Thanksgiving foods we think of today were customized by Thanksgiving activist Sarah Josepha Hale in her account of New England Thanksgivings.
    • She is now most famous for writing the nursery rhyme “Mary Had A Little Lamb.” 
    • She lobbied Congress throughout five different presidencies to get Thanksgiving formalized as a national holiday. 
    • After decades of her efforts, President Lincoln declared the holiday in 1863 as an effort to unify the country during the Civil War.4
  • Thanksgiving was only the third official national holiday after the birthday of George Washington and Independence Day.1
  • The tradition of the Presidential pardoning of a turkey may have had its beginning with President Lincoln.
    • The president’s son Tad supposedly pleaded for the turkey’s life and his father obliged, although it was not an official event. 
    • George H.W. Bush was the first president to officially invoke the “Turkey Pardon” in 1989.5
  • The timing of Thanksgiving has long been recognized for its economic impact; during the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt attempted to move the holiday up a week in an effort to promote economic recovery. However, many states refused to participate and so the 4th Thursday of November remains the official Thanksgiving holiday.6 (source: http://www.history.com/news/abraham-lincoln-and-the-mother-of-thanksgiving).
  • The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade debuted in 1924. Spectators numbering 250,000 viewed the original parade, prompting it to become an annual event. The 1947 movie “Miracle on 34th Street” gave rise to the parade’s national and international fame, and it has over 50 million viewers worldwide today.7
  • The Friday after Thanksgiving historically marks the beginning of the holiday buying season, kick starting Christmas sales events that fulfill fourth-quarter retail earnings goals. 
    • According to accounting conventions, numbers that are colored black show positive revenue and red numbers indicate a deficit. 
    • The money generated by this shopping event has traditionally put retailers “in the black,” prompting it to be designated “Black Friday.”
Thanksgiving Black Friday

Tips On Avoiding the Family Fight:

Often, the holidays are an occasion that brings family from far-flung places together for a shared meal over the long weekend. Although most times a joyous affair, occasionally a conversation goes awry or old wounds are awakened and the atmosphere goes sour. 

One possibility for reducing this kind of possibility is to have a seating arrangement planned out. Separate friends or family members who are most likely to cause a scene and place them next to you or an trustworthy individual. 

Fixing A Thanksgiving Faux Pas   

If an argument breaks out anyway, especially if alcohol-fueled, intervene early with a statement like “I guess you both can agree to disagree.” If that doesn't work, distract the conversation with an off-topic question or ask the main contender for assistance in the other room. 

Keep the guests physically separated for a few minutes and perhaps offer a non-alcoholic beverage to allow them to cool off.   

Fixing a Faux Pas:

Again, because the holidays bring family together only few times a year, people may experience life changes that have not made the news circuit. 

Even though you may be talking to family or close friends, try to avoid bringing up personal topics. Be assured your guests will volunteer the developments they want you to know about. 

Brush off awkward situations between other guests by reminding and deflecting by saying something like “Oh grandma, we are all here to be thankful for the present and more importantly for the food, let’s have dessert!” 

If you are the one who brings up an inadvertently upsetting topic, just apologize and explain that you didn't know, then move the conversation to a different topic.    

Thanksgiving and “The Vegetarian”:

Popular culture has made a sport of dreading “the vegetarian” party guest, especially at Thanksgiving. However, it is unlikely that an invited guest with this lifestyle will pose a threat to your tradition because of it. 

Rae Lynn has a couple of tips to keep in mind regardless of your dietary preferences that will make you a better guest and/or host. If you are a vegetarian or follow a special diet and are invited to a traditional Thanksgiving meal, be sure to contact the host well before the event. 

Thankful for Vegans Thanksgiving Turkey

It is entirely appropriate to offer to bring a dish according to your preferences along with the explanation that you don’t expect to burden the host with your needs. The host may surprise you by telling you they have planned a delicious vegetarian dish anyway or thank you for your consideration. 

If you are hosting a gathering, whether or not you know of your guests preferences before hand, it is always a good idea to include a couple of easy, low-allergen and meat-free options (and not just for potential vegetarians!) 

They will add some variety and color to the spread that even the most dedicated carnivore could appreciate. Some tasty suggestions include: 

Have A Happy Thanksgiving!


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