Thanksgiving…a time to give thanks. Whether you spend your holiday traveling to be with family, spend the day with friends if you live far from most of your family, have a cozy day at home, or maybe you are working. Whatever you’re doing, this is the time to give thanks!

Have you ever wondered what the history is behind Thanksgiving! We searched around, and found this educational – but short – video about how Thanksgiving became a national holiday!

And how about the traditions of Thanksgiving in the US? For many, it means a harvest feast of turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, apple pie (you can never have too many kinds of pie)!

One of the most “famous” Thanksgiving traditions is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Can you take a guess what year the first parade was held? 1924!

The very first parade includes live animals from Central Park. Then years later, the very first balloon type character was unveiled – Felix the Cat! (www.macys.com)

Another American traditions is watching football. According to www.usatoday.com it all started with the Detroit Lions.

“In 1934, the newly created Lions, in an effort to appeal to fans in their inaugural season, played the world champion Chicago Bears. Although the Lions lost 19-16, the game had a strong turnout – 26,000 seats sold – and was broadcast nationally on NBC Radio. The Lions have remained a holiday fixture, playing a game on Thanksgiving Day every year since 1945.”

Another tradition is the presidential turkey pardon – also thanks to www.usatoday.com.

“Its origins are a bit murky. According to a 2011 blog post on the White House website, President George H.W. Bush in 1989 was the first president to grant a pardon – the turkey in question was sent to, of all places, Frying Pan Park in Herndon, Va. – but other presidents have also been credited with offering reprieves. In one story, President Lincoln’s son, Tad, pleaded with his father to let the turkey destined for the family’s Christmas dinner to live. In 1963, President John F. Kennedy returned a turkey from National Turkey Federation. President Richard Nixon also turned away turkeys, sending them to a petting farm.”

And of course Black Friday – the start of the holiday season!

“Thanksgiving traditions don’t end on Thanksgiving Day. In the 1950s, the day after Thanksgiving was called Black Friday by factory managers because so many workers called in sick, according to Harvard historian Nancy Koehn, on Marketplace.org. In the 1960s, the Philadelphia Police Department took to calling the day Black Friday to describe the traffic jams, crowds and shoplifters during the start of the holiday shopping season. It wasn’t until the 1980s that merchants tried to recast the name as something positive. “They did so by pointing to all the ‘black ink’ that showed up on balance sheets as a result of the day,” according to Koehn.”

We hope you’ve enjoyed this look at Thanksgiving, it’s traditions, history and more. Enjoy your day!

Sincerely,

The Timber Block Team.

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