Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Thanksgiving Traditions and Trivia

Hi all, Winnie Griggs here. I know it's a bit early to be thinking about Thanksgiving, but this month, my first ever novella, Home For Thanksgiving, released. It’s part of a 2-in-1 in a holiday themed anthology titled Once Upon A Thanksgiving. And in honor of it being a Thanksgiving story, I thought I’d share a few bits of trivia and fun facts about this very special holiday.

Contrary to popular belief, the first recorded Thanksgiving in America was NOT celebrated at Plymouth Rock. Instead, after the pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock they decided to travel further south to set up their colony and ended up in the Cape Cod area, where the famous feast eventually took place.

That first Thanksgiving celebration lasted for 3 days.

Though celebrated widely, if intermittently, since the time of the pilgrims, Thanksgiving was not declared a national holiday until 1941.

When astronauts Aldrin and Armstrong prepared their first meal to eat on the moon, their foil food packets contained turkey.

91% of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving day. That translates to about 675 million pounds of the tasty fowl.

In addition to family gatherings and lavish meals, the most widespread American Thanksgiving traditions is watching football and watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. By the way, the first of these parades took place in 1924 and was first shown on television in 1939.

As for the traditions my family celebrates, there’s always a big family gathering, this year it’ll be at my home. We join hands and go around the circle with each person giving thanks as they feel led. Foods include the standard fare such as turkey, ham, cornbread dressing, deviled eggs, and sweet potatoes. We’ll also have gumbo, shrimp dressing, and whatever new dish any of a half dozen relatives feels led to try. And, oh my, the deserts!!

So what about you - how do you celebrate Thanksgiving and what are your own traditions?


  1. We don't have Thanksgiving. And it's not too soon to speak about Thanksgiving, we've been enjoying Christmas for some posts now.

    Crafties spoil their readers by bringing it earlier ;).

    Thank you for sharing the traditions.

    Much appreciated,

  2. Thanksgiving is not even recognized in my side of the world. But we regularly give thanks to God? Surprised? Such is life.

  3. Hi Winnie:

    For many years individual states had Thanksgiving Day on different days. Even the federal date was on different days until the current system was settled on. My mother used to say that when she was a girl they always had Thanksgiving on her birthday every year. (It was probably a state holiday). She was mad at Roosevelt for changing the date! As a very small child hearing this I thought that FDR did this just to spite my mother! You have to be careful what you tell kids. I never did like FDR after that. : )

    I’m writing a novella right now – if I can keep it short enough. I’d love to see how you did it and how many characters you managed to fit into the story. I bet there is still a lot of them. : )


  4. We have our Thanksgiving meal at my sister's house every year. My mom brings the turkey. We don't do the traditional carve the turkey when it's done kind of turkey. My mom makes up a few turkey breasts ahead of time, cuts them up, puts them in gravy and freezes them. On Thanksgiving Day she puts them in the Nesco to reheat. OH YUMMY-no dry turkey ever!!

    We all bring different side dishes and desserts to share.

    We always take family unit pictures in front of my sister's fireplace.

    And in recent years we've added a new tradition: we ALL watch one of the football games--we are GB Packer fans (live in WI) and they've been playing on Thanksgiving in recent years.

  5. It's actually too late for us Canadians since we celebrated Thanksgiving on the weekend of October 7 :)

    Great facts Winnie! Very interesting!

  6. Winnie, I just bought this book but haven't had a chance to read it yet! I'm looking forward to doing so though - can't wait! I love Thanksgiving. This year, it'll just be my husband and I. Kind of lonely! Our kids are all in college in distant states and we'll be getting together at Christmas in Calif. at my parents' house but Thanksgiving will be "on our own". I'm sure we'll think of something to do but mostly we'll just be thinking of how grateful we are for our blessings!

    Valri westernaz@msn.com

  7. Hello everyone - sorry I'm late responding, had to run to town this morning to run some errands.

    Teresa - so sorry you don't have Thanksgiving, it's one of my favorite holidays. And yes, we like spoiling our readers :)

  8. Hi Vince! Sounds like you've done a bit of research on Thanksgiving! And what a great story about your mom! Good luck on the novella. And yes, I did get quite a few secondaries into this story - you know me well :)

  9. Tracy - what lovely traditions your family has - I'm sure lots of great memories are being made! And how cool that y'all take family photos every year - I'm sure those are cherished by the whole family.

    Eva - hope your Thanksgiving was enjoyable and glad you enjoyed the post

  10. Will we see you for Thanksgiving, oh sister of mine?

  11. Tammy, oh-sister-of-mine, haven't you heard? I'm hosting the family feast this year. I'm counting on you and your family to head up this way...

  12. Teresa, where are you from?

    Winnie, I'd love to know more about shrimp dressing. Do you have a recipe to share?

    Thankgiving is a favorite day for me...our family gathers together and we eat! What's not to like! :)

    We go to church in the morning to give thanks and then have a fun time cooking the turkey and trimmings. Like your family, we go around the table and mention what we're thankful for...having all my children with me always makes me grateful.


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