Most Americans have established Thanksgiving day traditions - whether it's watching the parades and/or football on TV or the specifics sides to their Thanksgiving feast. Many of the shared traditions have been handed down from generation to generation but do you know where they came from?  


The first Macy’s parade in the early 1920’s did NOT include balloons.  Parade floats included puppets, singers, celebrities and Santa – but not balloons. In 1924 the parade included animals from the Central Park Zoo!


The birth of the TV dinner

1n 1953, Swanson accidentally ordered way too much turkey. Salesman Gerry Thomas suggested they prepare them as meals with turkey and sides and serve on aluminum trays like those on airlines – they were an accidental hit at less than $1 each.


Presidential Tradition

Turkeys have been given a pass from presidents as early as 1863, when Abraham Lincoln granted a turkey clemency. Turkeys have been given to presidents from other countries, dignitaries and later the poultry industry.

The presidential pardon has been sporadic through history – President Kennedy granted a reprieve, President Nixon sent one to a children’s farm. Rosalynn Carter sent their presented turkey to a farm mini zoo.  With Regan’s presidency the ceremony of sending the turkey off to a farm became a norm and an amusing event for reporters to write about.

In 1989, George H. W. Bush’s official presidential pardon kicked off the current presidential tradition.


Mayday! Mayday!

Turkey emergency? Or maybe you’re just not sure where to start? Reach out to the Butterball Turkey Talk Line!


The hotline was established after 6 home economists answered 11,000 calls with turkey-related questions. The hotline has kept up with changing technology and those with questions can reach out via phone, text, online chat, email and even Alexa!


Looking for still more fun Thanksgiving facts? You can find some here! 


Whatever you do, and however you celebrate the day, enjoy!


Happy Thanksgiving!