Thanksgiving is the second most popular holiday in the U.S. after Christmas, with nearly 90 percent of Americans celebrating every year.
According to estimates by the National Turkey Foundation, 46 million turkeys are consumed on Thanksgiving. This means that 20% of the 228 million turkeys consumed in the U.S. each year are eaten on Thanksgiving. And 22% of the turkeys we eat come from Minnesota.
Americans celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday on the fourth Thursday of November. The day usually starts with watching one of the many parades, preparing the turkey and all the trimmings, and then there is football followed by more football. Most families follow traditions and in our family we make it a family affair to do the preparation and the cooking. Our granddaughter stuffs the turkey, my husband makes the best lumpy mashed potatoes, our daughter prepares the vegetables, our son-in-law carves the turkey, and our grandson helps set the table and says the prayer. I am the gravy maker. When dinner is ready we all share what we are thankful for. This always brings tears to my eyes. Love of family is what life is all about.
Any look at Thanksgiving by the numbers would be lacking if travel went unmentioned. Americans expend a lot of effort to get back home and spend the holiday with their families. According to the American Automobile Association, an estimated 46.9 million Americans traveled at least 50 miles to reach their Thanksgiving destination last year.
Setting aside time to give thanks for one’s blessings, along with holding feasts to celebrate a harvest, are both practices that long predate the European settlement of North America.