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The History of Thanksgiving and Eating Turkey

  • Nov 1, 2018
  • Customer Appreciation, Employee Engagement

Facts You Never Knew About Thanksgiving Tradition


Thanksgiving is a day most Americans associate with feasting around the table with family. As the name suggests, it’s a day to give thanks.


According to the National Turkey Federation, 95% of Americans eat turkey at Thanksgiving.


So how did this tradition come about?


From Fasting to Feasting: The History of Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving as we know it today is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. You can thank President Roosevelt for establishing it in 1941.


However, during the 1600’s, devoutly religious pilgrims observed a day of thanksgiving with prayer and fasting, not feasting.


It wasn’t until 1789 when President Washington declared November 26, 1789 as a national day of “thanksgiving and prayer.” Then, in the early 1800’s, the annual presidential Thanksgiving proclamations ceased for 45 years.


Fast forward to 1863 and the tradition of Thanksgiving proclamations resumed thanks to President Abraham Lincoln.


Turkey Facts: What’s So Special About Turkeys?


Although there was no turkey at the first Thanksgiving, nowadays it’s the holiday food of choice.


Turkeys are American birds, but were named after the country.


Believe it or not, in the early 20th century, turkeys were nearly extinct! Nowadays they are so numerous that some consider them a nuisance.


And while you may feel tired during a Thanksgiving meal, it’s most likely not due to consuming turkey. Even though turkey meat contains the amino acid tryptophan, which can have a calming effect, you’d have to eat a lot of turkey to notice an effect.


The drowsy feeling after a big Thanksgiving meal is probably due to carbs and excessive eating. Darn!


How to Choose the Perfect Turkey


If you’re hosting a Thanksgiving dinner this year, or need turkey for another reason, it’s important to know how much you’ll need. A few questions to consider:


  • How many people will you be serving?
  • How many guests are adults versus children?
  • Are you guests light or heavy eaters?
  • Are you hoping for leftovers?

We know there’s a lot to plan, which is why we’ve designed the perfect calculators to help you better understand what size turkey you will need.  


Are you looking to give a turkey as a gift this holiday season? We have the perfect solution for you.


Butterball Gift Checks: The Perfect Alternative


While you may know what size turkey you need for your Thanksgiving dinner, it’s harder to estimate how much your friends, employees or customers would need if you wanted to contribute to their holiday meal.


Butterball Gift Checks are the perfect alternative to a giving cooked or frozen turkey. With this option, there is no need to calculate the perfect turkey weight. You simply choose a denomination and your recipient can purchase a turkey of their choosing, or even other food items that meet their dietary needs and tastes.


Plus, Butterball Gift Checks are customizable with a logo and personal message, have no minimum order requirements, and the gift checks never expire!


Ready to try Butterball Gift Checks? Contact us at 888.876.GIFT (4438) to request an estimate, purchase now or learn more about the program.