NEW JERSEY - The average Garden State resident will consume about 4,500 calories today. Now a bit of Thanksgiving Day trivia won't keep the calorie count down, but it is fun and just may keep the kiddos busy while they are waiting for the turkey to finally hit the table. So, let's talk turkey!

  • Forget the bald eagle, Benjamin Franklin was all about turkey. Franklin even wanted to make turkey the country's national bird. While turkey didn't receive that honor it does have a holiday centered all around it even though the Pilgrims most likely did not eat turkey on the First Thanksgiving.
  • President Thomas Jefferson refused to make Thanksgiving a national holiday because it contained a prayer. Jefferson was a staunch believer in keeping church and state separate. It was President Abraham Lincoln who made Thanksgiving a national holiday.
  • What did Sarah Josepha Hale have to do with Thanksgiving? Hale was a writer and editor who made it her mission to convince Lincoln to make Thanksgiving a national holiday. Hale's is perhaps best known for penning the classic children's poem "Mary Had a Little Lamb," but she also had a big hand in the annual tradition.


  • While Lincoln declared the fourth Thursday in November Thanksgiving Day, President Roosevelt moved it back to the third in order to add more shopping days to the holiday season during the Depression. Americans were not fans and in 1942 it was moved back.
  • Thank Campbell Soup for the dreaded or yummy green bean casserole, depending on your point of view. The Thanksgiving side dish staple was created by Dorcas Reilly in 1955 for a Campbell Soup Cookbook. Reilly worked for the company and will be forever known as the "Grandmother of the Green Bean Casserole."
  • The first Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade took flight in 1924 without its signature balloons. Instead there were animals from the Central Park Zoo. Balloons began flying high in 1927 with Felix the Cat being the first character balloon. Disney's Mickey Mouse joined in 1934 with Snoopy taking part in the fun in 1968.
  • The average turkey consumed on Thanksgiving weighs about 15 pounds. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the heaviest bird weighed in at 86 pounds. President Truman started the Turkey pardon tradition in 1947.
  • Thanksgiving inspired the creation of the first TV dinners in 1933 when the food giant Swanson found itself with more than 260 tons of leftover turkey. Millennials are credited with coining the term Friendsgiving though friends have long been gathering around the Thanksgiving table together. The word became part of the Urban Dictionary in 2009.
  • Minnesota wins the prize for raising the most turkeys with North Carolina coming in second.
  • Deer was probably the meal of choice at the first Thanksgiving not turkey.
  • Pumpkin pies originated in England, dating back to the 17th cdntury,
  • The cornucopia comes from Greek mythology.
  • Canada's Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday of October.
  • The only place in Australia that celebrates Thanksgiving is Norfolk Island.
  • The first Thanksgiving lasted three days.

Happy Thanksgiving!