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- The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade didn’t feature any balloons. If you can’t imagine the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade without giant floats featuring your favorite characters, you’d probably barely recognize the first parade in the early 1920s. It did have puppets riding the floats, as well as singers and celebrities and of course, Santa Claus. And when the Thanksgiving parade made its big debut in 1924, it did have something that might be even crazier than balloons – animals from the Central Park Zoo.
- About 46 million turkeys are cooked for Thanksgiving each year. Thanksgiving without turkey would be like Christmas without a tree, and most American families consider it equally blasphemous. While not super popular the rest of the year, turkey is a huge hit for holidays, perhaps because it really serves a crowd. On Christmas, 22 million families host an encore with yet another turkey.
- A Thanksgiving mix-up inspired the first TV dinners. In 1953, a Swanson employee accidentally ordered a colossal shipment of Thanksgiving turkeys (260 tons, to be exact). To get rid of them all, salesman Gerry Thomas took inspiration from the prepared foods served on airplanes. He came up with the idea of filling 5,000 aluminum trays with the turkey – along with cornbread dressing, gravy, peas and sweet potatoes to round out the meal. The 98-cent meals were a hit, especially with kids and increasingly busy households. Within one year, over 10 million were sold and a whole industry was born.
- You might consume up to 229 grams of fat during the big meal. You might want to put on those stretchy pants before heading to Thanksgiving dinner (as if you needed a warning!). We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but that’s about three to four times the amount of fat you should eat in a day. And this is probably not news to those of us who go for second or third helpings of the big meal, but the entire Thanksgiving dinner could total over 3,000 calories. Now, who’s up for tossing around a pigskin after we eat?