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Thanksgiving Traditions to be Thankful For

“Twas the Eve of Thanksgiving and all through the house, there were smells of turkey, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce…”

Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday season every year with its’ splendor and traditions dating back to the very first Thanksgiving in 1621. While we reflect on what we are thankful for each year, and those things change, one thing stays the same – the food. In fact, Americans spend almost $2 million on Thanksgiving meals alone. The traditional turkey dinner with mashed potatoes, corn, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie for dessert can be found in homes across the nation. When it comes to the holidays, Americans like tradition – and stick it.

While traditions may have evolved from that very first Thanksgiving, the focus on family, friends, food and being thankful remains.

In grade school, children are first introduced to the history of Thanksgiving, and the story goes something like this: the colonists of Plymouth wanted to celebrate a successful corn harvest and to honor their Native American allies, the Wampanoag, they had a feast. It’s said that the celebration lasted 3 days, and according to surviving historical documents, the famed feast consisted of venison, porridge, and even lobster! (It was in Massachusetts, after all.) And while there may have been turkey, it was more likely that waterfowl or pigeons were the bird of honor as they were the most abundant.

Here’s what you may not have learned in grade school:

By 1621, several states had adopted a day of thanks, but it wasn’t until 1817 that New York became the first official state to declare one annually. In 1862, President Lincoln made it a national holiday for all of the U.S.

Following Lincoln, presidents would declare the day of thanks every year as tradition, but in 1941, Franklin D. Roosevelt named the 3rd Thursday in November as the official day that we now recognize.

In 2017, our traditions have evolved into pastimes. For over 90 years, families have kicked-off their Thanksgiving day festivities by gathering around the television to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. Balloon floats with pop culture icons, live performances, and high school bands from all over the country celebrate our Day of Thanks in a festive and colorful way. If parades aren’t your style, Thanksgiving is also a haven for football enthusiasts. Kicking up your feet and watching a game after the big meal is as “American as Apple Pie”.

But it’s not only about the fun, Thanksgiving is also about the food, and it has evolved over the last 400 years into the feast we know and love. For example, did you know that we consume over 50 million pumpkin pies, and over 40 million green bean casseroles every Thanksgiving? We also love to debate over where to put the stuffing – Is it inside the bird, or outside the bird?

But as is the spirit of the Holidays, acknowledging the people and things in your life that you’re thankful for is the best tradition. Coming together to spend time with the people you love is the very heart of this holiday, and from all of us at Genesis Products, we want to wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!