As we approach the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday (related: LexBlog office closures), we wanted to take a moment to thank our growing readership, wish you a safe break, and share some fun holiday facts.

Regardless of whether or not you are a member of the LexBlog Network, we love bringing all things law blogging to you. Thank you for reading our varied (hopefully helpful) thoughts – tips, tricks, “do”s, “don’t”s, etc. We‘re in the process of brainstorming, as a group, ways to improve what we bring to you in 2016 (and, of course, there are more posts to come in December!).

To hold you over until next month while we all spend time with family and friends, here are 10 interesting Thanksgiving facts you can discuss over your turkey, crab, fish, corn, lentil or other meal:

Thank Hale

If you enjoy Thanksgiving, you should thank Sarah Josepha Hale. Throughout her life (1788-1879), Hale campaigned tirelessly to get the holiday established nationally as she believed it was important given the connection to the country’s founding. Her work paid off when President Lincoln issued a proclamation declaring Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863.

Bonus Fact: Hale wrote two dozen books and hundreds of poems including “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”

214 Miles

This is the average distance travelled around Thanksgiving by folks traveling (61 fewer than the average over Christmas and New Year’s).

Falsely Accused

The drowsy post-turkey effect is a myth. Though turkey contains tryptophan which does create serotonin, you must consume tryptophan on an empty stomach without other amino acids getting in the way in order for it to transform into serotonin.

Over-indulgence in combination with carb-heavy foods is most likely the culprit of our post-meal exhaustion.

98 Cents

The cost of the first frozen TV dinner, by Swanson. A miscalculated turkey sales year lead to the birth of the frozen TV dinner industry. From

In 1953, someone at Swanson colossally miscalculated the level of the American appetite for Thanksgiving turkey, leaving the company with some 260 tons of frozen birds…Swanson salesman Gerry Thomas, inspired by the trays of pre-prepared food served on airlines, [ordered] 5,000 aluminum trays, concocting a straightforward meal of turkey with corn-bread dressing and gravy, peas and sweet potatoes (both topped with a pat of butter). Recruiting an assembly line of women with spatulas and ice-cream scoops, Thomas and Swanson launched the TV dinner…

♫Dashing Through the Snow…♫

If you’re looking for some tunes to play while you gather, consider Jingle Bells! Believe it or not, Jingle Bells was originally written for Thanksgiving. From Reader’s Digest Canada:

James Pierpont wrote [the song] in 1857 for a Thanksgiving program at the large Boston church where he taught Sunday school. He titled his song “The One-Horse Open Sleigh” and made the rhythm so jaunty and the words so catchy that his 40 little Sunday schoolers learned it almost instantaneously. (A friend of Pierpont’s, admiring the song, called it a “merry little jingle,” and helped give the tune the name by which we know it today.) The children’s first performance was such a success that they were asked to repeat it at Christmastime, whereupon the sleigh apparently took on the identity of Santa’s sled, and “Jingle Bells” became a Christmas song forever.

55 MPH

The top speed of wild turkeys, which they can get up to in short flight bursts. Otherwise their typical top speed is 25 MPH.

Friday Was Almost “Big”ger

One of the earliest references to Black Friday in the post-Thanksgiving shopping sense was in December 1961. From Denny Griswold of Public Relations News:

In Philadelphia, it became customary for officers to refer to the post-Thanksgiving days as Black Friday and Black Saturday. Hardly a stimulus for good business, the problem was discussed by… merchants with their Deputy City Representative… He recommended adoption of a positive approach which would convert Black Friday and Black Saturday to Big Friday and Big Saturday.

But, as we all well know, “big” didn’t stick.


Turkey fossils have been unearthed around the U.S. and Mexico with some dating back to 5 millions years ago!

Breakin’ My Heart

Rumor has it, in the 1950s fields of turkeys dropped dead from cardiac arrest after the U.S. Air Force conducted test runs nearby to break the sound barrier.


The date of Thanksgiving was actually changed once by FDR in 1939 to try and boost the economy (holiday shopping sales).

Somewhat last minute, Roosevelt changed it from the last Thursday of November to the second to last Thursday. But only half of the states went along with him causing confusion. In fact, Texas decided to take BOTH holidays. As a result, in 1941, Congress stepped in and settled it with a compromise: Thanksgiving would fall on the fourth Thursday – which is sometimes the second to last and sometimes the last of every month.


From all of us at Please Advise, have a wonderful Thanksgiving! See you in December.


Image cropped. Original by Flickr Creative Commons user anjanettew.