7 Weird Thanksgiving Facts That Will Blow Your Mind!

When Thanksgiving comes around, it’s a time for family and being together with those closest to you. However, did you know some of the oddness that surrounds this holiday? Well, here are some weird facts that you may not have known!

                                                                           (Digital illustration by Brianna Bell)


  1. Thomas Jefferson thought Thanksgiving would be a “ridiculous” holiday. When the first Thanksgiving was held, at the same time in all 13 colonies in the late 1700s, President Jefferson “scoffed at the notion, calling Thanksgiving "the most ridiculous idea" ever conceived.” (source:  

  2. Benjamin Franklin wanted the Turkey to be the US’ official bird. Franklin thought that the Bald Eagle wasn’t up to par with the Turkey. As Time magazine describes it, “Benjamin Franklin had such an affinity for turkey that he lobbied to make it the national bird (to no avail).”  

  3. Jingle bells was meant to be a Thanksgiving song! The song Jingle Bells was originally meant to be sung during thanksgiving, as the composer James Pierpont intended. But as time went on,  list25 says,  “It gained popularity so quickly that it was repeated again at Christmas, and then again, and again, and again.”  

  4. The  author for “Mary Had a Little Lamb” is the most responsible for making Thanksgiving a holiday. According to, “During the Civil War, [Sarah Josepha] Hale wrote a letter to President Abraham Lincoln and Secretary of State William Seward in 1863 calling upon the leaders to declare Thanksgiving a national holiday. The president followed suit, ultimately leading to a fixed time of annual celebration over the years.” 

  5. Pardoning Turkey’s wasn’t a thing until the 20th century. According to, “Beginning in the mid-20th century and perhaps even earlier, the president of the United States has “pardoned” one or two Thanksgiving turkeys each year, sparing the birds from slaughter and sending them to a farm for retirement. A number of U.S. governors also perform the annual turkey pardoning ritual.”  

  6. There is Thanksgiving BEEF! Not actual beef, but there has been speculation that the  Thanksgiving we American’s claim as having the first of, may not be the first at all! “For some scholars, the jury is still out on whether the feast at Plymouth really constituted the first Thanksgiving in the United States.” Says “…historians have recorded other ceremonies of thanks among European settlers in North America that predate the Pilgrims’ celebration.” It’s still up for debate. What do you think?  

  7. Thanksgiving is actually quite popular! This fact came as a surprise to me. According to Toby Lyles and Amy Roberts article, "Thanksgiving by the Numbers" Thanksgiving is ranked as America's second most popular holiday, after Christmas. And here I thought Halloween was the second most popular holiday; I guess you learn something new every day.