5. FDR’s cunning plan worked: the holiday weekend is now a huge shopping occasion in the US – the National Retail Foundation reckons that about 164 million people, or 69% of Americans, will hit the stores over the weekend. Black Friday – the day after Thanksgiving – traditionally gets the Christmas shopping season under way, with retailers opening either overnight or very early on the Friday morning.
Black Friday’s evil twin is Cyber Monday, a more recent concept, first noted in 2005. The term “Black Friday” is thought to date from 1961. Cyber Monday is the Monday after Thanksgiving, when online retailers lure shoppers with deep discounts. According to Wikipedia, Cyber Monday is observed in countries around the world, from the US and Australia to the UK and Peru.
6. As well as the country, there are six places in the US called Turkey: in North Carolina, West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Arkansas and Texas, and one place – in Queensland – in Australia.
If the thought of all that Turkey (sorry) has made you think of cranberry sauce, you’ll be glad to hear that there are four places in the world called Cranberry – all in the US: Cranberry, West Virginia; Cranberry, Pennsylvania; Cranberry, North Carolina and Cranberry, Maryland.
7. President Donald Trump carried on the tradition on November 21 2017, just ahead of the first Thanksgiving of his presidency. The spared birds, called Drumstick and Wishbone, were presented to him by the National Turkey Federation, which has officially given the sitting president a bird for his Thanksgiving dinner since 1947.
President John F Kennedy is thought to have been the first president to spare the bird’s life, just four days before he was assassinated in November 1963, while Ronald Reagan was the first to officially pardon the bird, in 1987. Subsequent presidents – both Bushes, Clinton and Obama – have all pardoned their turkeys, sending them to a farm to live out their lives in peace.