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Where are some good Thanksgiving trivia that none has heard about?

For kids things like “Turkeys originated in America, not Turkey” may be enough. I need Thanksgiving ideas to entertain grown-up writers—really unusual Thanksgiving facts. “All the names on the passenger list of the Mayflower” is the kind of Thanksgiving trivia this crowd would probably chant in unison.

Curtis Rhodes

in Events and Holidays

1 answer

1 answer

Ralph Lopez on November 15, 2018

Anything related to the celebration recorded of the Coronado expedition in Texas, in 1541, would be fresh trivia about Thanksgiving for many people. Then there’s the life and work of Sarah Josepha Hale, publisher of the first women’s magazine in America, activist in the cause of making Thanksgiving a legal holiday, and author of several popular works including a jingle that’s still familiar today. A surprising number of US history buffs are barely aware of Canada’s and Liberia’s Thanksgiving traditions; several don’t know that Germany and Austria have a minor holiday that has a name translated into English as “Thanksgiving Sunday.”

The following websites offer one-liners that suggest a Thanksgiving idea for a trivia game: Check the fun facts they present, then find more facts, that have not been posted to the website, for your trivia collector friends. 

(Was turkey served at the first Thanksgiving feast? We don’t know. The only written document of the event was a letter by Edward Winslow, who mentioned that Pilgrims and Wampanoags feasted for three days, but named no specific foods. At a feast of this size, without a formal written record, he probably didn’t know what other people ate. Wild turkeys were in the vicinity; other kinds of game and fish were more easily caught. Trivia lovers have debated the probability that turkey was available at the first Thanksgiving for years.)

Another game for real trivia collectors might be for each person to share the most unusual Thanksgiving fact they’ve found this year and the one who can document the fact that’s new to most people wins.

Some people expand their search for weird holiday facts into crafts and displays for the workplace; a web search should provide some visual ideas.

Printable pages of trivia worksheets, quizzes, and fun facts are usually marketed to elementary schools. For adults, if food, football, shopping, and the family gathering aren’t enough and the weather is unfavorable for outdoor sports, you might also want to get serious: talk about the good things for which people are thankful, then pass on the blessings with donations to charity.

Cynthia Bakera year ago

Part of the fun is decorating the buffet table! My favorite Thanksgiving idea is decorating our Florida dining room with New England images. While our Southern Thanksgiving dinner menu includes local (Florida) specialties like fish, “everbearing” strawberries, and early oranges, I decorate with corn stalks, wheat sheaves, apples, cranberries, and colorful autumn leaves. The Internet is full of printable images. If you only print them out for your own use, they don’t need to be in the public domain. However, in the same vein as adults’ coloring books, I suppose, I like to cut and fold my own three-dimensional paper, cardboard, and fabric replicas of all those New England things that are available in Florida but are certainly not local. We try to be locavores as much as possible. Many fruits and vegetables at our Thanksgiving dinner come from our own garden, and the spices come from the kitchen. 

Jessie Thompsona year ago

Is everyone aware of the Gutenberg Project? has digital versions of lots of old, out-of-print books. You can read them online, print them, or download them, for no charge. Books from the nineteenth century are full of Thanksgiving ideas and Thanksgiving trivia, even though sources like “Parson” Mason Locke Weems, who was widely accepted back then, have now been discredited. They have delightfully vintage drawings, woodcuts, and other graphics. Even the handset type provides a wonderful “old times” atmosphere. The project is still recruiting volunteers to digitize more material. 

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