The other day, I caught this show on the History channel about the history of Thanksgiving. I just assumed we celebrate the day our forefathers chilled with the Indians and gave them small pox. But, this show opened my eyes to a lot of unknown facts I would like to share with you.

First, a lot of people in America in the early 19th century did not celebrate the holiday. The southern states called Thanksgiving the Yankee Holiday and refused to participate in it. There was no national Thanksgiving Day. Although the Continental Congress wrote that all of the 13 colonies should celebrate a day of thanks, it was not until the late 19th century when Sarah Josepha Hale started campaigning for a national day for Thanksgiving. To her, Thanksgiving wasn’t a day to give thanks for surviving a war or a battle. Although those things were true, Hale thought Thanksgiving should be a day to call all the family together and celebrate the homecoming of members of the family who have moved away.

It was not until months after the Battle of Gettysburg, did the nation finally get a Thanksgiving Day written down.  Abraham Lincoln was the president who wrote the national holiday into law and decreed the last Thursday of November would be Thanksgiving.

Then as the Great Depression hit, many store owners started complaining that if they just had one more week of the Christmas season, they might be able to get more sales. FDR then changed Thanksgiving and moved it up to a week giving the Christmas Holiday season an extra week. People were annoyed that FDR just moved the date of the holiday, but in 1939, Thanksgiving was a week earlier.

So, this year, when you are eating turkey…think about not how we gave the Indians small pox and took their land. Think of the holiday in which Sarah Josepha Hale intended the holiday to be; a day in which family (doesn’t have to be the family you were born into, it could be the one you create) comes together and celebrates the fact you all have a place to come home to and someone who loves you is waiting for you to arrive to stuff your belly with food.