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Thanksgiving 2018: 9 things you probably didn't know about the holiday

Each year, Thanksgiving comes around with with the giddy anticipation of devouring comfort food and spending some QT with loved ones, which reminds you just what what you are thankful for the most. 

>> Thanksgiving 2018: 5 things shoppers forget to buy for their holiday meal

The rich, deep history of this centuries-old tradition is woven into the United States' cultural fabric, yet, there are still many aspects of the holiday that most Americans don’t know.

>> Thanksgiving 2018: 5 of the least healthy holiday dishes

To resolve that general lack of Thanksgiving knowledge, we’ve gathered nine interesting and unusual facts about Thanksgiving you might not have known.

When did Thanksgiving begin?

The holiday is believed to have begun in Massachusetts at the Plymouth Colony in 1621. The famous harvest feast was celebrated by the Pokanoket tribe and the colonists. The Plymouth Colony was composed of pilgrims, who were a part of the English Separatist Church. They traveled from England to the "New World" aboard a boat called the Mayflower in search of a place where they could practice their religion freely. 

What foods were served?

Just as expected, turkey could have been served during the first Thanksgiving. Edward Winslow, the Pilgrim chronicler, wrote that before the dinner men went on a "fowling" mission to catch some bird meat. Fall produce that would have just been harvested was also on the menu, including grapes, plums and that Thanksgiving staple, cranberries. Unlike present-day Thanksgiving meals, seafood, such as lobster, bass and oysters, were also featured prominently during the early days of the holiday.

When did it become a national holiday?

It wasn't until nearly 200 years later that President Abraham Lincoln announced that every last Thursday of November would be a national day of thanksgiving. In 1941, the feast became an official national holiday by an act of Congress.

Guess which Thanksgiving-related fowl Benjamin Franklin wanted to represent the U.S.A.?

If you guessed the good ole turkey, then you are right. Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers, had much love for the bird and deemed it "much more respectable" than our current national bird, the eagle.

The turkey's name was born out of confusion.

When Christopher Columbus landed on America, he thought he was in India. So he named turkeys after the "tuka," which is an Indian word for the peacock. Maybe it was their similar feather pattern that contributed to the mix-up.

Not just Americans celebrate it.

Canadians observe Thanksgiving, too. It's called l'Action de grâce and has been celebrated since 1578. The holiday was founded on the same principles as the United States' Thanksgiving, which is the grateful breaking of bread with each other during harvest time. The weekend before the holiday, which is on the second Monday in October, is when citizens feast on staples, such as turkey, corn and mashed potatoes.

>> Read more trending news 

Other countries with holidays similar to Thanksgiving include Germany's Erntedankfest and Japan's Niinamesai. Grenada, Liberia, the Netherlands and Norfolk Island also recognize their own Thanksgivings.

Thank the holiday for TV dinners.

Due to a 26-ton surplus of Swanson turkeys back in 1953, the company decided to try to sell the extra birds. They sliced the frozen meat and repackaged it, which gave way to the modern-day TV dinner.

Turkey has inspired the names of several American cities.

Yes, there are towns named after the turkey. There's Turkey, North Carolina, Turkey Creek, Louisiana, and Turkey, Texas. As you can imagine, there are plenty of wild turkeys in Turkey, North Carolina, that like to hang out in the wetlands.

Thanksgiving has become the unofficial favorite holiday for NFL games. 

The Detriot Lions and the Dallas Cowboys have a reputation for playing on the holiday. The Detroit Lions started the tradition in 1934 because the team's owner George A. Richards wanted to drum up excitement for the then-new team. The Dallas Cowboys have played on Thanksgiving since 1966, because, back then, their general manager, Tex Schramm, saw it as a way to get national attention.

Christmas 2018: When should you put up your Christmas tree?

While it may never reach the level of controversy of how to hang the toilet paper roll or which way to load the dishwasher, the right time to put up the Christmas tree is a heavily-debated household topic.

>> Amazon to ship live Christmas trees this season

There are answers to this question that depend on everything from Prince Albert to the opinion of tree growers to something called Adelaide Pageant Day.

Whether you're undecided on the best time to put up your Christmas tree or are merely looking for reinforcement for your preferred date, at least one of these timing traditions is bound to work for you:

Forbidding the tree before turkeys

The ultimate etiquette authority, Miss Manners, doesn't specify when you should put up the tree, but does note succinctly that it isn't done before Thanksgiving.

The nouveau 12 days of Christmas approach

In days of yore, the 12 days of Christmas started with Christmas Day and wrapped up on Jan. 6, also known as the Feast of the Epiphany. Apartment Therapy suggests a more modern 12 Days of Christmas tree strategy, putting up the tree for around 12 days beginning in mid-December and taking it down right after Christmas.

>> Christmas 2018: Target to offer cheese Advent calendar this season

This dovetails nicely with advice from the British Christmas Tree Growers Association, which noted in The Telegraph that while it's cool to buy live trees from Dec. 1 onward, the middle of the festive season, around the third week of Advent, is a good compromise between putting the tree up immediately and waiting for Christmas Eve.

Prince Albert

Queen Victoria's husband, Prince Albert, is widely heralded as the man who lit up the Victorian Christmas tree tradition in the 1840s, bringing it to Britain from his native Germany. If you want to stick with the original Christmas Tree timeline of Albert and his German forebears, go with Christmas Eve. 

The Aussie approach

According to Monash University religious diversity professor Gary Bouma in The Age, the established guideline in Australia is not to put up the tree before December, but not everyone abides by it.

>> Christmas 2018: Rise in online shopping could lead to holiday shipping delays

By "not everyone," he may mean the full 14 percent of Be a Fun Mum blog readers, who said they put up the tree in early November. They did restrain themselves until after something known as Adelaide Pageant Day, the second Saturday of November. And they are in solidarity with the Fun Mum herself, who says she put her tree up in early November because, "My mum always did. I love Christmas and like to string it out."

Viva Italiana

You may be leaning toward putting the tree up the first week of December anyhow, but this Italian tradition provides a good reason for it. According to Italy Magazine, Italian Christmas traditions begin on Dec. 8 with the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a date set in the Catholic calendar in 1476 by Pope Sixtus IV.

Since Dec. 8 is a public holiday and most Italians get the day off, it has become the day when many of them put up their Christmas trees and other holiday decor.

The final word on when to put up your tree

Assuming your own family tradition isn't already firmly in place, Southern Living gets the last word on the best time to put up the Christmas tree. That's because the ultimate authorities on Southern taste on all things mayo and wicker are also so darn sensible and inclusive on this topic: "We pass no judgement, but here are the times for when to put up your Christmas decorations. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is the earliest that you should set up a Christmas tree or put up Christmas-specific decorations."

>> Read more trending news 

The reason you shouldn't do it earlier? "It is inconsiderate for your beautiful tree to steal the thunder from your big turkey dinner."

As for the latest time to put up the tree, that would be Christmas Eve, a nod to bygone, less holiday-crazed times.

Thanksgiving 2018: 5 things shoppers forget to buy for their holiday meal

As shoppers rush around during the frantic holiday season among major crowds, they easily forget that last item on the Thanksgiving dinner list, store managers said.

The five most commonly forgotten buys are cream cheese, cream of mushroom soup for casseroles and gravy, celery, butter and sweet potatoes, according to Meijer.

>> Which grocery stores are open on Thanksgiving Day 2018?

Average families are expected to spend less than $5 per person for Thanksgiving meals this year, according to a survey by the American Farm Bureau Federation. This year’s cost of $48.90 for 10 people is down 22 cents from last year.

>> Thanksgiving store hours: 70-plus stores will be closed on Thanksgiving Day 2018

“Since 2015, the average cost of Thanksgiving dinner has declined steadily and is now at the lowest level since 2010,” said AFBF Chief Economist Dr. John Newton.

Yet shoppers will buy 18,000 gallons of canned corn at Meijer alone this holiday season, the company said. That’s enough to fill 38 swimming pools.

>> Read more trending news 

The grocer will also sell 1.8 million pounds of red, white and yellow potatoes and 904,000 pounds of canned yams. It also plans to sell more than 850,000 turkeys.

Meijer has more than 240 stores. Most stores are open 24 hours, but Thanksgiving deals begin at 6 a.m.

Golden Globes, please give GLOW standout Chris Lowell some love

Netflix’s GLOW is, of course, about gorgeous (and smart, funny, flawed) women who wrestle, so it’s fitting that most of the awards attention has focused on the two lead actresses, Betty Gilpin (Debbie/Liberty Belle) and Alison Brie (Ruth/Zoya). But as we look ahead to the Golden Globes nominations on Dec. 6, I’d like to make a plea to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for one of GLOW’s Outstanding Supporting Actors, Chris Lowell.

As GLOW’s wealthy and carefree producer Sebastian “Bash” Howard, Lowell spent most of season 1 doing straightforward comedy. Bash has big ideas but not enough common sense to back them up; he’s the kind of guy who thinks a coke-and-condom dispensing robot is a worthwhile investment. But in season 2, as a falling out with his best friend/soulmate Florian causes Bash to confront — or, more accurately, flee from — the truth about his own sexuality, Lowell brings Bash’s desperate loneliness and confusion to the surface. Many of the most moving moments of his performance this season are wordless, as when Bash arrives at a place called Shenanigans looking for Florian, and realizes, to his dismay, that it’s a gay bar.

The true gut-punch moment, though, comes in the penultimate episode, “Rosalie,” as Bash and Debbie are getting drunk in Anaheim, celebrating their successful, Muppets Take Manhattan-inspired whisper campaign for GLOW at a TV buyer’s convention. Bash receives a call on his giant ‘80s cell phone and learns that Florian has passed away — the cause of death, says the nurse, is “technically pneumonia.” The news hits Bash like an earthquake, but all we see are the tiny aftershocks that ripple across his face.

It’s wonderful that the GLOW writers are giving Lowell more dramatic material to work with this season — while also letting him deliver some of the funniest ringside moments. Bash’s announcer style is part stream-of-consciousness, part childlike enthusiasm, and all volume, and I don’t think I laughed harder at anything this season than Announcer Bash’s loud lament, delivered with all-caps bombast, after Zoya kidnapped Liberty Belle’s daughter (actually just a random kid from the audience).

Lowell helped take Bash Howard from an almost-caricature to a full-fledged character, with a beating and broken heart beneath his Malibu Ken exterior. For a performance that was sweet and silly, funny and heartfelt, I hope Golden Globes voters give him a shot at the title.

The Golden Globes will air Sunday, Jan. 9, 2019, on NBC. GLOW season 2 is streaming now on Netflix.

Tatyana Ali Forgot This 'Fresh Prince' Scene Even Existed!

Tatyana Ali played Ashley Banks on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” from 1990 to 1996.

PEOPLE Now airs live, Monday through Friday, from the Meredith offices in New York City.

Catch PEOPLE Now every weekday at 12:00 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT on or on the PeopleTV app on your favorite streaming device. Want even more? Check out clips from previous episodes of PEOPLE Now.

David Arquette Opens Up About His Bloody Wrestling 'Death Match': 'I'm Lucky to Be Alive'

For the past six months, David Arquette had been training for and competing in wrestling matches, but on Nov. 16, a so-called Death Match nearly cost him his life.

“I’m lucky to be alive,” Arquette, 47, tells PEOPLE just after leaving the hospital for an infection stemming from a deep cut in his neck. “If I had been cut in the jugular, I probably wouldn’t be here right now.”

The actor was in the middle of a match with wrestler Nick Gage when he went into self-described “defense mode.”

Says Arquette: “Sometimes they use those florescent light tubes and I got cut and started seeing dripping blood and I panicked. I turned around too quickly and the end of a broken bulb got me in my neck. It was gruesome.”

He went to the hospital where they sewed up his neck, but went back to the hospital the next day when “I woke up with the shivers and a swollen neck.”

In surgery, Arquette was informed that he had cut part of his neck muscle. “Doctors call that The Box because it’s such a dangerous place to get punctured,” he says. “It was really scary.”

RELATED: David Arquette Hospitalized After Being in a ‘Wrestling Death Match’: ‘I Knew It Was Violent’

Now, Arquette is reflecting on the incident, and why he took up the dangerous sport in the first place.

“Eighteen years ago, I won a WCW World Heavyweight Belt,” says Arquette. “But that win was a big disgrace to the belt and the wrestling community and ever since people have been criticizing me. I really wanted to prove myself and stand up for myself. I was sick of being bullied and for people thinking I’m just some punk from Hollywood.”

So, the father of three began training with Peter Avalon and lost over 50 pounds with diet and exercise.

Still, he admits that he knew little about Death Matches, during which there are “no rules and no disqualifications.”

View this post on Instagram I’m all stitched up. Thank you to all the fans for the love. Sorry I made Miss Elisabeth cry A post shared by David Arquette (@davidarquette) on Nov 17, 2018 at 1:59am PST

RELATED: Exes Courteney Cox and David Arquette Reunite for Rare Family Photo with Teen Daughter Coco

Says Arquette: “I didn’t know the extent of how hardcore those things are. I was in over my head for sure.”

His wife Christina McLarty was “freaked out,” Arquette admits. “Luckily I asked her not to come because I had a feeling it was going to be a scary situation.”

But despite everything, he’s not ready to turn in the towel completely.

“I’m really lucky,” Arquette admits. “But I love wrestling and I will do it again. But I will never do another Death Match.”

N.C. Principal Accused of Raping 12-Year-Old Student Is Found Dead in Apparent Suicide Days Later

A North Carolina school principal who committed suicide was found dead days after a warrant was issued for his arrest on allegations he raped a 12-year-old student, police allege.

Richard Omar Knight, 35, was the principal at Dillard Academy in Goldsboro. Authorities confirm that they will still investigate the allegations against him after his death and have others to come forward if they were harmed by him.

Knight, who lived in Smithfield, was fired after being charged Friday with raping an underage student on campus.

Police first learned of the allegations Thursday. An arrest warrant was issued the following day.

• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.

On Monday, a pair of hunters happened upon Knight’s body, which was hanging from a tree in the woods of Orange County. The hunters immediately called police.

A statement from police, obtained by PEOPLE, claims a deer camera one of the hunters had set up captured Knight as he was making his way through the woods to the site of his death.

Police found his car parked at a nearby gas station.

Police ask that anyone with information pertinent to this case call or text Crime Stoppers at 919-735-2255 or submit a tip at

Billie Lourd Reveals the Thanksgiving 'Tradition' Grandma Debbie Reynolds Did 'Really Poorly'

Billie Lourd is perfecting a fun family Thanksgiving “tradition” she inherited from her late grandmother Debbie Reynolds.

The American Horror Story actress, 26, revealed her unconventional family secret while on The Late Late Show with James Corden on Tuesday night.

“Cooking is a dangerous thing for me, I’m pretty inept in the kitchen,” Lourd said after host James Corden asked her what she planned to make for the holiday dinner.

“It’s kind of scary, it’s a dangerous time,” she joked. “So, what I do is lie, I bring something from a great restaurant and I put it in a sad little box and pretend like I did it.”

Lourd explained the lie had “become a family tradition vibe” and added, “my grandma used to do it.”

Billie Lourd and Debbie Reynolds

RELATED: Billie Lourd Says American Horror Story ‘Saved My Life’ After Death of Mom Carrie Fisher

“She did it really poorly. One year, she decided she was going to make everything and she said she was going to make everything,” she recalled. “[She] put [the food] out. My dad and I were serving the food on the plates and we were like, ‘This isn’t looking great.'”

Lourd continued: “And we checked under [the table] and it’s El Pollo Loco. At least put it in a different dish!”

While the actress wasn’t all that impressed with her grandmother’s lying skills — she was an Academy Award-nominated actress after all —Lourd said she was continuing the icon’s legacy.

“So, I do better and put it in a sad Tupperware so it looks like I did it,” she said.

Lourd lost both her grandmother and mother, Carrie Fisher, just one day apart from each other in December 2016.

The actress said working on Ryan Murphy’s American Horror Story “saved” her life after the deaths.

RELATED VIDEO: Billie Lourd Opens Up About Life After Loss of Carrie Fisher & Debbie Reynolds: ‘Now I Get to Be Just Billie’

“I cannot thank Ryan enough,” she told Entertainment Tonight last week. “Honestly, it kind of saved my life. When Ryan offered me Cult, it was just a few months after my mom passed, and it honestly helped me process all of my emotions through these characters,” she explained.

“Being able to cry for [my character] Winter helped me cry for myself,” Lourd said. “And it’s been really healing and cathartic in an amazing way. It is heavy. We spend, like, 14 hours a day crying, and sometimes I go home and I will cry in my car for no reason because it’s like peeing.”

She added: “Once you break the seal, you can’t stop.”

The Most Fashionable Finds at Tory Burch’s Epic Black Friday Sale

How do we love thee, Tory Burch? Let us count the ways. There are the classic handbags, perfect for all our holiday travel needs. There are the feminine dresses that make every work day worth looking forward to. And there are the always-comfortable yet bang-on-trend shoes and boots that we can’t get enough of. So it goes without saying that we are beyond enthused for the Tory Burch Black Friday sale a.k.a. the Tory Burch Holiday Event, on now through Nov. 27. Get 30 percent off purchases of $250 or more when you use the code THANKS at checkout. Want savings on your savings? Sale styles will be marked down up to 60 percent off with the THANKS code, too!

To help get you started on the right stylish foot, we’ve rounded up some of the best pieces now on sale at Tory Burch. Just add to cart and wear in good health!

Leather Tote

Buy It! Star Stud Small Tote, $278.60 with code THANKS (orig. $398)

Printed Dress

Buy It! Gwyneth Dress, $383.60 with code THANKS (orig. $548);

Ankle Boot

Buy It! Penelope Bootie, $320.60 with code THANKS (orig. $458);

Statement Earrings

Buy It! Crystal Mother-of-Pearl Heart Earrings, $180.60 with code THANKS (orig. $258);

Turtleneck Sweater

Buy It! Inez Turtleneck in Rusted Red, $244.30 with code THANKS (orig. $498);

Quilted Jacket

Buy It! Whitney Jacket, $418.50 with code THANKS (orig. $598);

RHOBH's Erika Girardi Opens Up About the Dramatic New Season: 'There Are Shifts in Alliances'

It’s no secret that the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills has its share of conflict, but Erika Girardi says that this season, even loyal fans may be surprised.

“There are going to be some interesting shifts in friendships and alliances,” the Housewife, 47, tells PEOPLE. “It’s going to be full of drama.”

Girardi has her hands full these days. Not only is she shooting for the Bravo show, but she’s also on tour, performing through December as her alter ego Erika Jayne.

“We added a second leg based on the first selling out all but one show,” says Girardi, who will perform at Borgata in Atlantic City on Dec. 1. “It’s been such a lovely reception, and I’m really proud. People are wild from opening to closing and that’s what it’s supposed to be — a good time dance party!”

Girardi credits “extra cardio and adrenaline” for the stamina she needs to carry her through grueling rehearsals and the performances — plus a little secret before she goes onstage.

“We always have a group prayer and a shot of Fireball before we go onstage,” she says. “I know I sound like I’m reliving some college fantasy!”

RELATED VIDEO: Lisa Vanderpump Confirms She Hasn’t Quit the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills: ‘I Would Have Said It’

And as far as the new season, despite a few bumps, “we are more united as a cast than ever,” says Girardi. “We stick up for each other a lot more. You’re going to have one or two where you don’t see it, but the majority of the women are backing each other up.”

And new cast member Denise Richards fits right in, according to Girardi. “I really like her. I think she’s smart and she’s fun and she has a good story to tell,” she says. “Plus, her personal history with the group is interesting. She’s known some of them like Lisa Rinna and Kyle Richards for a long time!”

RELATED: Why Lisa Vanderpump Didn’t Attend RHOBH Costar Camille Grammer’s Wedding

When Girardi isn’t filming or performing, she looks forward to down time and a treasured tradition.

Says the star: “I take a hot shower, get in my comfortable pajamas, jump in my bed with my dogs and watch Turner Classics!”

Season 9 of RHOBH is expected to premiere on Bravo in early 2019.

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