Happy Thanksgiving

By: Dave Gunner

November 23, 2020

We want to wish a very happy Thanksgiving to all our American friends, family, colleagues and customers. We're not flying so many customers this year and really miss being a part of your travel plans and celebrations. So until things get back to normal, we thought we'd share some of our favourite facts about Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday of November – which is sometimes the last and sometimes the second-to-last. The date of Thanksgiving was moved forward a week between 1939 and 1941. It was done in an attempt to increase the Christmas shopping period and boost the economy following the Great Depression. This wasn’t popular with everyone and not all US states adopted the change leading Congress to decide the dates used today.

President Barack Obama Officially Pardons The Thanksgiving Turkey, 25 November 2009. The turkey was called Courage! Photo by Lawrence Jackson – Official Whitehouse Photographer via Wikimedia Commons

It’s estimated that every year over 46 million turkeys are eaten at Thanksgiving. And one has a lucky escape. Each year the president of the U.S pardons a turkey and spares it from being eaten for Thanksgiving dinner.

The tradition was only formalised by President George H.W. Bush when he noticed a nervous-looking turkey and pardoned it in 1989. Harry Truman is thought to be the first president to be gifted a turkey in 1947 (which we believe he ate). Previous notable Presidential turkey moments include John F Kennedy sending his back to the farm and Richard Nixon giving one of his to a petting zoo! Learn more about the presidential turkey antics on the White House history page

The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621. It was originally a harvest festival attended by pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians. Rather than turkey, they ate venison, goose, duck and seafood. Pumpkins were on the menu but not pumpkin pies. Find out more about that first feast on the Smithsonian website

It wasn’t until 1863 that Abraham Lincoln officially made Thanksgiving a national holiday. He was influenced by a campaign led by Sarah Josepha Hale, (who wrote the nursery rhyme ‘Mary had a little lamb’).

To see what Thanksgiving was like back in the 1600s and learn more about the Wampanoag people and the colonial English community in the 1600s we recommend a visit to the Plimoth Patuxet Museums. At this historic attraction, you can explore the Mayflower II, the historic Patuxet Wampanoag Homesite, a 17th-Century English Village and the Plimoth Grist Mill. They also run a number of immersive experiences including original thanksgiving dinners (but you need to book early).

In a recent staff bake-off, the winning recipe for pumpkin pie was the one that comes on the back of the ‘Libby’s tin of pure pumpkin’. This is the most popular recipe that’s enjoyed in millions of American households every Thanksgiving.

The most popular (and most delicious) pumpkin pie recipe

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving has become known as ‘drinksgiving’ and is a popular evening to pop out to your local bar. Uber has been known to offer free rides on this night. Remember to drink responsibly folks!


One of our favourite Thanksgiving events is the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. This year the parade will be a virtual event. Full details can be found on their website. We look forward to getting back there next year.

The day after Thanksgiving is known as Black Friday! The best bit about this year’s Black Friday is our sale. You can bag 25% off flights with Upper Class return flights from £999 as well as 50% off reward seats. In addition, flights to St Vincent go on sale this Tuesday 24th November with Economy Light from £349, Premium from £599 and Upper Class from £999.

You can have total peace of mind when buying flights with us this November thanks to our flexible booking policy. You can change the dates of your travel up to two times as well as change names once, with the associated fees waived, though fare difference may apply. To discover some amazing Black Friday deals visit our website

Dave Gunner

Dave Gunner

I love telling the story of our people, our planes, our places and our planet through Ruby Blog.