Thanksgiving is one of the year's busiest travel times in the United States. According to the US Bureau of Transportation, the number of long-distance trips (50 miles or more) increases by 54 percent around Thanksgiving.
Visiting friends and family is the single biggest reason Americans travel during the holidays. The visits account for 53 percent of all Thanksgiving trips. The average Thanksgiving trip is 214 miles. In 2012, AAA estimated that nearly 44 million people traveled during the holiday weekend - 90 percent traveled by car; the rest traveled by air, train or bus.
Year after year, Americans gather around the table on the fourth Thursday of November to celebrate Thanksgiving. Many recognize its origins as connected to the 1621 Pilgrim feast and thanksgiving prompted by a good harvest, but few know the woman responsible for making the celebration official. Sarah Josepha Hale, author and poet, fought to institutionalize Thanksgiving. Through her efforts, it was declared a national holiday by President Abraham Lincoln.
This Thanksgiving is 152 years since the proclamation by President Lincoln, making it a national holiday. MyHeritage decided to locate the descendants of Sarah Hale and to look deeper into the legacy passed down through the generations of her family.
Sarah Josepha Buell was born October 24, 1788 in Newport, New Hampshire. She married lawyer David Hale in 1813, and the couple had five children. A writer and influential editor, she wrote letters to politicians for 27 years advocating for Thanksgiving to become an official holiday. Until then, Thanksgiving was celebrated mainly in New England, and on different dates in each state.
Hale wrote letters to five different US presidents: Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan and Abraham Lincoln. Although her initial letters failed to yield results, her letter to Lincoln convinced him to support 1863 legislation to establish the national holiday of Thanksgiving.
“We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.” ― John F. Kennedy
How do your family and friends make a difference in your life? What do they do to make you feel special and loved?
Every year, when Thanksgving comes around, we think about what we are grateful for. We take time to remember the blessings that we take for granted in our daily lives. It's not always easy to translate what we feel into words.
Family and friends are often at the top of our lists. They are our treasured people. Our rocks. They stand by us through thick and thin, giving us the gift of unconditional love.
It is heartwarming to hear how much you are appreciated and valued by family and friends.
Thanksgiving is also a nice time to get together with the family, and share in your favorite Thanksgiving traditions. We recently wrote about our favorite traditions and the stories behind them.
This year, as the holidays approach, and you spend time with your nearest and dearest, take the opportunity to tell your loved ones how you feel about them, and what you are grateful for.
What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? Let us know below.
Thanksgiving is almost here and it’s time for family, food and football!
For decades, Americans have been celebrating Thanksgiving with its fun traditions, from watching the Macy’s Day Parade to eating turkey.
Last week, we asked you to share your favorite Thanksgiving memories with us.
We received many touching stories about how you remember celebrating Thanksgiving in the past.
Congratulations to Randy De La O, winner of a new Kindle!
We loved what you wrote about your favorite Thanksgiving memory :
Years ago, sometime in the mid-late 1960s. My mother came home from grocery shopping. She had bought all the food needed for our Thanksgiving dinner which would be coming up in a few days. She mentioned to my father that she had bought a turkey, but it was too big for her to carry. It was paid for and they were holding it for her. It just needed to be picked up. My father agreed to go and off he went to pick up the turkey.
He pulled up into the Von’s Market, in Pico Rivera, on the corner of Passons Blvd. and Washington Blvd. (in Los Angeles, California) went back to the meat section and told the guy that he was here to pick up the turkey that his wife had bought.
American ex-pats will celebrate wherever they live. In some countries, it's hard to find the necessary foods, such as cranberry sauce, and even whole turkeys. But no matter where we live, we try our best to reproduce the menu and good feelings of this favorite holiday.
It is a family holiday and we like to involve family members who attend. It's a time when we create special family memories.
We invite you to share your favorite family Thanksgiving memories for the chance to win a Kindle for the holidays. Simply leave a comment at the bottom of this blog post, for a chance to enter. We will choose one winner, and in honor of thanksgiving, we'll post a selection of our favorite entries. The winning story will be announced on Sunday, December 1.
It's also a great opportunity to make family history discoveries. Ask your relatives about their lives, and the lives of their parents. Asking about past family Thanksgiving celebrations can be an enjoyable conversation for all the family where you can learn how your ancestors celebrated and discover other unknown information.
Try and use the time when the family is all together to share with them what you've discovered about your collective family history. Who knows, perhaps you'll get a piece of information that will help you break down a brick wall in your research.
This wonderful family holiday is celebrated by Americans around the world, no matter where they live. It's the time for families to get together and share a delicious feast. The day often includes watching football on TV and planning for “Black Friday” shopping deals!
It is a genuine family holiday and many of us have touching or hilarious stories about Thanksgivings past.
MyHeritage invites you to share your funny stories for the chance to win a one-year PremiumPlus membership. Simply comment on this post or post comments on our Facebook wall or, if you can fit it into 140 characters, tweet them @myheritage. The winning story will be announced on Friday.
Since I can’t participate in the competition as I'm part of the MyHeritage team, here’s my hilarious holiday story.
Where has the year gone?
Supermarkets in the US are jammed with shoppers looking for that perfect turkey and gathering all the ingredients for side dishes and traditional desserts.
There are only a few days left until entire neighborhoods and apartment buildings are filled with the fragrance of roasting turkeys.
The MyHeritage team encourages everyone to record this holiday - and all family holidays, of course - in photographs for posterity. To help this project along, we’re giving away two Premium subscriptions for the best photo in each of two categories: Old family photos of Thanksgiving past and contemporary photos of this year’s festivities.
MyHeritage is also preparing holiday-related posts - and some surprises - so stay tuned during November.
A national holiday, Thanksgiving is observed in the United States - and worldwide wherever North American expats reside - on the fourth Thursday of November.
Every immigrant group to the US has also adopted the special day, which crosses all ethnic and religious lines.
"Turkey day" is a universal and delicious event, while the four-day holiday weekend also features football (not soccer!) games, major shopping days and great sales.
Thanksgiving Day's centerpiece is the lovingly-prepared feast on our tables, which we share with family and friends. People begin to plan holiday menus very early. Therefore, we invite the MyHeritage community to participate in our poll below: