Thanksgiving by the numbers
(CNN) — Here’s an interesting look at the Thanksgiving dinner millions of Americans will be serving up this year. It might give you a new appreciation of what ends up on your plate.
1.5 — The number of pounds of turkey the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line recommends per guest so that you have plenty left over for sandwiches.
2 — The ranking of Thanksgiving in the list of America’s favorite holidays. Christmas is No. 1.
2 — The total number of days the FDA suggests keeping a fresh turkey before cooking it.
2.5 — The number in miles of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
4 — Americans celebrate Thanksgiving every year on the 4th Thursday of November.
4-5 — The number of months it takes for a newborn turkey to reach maturity.
4.5-5 — The number of hours it takes to cook a stuffed 20 to 24 pound turkey in an oven set to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
10-12 — The number of hours it takes to thaw a frozen 20 to 24 pound turkey in cold water. Compare that to the five to six days it takes to thaw in the refrigerator!
31 — The number of years between 1981, when the Butterball Talk-Line opened, and Thanksgiving 2012.
36 — The number of years it took Sarah Josepha Hale, editor of Ladies Magazine, to crusade for an annual Thanksgiving holiday. National and local days of thanksgiving had been celebrated over the years, but President Abraham Lincoln finally proclaimed the fourth Thursday in November Thanksgiving in 1863.
46 million — The estimated number of turkeys eaten in the U.S. on Thanksgiving 2011.
50 million — The approximate number of people who watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on television.
65 — The number of years between 1947, the very first National Thanksgiving Turkey presentation at the White House, and Thanksgiving 2012.
69 — The approximate percentage of Thanksgiving Day fires caused by cooking.
71 — The number of years between the year Congress rules in 1941 that the fourth Thursday in November will be observed as Thanksgiving Day and a federal legal holiday, and Thanksgiving 2012.
88 — The approximate percentage of Americans who eat Turkey on Thanksgiving Day, according to a National Turkey Federation survey.
88 — The number of years between 1924, when the very first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade took place, and Thanksgiving 2012. It was called the Macy’s Christmas Parade.
91 — The number of years between the very first NFL Thanksgiving Day games in 1921 and Thanksgiving 2012.
149 — The number of years between October 3, 1863, when President Lincoln proclaims a national annual Thanksgiving Day, and Thanksgiving 2012.
223 — The number of years between 1789, when President George Washington issues a proclamation naming November 26 a day of national thanksgiving, and Thanksgiving 2012.
391 — The number of years between 1621, the year the first Thanksgiving is observed in Plymouth, and Thanksgiving 2012. A good harvest leads Massachusetts Gov. William Bradford to plan a festival to give thanks. Around 90 Native Americans attend.
248.5 million — The number of turkeys raised in the United States in 2011.
254 million — The number of turkeys expected to be raised in the United States in 2012. That is up 2% from the number raised during 2011.
12,000 — The number of calls the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line was braced for Thanksgiving morning 2011.
Sources Butterball, U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Turkey Federation, Smithsonian Institution, Macy’s, Harris Interactive, U.S. Fire Administration, Pro Football Hall of Fame, CNN