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Happy Thanksgiving!

by The Hat Team

Many Blessings to You and Your Family!

by The Hat Team

“Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.”
Henry Van Dyke

Did you know?:

-    The first Thanksgiving was held in the autumn of 1621 and included 50 Pilgrims and 90 Wampanoag Indians and lasted three days. Many historians believe that only five women were present at that first Thanksgiving, as many women settlers didn't survive that difficult first year in the U.S.

-    Thanksgiving didn't become a national holiday until over 200 years later! Sarah Josepha Hale, the woman who actually wrote the classic song “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” convinced President Lincoln in 1863 to make Thanksgiving a national holiday, after writing letters for 17 years campaigning for this to happen.

-    No turkey on the menu at the first Thanksgiving: Historians say that no turkey was served at the first Thanksgiving! What was on the menu? Deer or venison, ducks, geese, oysters, lobster, eel and fish. They probably ate pumpkins, but no pumpkin pies. They also didn't eat mashed potatoes or cranberry relish, but they probably ate cranberries. And no, Turduckens (a turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken) were nowhere to be found during that first Thanksgiving.

-    Thanksgiving was almost a fast — not a feast! The early settlers gave thanks by praying and abstaining from food, which is what they planned on doing to celebrate their first harvest, that is, until the Wampanoag Indians joined them and (lucky for us!) turned their fast into a three-day feast!

As you gather with family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving, take time to remember all that you have to be grateful for.  

Wishing you and yours a day filled with joy. 


Courtesy of Montgomery AL Real Estate Expert Sandra Nickel.   

Thanksgiving Is Always in Season

by The Hat Team

thanksgiviingMost school children would probably say that Thanksgiving dates back to the Pilgrims at Plymouth as early as 1621. By the late 1660’s, it had become traditional to hold a harvest festival in New England.

President George Washington declared the first nation-wide thanksgiving in 1789 “as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favours of Almighty God.”

One hundred fifty years ago during the Civil War, in October, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the first national day of Thanksgiving.

William Seward, Lincoln’s secretary of state, drafted the proclamation: “No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God…they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People.”

Even though the country was in the middle of the costly Civil War, the people of America started an enduring tradition to give thanks. In 1941, Congress determined that Thanksgiving will be celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November.

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Sandra Nickel and the Hat Team have distinguished themselves as leaders in the Montgomery AL real estate market. Sandra assists buyers looking for Montgomery real estate for sale and aggressively markets Montgomery AL homes for sale. Sandra is also an expert in helping families avoid foreclosure through short sales and is committed to helping families in financial hardship find options. For more information you can visit

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Thanksgiving Thoughts from The Hat Team

by The Hat Team

happy thanksgivingThanksgiving is a time to reflect on the changes, to remember that we, too, grow and change from one season of life to another.  - Author unknown

Sarah Joespha Hale, author Mary Had a Little Lamb, campaigned vigorously for 20 years to have Thanksgiving made a national holiday.  Five presidents turned a deaf ear to her pleas, but Abraham Lincoln listened, and on October 3, 1863, he declared that the last Thursday in November would be a national holiday.  Sarah was also the one who urged that the Thanksgiving feast include such foods as turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce, and mashed potatoes of two kinds.  Sound familiar?

And speaking of food, are you thankful for the abundance of our planet?  Show your gratitude by implementing these “green” suggestions for your holiday meal:

  • Use organic cranberries, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin
  • Shop at a famers’ market
  • Start a compost pile with all your leftovers

Click here for other earth-friendly holiday ideas.

Interested in giving traditional foods a modern twist?  Try baby greens with fennel, wheatberry stuffing, and wild mushroom gravy.  What about shredded Brussels sprouts or cranberry spinach salad?  For recipes for these dishes and other updated foods, visit the web sites of Good Housekeeping and Allrecipes.

What do you get when you divide the circumference of a pumpkin by its diameter?  Pumpkin Pi!

 ”Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action.”
William Jennings Bryan

Giving back…Thanksgiving is a perfect time to share our blessings with those less fortunate than we are and to spread the spirit of friendship and community.  Opportunities for helping others during the holiday season are many and can involve one individual or the entire family.  Some ways to foster goodwill and embrace the idea of sharing include:

  • Collecting and contributing non-perishable foodstuffs for a local food bank.
  • Giving money to local agencies who feed the hungry.
  • Volunteering your time to sort supplies, set up and/or clean up, or serve meals on Thanksgiving Day.
  • Inviting a neighbor who lives alone to join you for dinner.
  • Taking a warm plate of Thanksgiving food--and a big smile--to a shut-in.
  • Contributing to holiday food collection bins in grocery stores.
  • Purchasing pre-packaged boxes of food (generally under $10.00) to be distributed by local grocers.
  • Checking with your local place of worship to see where you help is most needed.

support our troopsAnd remember our military personnel… by contacting A Million Thanks, a year-round campaign to show our appreciation for our U.S. military men and women, past and present, for their sacrifices, dedication, and service to our country through our letters, emails, cards, and prayers.  Over 5 million pieces of mail have been sent to date.  Zazzle will send free holiday cards to military folks, and Coupons to Troops has a great program in which you donate unwanted or expired coupons to military families living overseas.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL!  Remember to be grateful for what you have and to “give thanks for unknown blessings already on the way.”  (Native American saying)

Celebrating a Montgomery Thanksgiving

by The Hat Team

Ode to Thanksgiving

thanksgivingTo our national birds
The American Eagle
The Thanksgiving Turkey
May one give us peace in all our states
And the other a piece for all our plates

What did the Pilgrims eat on Thanksgiving

It is commonly believed that the first actual celebration of the harvest and blessings from God took place in Plymouth in 1621. The festivities lasted three days and included feasting, entertainment, and competitions. For more about the holiday’s history!

Who Doesn’t Love a Parade?

The first annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade took place in 1924. That first year, it was known as the Macy's Christmas Parade. It was created to launch the holiday shopping season. Today, the parade is attended by an estimated three million people each year. Approximately 44 million people around the country watch the parade on television.

Other large parades which commemorate the holiday are the IKEA Thanksgiving Parade in Philly, McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade in Chicago, and the UBS Parade Spectacular in Stamford.

Find holiday-themed wallpaper or screensavers here!

Want some holiday music to enhance your gathering? Get free, fast downloads of 30+ songs.

If you want to turn your life around, try thankfulness.”  …. Gerald Good

Thanksgiving Around the World

Thanksgiving is essentially a harvest related festival. It celebrates communal harmony.

Canada celebrates Thanksgiving on the second Monday in the month of October.

India also has a number of harvest related festivals in different regions.

Other Thanksgiving traditions around the world.

Money-saving tips for Thanksgiving--something we would all be thankful for!

1. Have a BYOD (bring your own dish) celebration. Asking your guests to contribute to the meal is a great way to save on expenses--and on your own cooking time.

2. Keep it simple. Cut down on the number of side dishes you have. A festive table doesn’t have to be extravagant.

pumpkins3. Serve boxed wine or large bottles of soda. Cans and individual bottles are far more expensive.

4. Use natural items for decorations--leaves, fruit, squash, gourds, pumpkins, and dried flowers from your garden. A large candle and colorful fruit make a lovely centerpiece. Visit a dollar store for inexpensive holiday items.

5. Check store ads for sales and coupons before you shop for Thanksgiving Day goodies.

6. If time and your schedule allow, bake it yourself. Baking all your pies at one time will also save energy costs.

7. Plan ahead for using the leftovers. In addition to the tradition soup and sandwiches, think about turkey chili, tacos, frittatas, enchiladas, salads, and even paella.  Note: price per pound of a turkey decreases with weight. The bigger the bird, the less the cost--and the more for leftovers!

8. Volunteer. Soup kitchens, church outreach programs, and ‘Meals On Wheels’ can certainly use help, so skip the shopping, share your time with others, and let your family members see how fortunate they really are.”

“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, “Thank you,” that would suffice.”         Meister Eckhart

Interesting facts:

More than 40 million green bean casseroles are consumed each Thanksgiving!

Tofurkey, a soy-and-wheat based turkey alternative, was created by Sam Tibbot in 1995 and continues to be a popular choice among vegetarians.

And speaking of vegetarians…there are lots of websites with fabulous vegetarian recipes and ideas for veggie stuffing, gravy, sides, and all foods Thanksgiving. Prefer organic? How about diabetic recipes for appetizers, sides, breads, and desserts?

Here’s a complete holiday planning guide. Menu ideas. Everything you wanted to know about turkey.

Videos on choosing, thawing, stuffing, roasting and carving the bird. Wines ideal for thanksgiving dinner. Don’t forget dessert!

Tired of the same old, same old? Here are alternatives to turkey.

Thawing, cooking, and serving the bird:

To calculate the amount of food you’ll need, follow this guide.

  • turkeyWhole turkey--1 lb. per person
  • Bone-in turkey breast--¾ lb. per person
  • Boneless turkey breast--½ lb. person

Time required for thawing the bird: for each 4 ½ lbs. of frozen turkey, allow 24 hours of thaw time in the refrigerator. Once fully thawed, the turkey may be refrigerated for 1-2 days.

Quick" thawing method: Place turkey in its original wrapping in sink and cover with COLD water. Change the water every 1/2 hour to maintain the temperature. Allow 1/2 hour per pound to defrost the turkey. Most turkeys will take from 5 to 10 hours to thaw.

Share Thanksgiving greetings with friends via email or send a mobile greeting free of charge.

Don’t forget the kids!

There are so many Thanksgiving activities for the younger set to take part in, especially while they’re waiting for the turkey to cook.

Make memories with these turkeys made from tracings of your child's hands and feet.

Use fresh and dried leaves for art projects like the creative ones at Squigly's Playhouse.

Make a simple banner using coffee filters and printed letters looks more complicated than it is. Children will love folding the filters to look like turkey tails.


This Thanksgiving Feast is a fun arcade-style food game for kids to learn about nutrition.

Celebrate the Thanksgiving with holiday coloring pages.

Create your own log cabin on paper using Popsicle sticks.

Think you are smarter than a TURKEY? Go on a turkey hunt and find out!

Get games and puzzles that are too numerous to count and just plain fun!

Everyone will love the Thanksgiving word scramble, a fun word search and the color and print eye chart.

Holiday Humor for the young--and young at heart

  • Can a turkey jump higher than the Empire State Building?
     Answer:  Yes - a building can't jump at all

  • Which side of the turkey has the most feathers?
    Answer:  The outside

  • Why do Pilgrims have trouble keeping their pants up?
    Answer: Cause they wear their belts on their hats!

  • What is the Turkey's favorite black tie celebration?
    Answer:  The Butter Ball

  • Want more?

Thanksgiving Traditions

Here you can download Over The River and Through the Woods.

Nothing says Thanksgiving more than traditional football rivalries.

Holiday Travel

If your ‘over the river and through the woods’ trip is not taking you to Grandma’s, you might want to visit Road Trip America to help plan.

Traveling with kids? Here are tips to help entertain them.

So there you have it--facts, tips, humor, recipes, quotes, and websites to guide you to everything you have ever wanted to know about Thanksgiving.

May your Thanksgiving be an enjoyable celebration shared with friends and family, and one filled with gratitude for all your blessings!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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