What would Thanksgiving be without the turkey?
You might not know it, but turkey took a back seat at the first Thanksgiving held in the New World by Plymouth Colony Pilgrims in 1621. Venison, meat from plentiful deer, was the entree for the feast. Turkey, along with many vegetables, was served as a side dish.
The fact the Pilgrims survived to hold a feast to give thanks for their good harvest was in great part due to the help of an English-speaking Indian by the name of Squanto.
Squanto taught the Pilgrims how to tap maple trees for sap, which plants were poisonous and which could be used for medicine. He showed them how to plant Indian corn as well as other vegetables.
Governor William Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving and Pilgrims invited their Indian friends to join them. Chief Massasoit brought 90 braves and provided the venison for the three-day celebration. Exactly when the first feast took place is uncertain, but is believed to have been held sometime in October.
Still, the turkey has become the symbol of the holiday today and about 242 million gobblers and hens will be raised in 2010, many of which will be served on Thanksgiving Day.
You can make tiny tom turkeys for table decorations this Thanksgiving using these instructions provided by Family Fun Magazine at http://familyfun.go.com/crafts/tiny-toms-661426/ where you can find a step-by-step video for more instructions.
Yellow and red felt
2 wiggle eyes
For each turkey, cut out a yellow beak and a red wattle from felt. Then glue the beak, wattle, and a pair of wiggle eyes to a pom-pom to create the head.
Glue the pom-pom head to the tip of a pine cone. Let dry.
Wrap a pipe cleaner around the middle of the turkey's cone body, starting from the top and twisting it together a few times on the underside. Separate the ends of the pipe cleaner (below the twists) and bend each tip into a three-toed foot.
For the turkey's tail, individually wrap three or four pipe cleaners around the back of the pine cone, starting from the underside and twisting them together a few times on the top to secure. Then loop both ends of each pipe cleaner to shape tail feathers.