FREEHOLD, NJ – The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders wishes everyone a happy and safe Thanksgiving weekend and reminds residents to take time to enjoy the start of the holiday season. 

“Celebration of this uniquely American holiday with turkey and all the trimmings reminds us to be thankful for all the blessings we have,” Freeholder Director Robert D. Clifton said. “We should all take a moment to think about those who may not have food on their tables this weekend, too. Some of our neighbors need our help thorough these tough times – your food donation this holiday season will be a big help. You can make a difference by donating to the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties.”

The Board of Chosen Freeholders also reminds residents that there are plenty of local events and shopping close to home to make the upcoming holiday season enjoyable and, hopefully, less hectic. The county’s tourism calendar is a one-stop, online list of all the happenings and great things to do over the long holiday weekend and throughout the year.  

Thanksgiving became a national holiday in 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November as a national day of thanksgiving. Later, President Franklin D. Roosevelt clarified that Thanksgiving should always be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of the month, never on the occasional fifth Thursday. 

In the fall of 1621, the early settlers of the Plymouth Colony held a three-day feast to celebrate a bountiful harvest, an event many regard as the nation’s first Thanksgiving. Historians have also recorded ceremonies of thanks among other groups of European settlers in North America, including British colonists in Virginia in 1619.