25+ Insane Thanksgiving Statistics: America’s Busiest Holiday & Fun Facts

Written by Elijah BishopUpdated: 6th Apr 2022
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For families all around America, Thanksgiving Day includes a variety of rituals. From lavish feasts to trips to see friends and family, the method of celebrating the holiday is practically limitless. However, one aspect plagues families every Thanksgiving weekend: excessive spending.

Thanksgiving holiday is one of the costliest weekends of the year, and it’s not only because of the amount of turkey consumed. Food expenditures, travel expenses, and Black Friday shopping contribute to significant spending over the five-day period. This article will look at some of the major statistics surrounding the Thanksgiving Day celebrations and holidays.

Thanksgiving Statistics: Editor’s Choice

  • 58.63% of Thanksgiving travel survey respondents plan to stay close to home for the holidays.
  • Reservations for short-term rentals such as Airbnb and Vrbo for holiday travel 2021 are up 377% over 2020 and 91% over 2019.
  • 186.4 million U.S. consumers shopped in-store or online for the weekend of Black Friday 2020, more than half of the U.S. population of 329.5 million people.
  • Americans eat over 280 million turkeys every Thanksgiving.
  • The average number of calories consumed on Thanksgiving is 4,500
  • More than 54 million Americans are expected to travel during this year’s Thanksgiving holiday. That’s up 4.8% from last year.

Thanksgiving Spending Statistics

#1. The average cost of Thanksgiving dinner is expected to rise 5% this year and hit record highs.

According to the Farm Bureau study, the average cost of a Thanksgiving dinner was $46.90. With a 5% growth over 2020, the average Thanksgiving dinner this year would cost around $49.25.

#2. $96 million is spent on stuffing at Thanksgiving each year.

Stuffing is almost exclusively consumed on Thanksgiving Day and is rarely seen on menus outside of the holiday season. From October to December, Kraft sells 40 million Stove Top Stuffing Mix boxes. That’s good for what most people think of as “seasoned breadcrumbs.”

#3. 80 million pounds of cranberries are purchased at Thanksgiving.

This accounts for 20% of all cranberries sold in the United States. These 40 tons of cranberries are bottled and jellied, and 5 million gallons of cranberry sauce have been purchased for Thanksgiving tables. Ocean Spray sells 80 percent of its jellied cranberry sauce over the Thanksgiving week and makes 70 million cans every year.

#4. 186.4 million U.S. consumers shopped in-store or online from Thanksgiving Day through Black Friday to Cyber Monday in 2020

With many consumers staying at home owing to pandemic concerns on Black Friday 2020, shoppers spent $9 billion online, a 21.6 percent year-over-year increase. Consumers then spent $10.8 billion on Cyber Monday 2020, a 15.1 percent increase over 2019. These are the two busiest internet shopping days in the history of the United States.

Thanksgiving Travel Statistics

#5. More people travel to Orlando, Florida, than anywhere else on Thanksgiving.

According to estimates by AAA, over 55 million Americans traveled 50 miles or morefor Thanksgiving in 2019. The most popular of these destinations—according to booking info—was Orlando, Florida, closely followed by Anaheim, California, then New York City.

#6. 52% of travel survey respondents plan to stay close to home for the holidays.

According to the Ipsos poll in the U.S, 52% of people will celebrate the holiday this year with their closest family, 14% won’t celebrate it, and 10% will travel somewhere for the holiday. No matter how you plan on celebrating thanksgiving, the goal is to be thankful for the gift of family and love.

#7. Demand for short-term rentals for November and December 2021 is up 377% over 2020 and 91% over 2019.

Short-term rentals are in demand by families looking for places to be all together or those who are still working remotely and need a change of scenery. The average short-term rental rate for Thanksgiving is $415 per night, 19% higher than in 2020.

#8. The best day for Thanksgiving air travel is Monday, November 22nd, when only 12% of holiday flyers are headed to the airport.

With only 14 percent of holiday bookings, Thanksgiving Day (November 25th) is your second-best day for flight travel. If you depart early, you should be able to get to your destination before everyone settles down for supper.

#9. Over 95% Of Americans Eat Turkey on Thanksgiving.

According to the National Turkey Federation, over 95% of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving. Around 280 million turkeys are sold during the weeks leading up to the holiday.

#10. About 3 million People Attend the Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

The annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade tradition began in 1924 in New York City. Today, it is estimated that about 3 million people attend the parade each year and that 44 million more watch it on TV from the comfort of their homes.

#11. Since 1947,Every Thanksgiving, the President Pardons a Turkey

Since 1947, The White House has hosted a ceremony known as “The National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation” a few days before Thanksgiving. The current US President is presented with a live turkey during the ceremony. The president does not consume the turkey; instead, he “pardons” it and saves it from being killed.

#12. 50% of households serve red wine with Thanksgiving dinner.

According to a 2017 survey by the alcohol delivery service Drizly, about 50 percent of households serve red wine with Thanksgiving dinner. Only 10 percent go with white. The rest are pouring something else, whether soft drinks, beers, or cocktails.

#13. More than four-fifths of Americans prefer leftovers to the meal.

According to a 2015 Harris Poll, most Americans (81 percent) prefer the leftovers of the Thanksgiving meal to the meal itself. Another finding: Millennials look forward to the turkey portion of the meal less than any other age group.

#14. About 50 million people watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade annually.

Approximately 50 million Americanstune in to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Another 3.5 million people view it in person, and roughly 10,000 participate in non-pandemic years.

#15. Tofu is the most hated Thanksgiving dish.

Sorry, our vegetarian readers. In a 2020 YouGov poll, tofu was the most unpopular element of a potential Thanksgiving meal.

#16. The Butterball hotline answers 100,000 turkey-related questions every year.

Each November and December, Butterball, a popular turkey brand, opens a turkey hotline to address any turkey-related queries you may have. Since its inception in 1981, the Turkey Talk-Line has grown from getting 11,000 queries in its first year to addressing more than 100,000 questions each holiday season across the United States and Canada.

#17. Americans eat 704 million pounds of turkey every Thanksgiving.

According to the National Turkey Federation, in 2017, around 44 million turkeys were served for Thanksgiving in the United States. This compares to 22 million pounds for Christmas and 19 million pounds for Easter. Meanwhile, the average weight of each was 16 pounds, implying that we’re consuming 704 million pounds of turkey across the country.

#18. The day after Thanksgiving is the busiest day of the year for plumbers.

Black Friday isn’t only a huge deal for retailers; plumbers and drain cleaners are also in on the fun. The day after Thanksgiving, according to Roto-Rooter, is the busiest day of the year for people who keep water flowing and moving in homes and businesses.

#19. Sixty percent of Americans would rather do anything other than think about what they’re grateful for on Thanksgiving.

During the holiday season, which begins on Thanksgiving, 71% of Americans report feeling stressed. Furthermore, three out of every five respondents said they would rather do something other than reflecting on what they’re grateful for on Thanksgiving, such as watching football, reading a book, or playing with a pet.

More than one million people participate in upwards of 1,300 races in the United States annually, making Thanksgiving the largest race day of the entire year.

#21. 35% of Americans prefer pumpkin pie as their favorite for finishing off a Thanksgiving meal.

According to a 2020 YouGovAmerica poll, 16% prefer pecan pie, 11% prefer apple pie, 10% prefer sweet potato pie, 6% prefer chocolate pie, and 4% prefer cherry pie. In addition, approximately 45 percent of people ranked pumpkin as the most important pie, with apple pie beating out sweet potato for second place.

#22. 4,500 is the average number of calories consumed on Thanksgiving

4,500 is the average number of calories consumed, according to WorldStride. The majority of calories come from the excess amount of turkey consumed across families.

#23. Tofurky’s holiday “roast” experienced a 22% increase in sales during Thanksgiving 2020.

Tofurky, a vegan blend of tofu and wheat with wild rice stuffing that has become the punchline to many a meat joke, eater’s first appeared on the market in 1995. As shoppers prepared for Thanksgiving 2020, it sold its six millionth roast. Tofurky’s vegan ham also saw a 600 percent year-over-year rise in sales for Easter 2020.

#24. 11 is the average number of Thanksgiving dinner guests per household

11 is the average number of dinner guests per household, according to Financial Times, and 28% of Americans had more than 12 people at their table in 2019, according to Nationwide.

#25. The average time is spent on cooking the Thanksgiving meal is 7 hours

According to a report by Nationwide, 7 hours is the average time spent cooking Thanksgiving meals across households in the US. However, 16 minutes is the average eating time. People spend a lot more time preparing for the Thanksgiving dinner than for the eating occasion.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Does Thanksgiving Affect the Economy?

Thanksgiving benefits the vast majority of industries and brick-and-mortar companies. The Wednesday preceding Thanksgiving is the biggest day for air travel in the United States. Around 23.6 million persons take flights. Gas stations are also busy, as more than 43.6 million Americans travel to see their family.

During this time, the cash register is a familiar sound. The day following Thanksgiving, called “Black Friday” has evolved into a major shopping day during the December holiday season. It’s the day when many retailers who have been losing money all year make enough gross sales to break even.

And, with around 37% of Americans shopping on Black Friday, according to the Consumer Electronics Association, sales tend to skyrocket. Because of the internet bargains given on “Cyber Monday,” the Monday following Thanksgiving, brick-and-mortar retailers have competed even more vigorously for business in recent years.

For the meat and wine industry, the amount of turkey (around 280 million turkeys) and wine consumed during the Thanksgiving holiday season cannot be compared to any other time of year. While the pandemic and other economic factors may have affected the spending habit of the average American, the amount of money spent by Americans on thanksgiving celebrations is on the increase.

How Much Money Is Spent on Thanksgiving Each Year?

According to Finder, 292 million Americans, or 88%, will gobble down turkey on Thanksgiving. The country will spend $927 million on 46 million unfortunate birds. That’s a big increase over the $783 million America shelled out for turkeys in 2020

What Percentage of US Celebrates Thanksgiving?

For many Americans, Thanksgiving is a special, beloved holiday for eating turkey – or a vegetarian main course option – and spending time with friends and family. However, the celebration is deeply controversial – as Thanksgiving has a contentious history that goes far beyond when the first feast was held. According to Statista’s Global Consumer Survey, 74% of Americans plan to celebrate Thanksgiving this year.

Bottom Line: Thanksgiving Statistics and Facts

The current version of Thanksgiving is a hectic one, with turkey day being the major food, travel, and shopping holiday of the year. But don’t forget to take a break from the food and football games to discover the appreciation in your Thanksgiving celebrations. Remember to thaw the turkey.

Other Statistics:

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Elijah Bishop
Elijah Bishop

Elijah A. Bishop is a Senior Personal Finance Writer who has been writing about real estate and mortgages for years. He has a Bachelors of Arts Degree in Creative writing from Georgia State University and has also attended the Climer School of Real Estate. He also holds a realtor license and has been in and out of the US mortgage industry as a loan officer. Bringing over 15 years of experience, Elijah produces content that analyzes ethnicities, race, and financial well-being. His areas of expertise are mortgages, real estate, and personal loans.