We don’t need to tell you that Thanksgiving is about more than just food. It’s about spending time with loved ones around the holiday table, taking part in family traditions, and, of course, the frenetic excitement that accompanies any all-out affair.
But everyone celebrates differently. To find out just how differently, Yahoo Food recently conducted a survey to learn more about how Americans do Thanksgiving. We queried more than 1,000 people from across the country about their holiday habits, from what they plan to do over Thanksgiving weekend to when they start prepping their family feast. Some of the results may surprise you.
First of all — you really love Thanksgiving. It ranks as the No. 2 favorite holiday in the U.S. just after Christmas. The vast majority (82 percent) of you will spend the day with family, but Friendsgiving is a tradition on the rise. Among those friends are your pets — 22 percent include pets in Thanksgiving festivities. And after the big meal, you love to sit and talk (57 percent), watch TV (53 percent) — especially football (44 percent). A scant 16 percent of you plan to get in line for a Black Friday shopping deal.
Here’s everything else you need to know. Let us know if you can identify with these trends in the comments!
1. Friendsgivings are on the rise
A third of all Americans plan to spend some time this Thanksgiving with friends, although it’s millennials in particular who will ring in Turkey Day with their best buds. Thirty-six percent of all millennials say they’ll celebrate Friendsgiving, a twist on the holiday celebrated by friends rather than family. It’s a wonderful alternative for those unable to make the journey home. (Find tips on how to host the ultimate Friendsgiving here).
2. The more the merrier!
Most Americans — 72 percent of them — plan to attend a dinner with more than five people this holiday. Forty-three percent say they’ll chow down alongside eight or more. Time to pull out the extra chairs from the attic!
3. One dinner is not always enough
Nearly a quarter of everyone who hosts a Thanksgiving dinner say they’ll also go to someone else’s house for a second meal, while 10 percent say they’ll celebrate a Thanksgiving a second time at a restaurant. We don’t blame them — the more turkey, the better!
Credit: Jill Chen/Stocksy
4. Pets are getting in on the action.
When asked people with whom they celebrate Thanksgiving, most said family (82 percent) and friends (40 percent). But 22 percent said they plan to incorporate the family pet into the holiday, which warms our puppy-loving hearts. Perhaps they’ll whip up a batch of pumpkin dog biscuits for their precious pooches?
5. We’re a nation of planners.
Forty-eight percent of people say they’ll plan out their Thanksgiving feast a week before the big day, while 47 percent say they’ll get a head start at least a month out. Now that’s planning! Still, most of the actual work is saved for right before the event: 54 percent of people don’t start cooking until the day before Thanksgiving, and a brave 28 percent don’t begin until the day of!
6. More than half of people won’t shop on Black Friday.
Despite what television commercials will have you believe, not everyone is caught up in the commercial mayhem of Black Friday. Fifty-four percent of people say they won’t be shopping the day after Thanksgiving, although 17 percent concede they’ll plan to at least check out some online deals.
7. Vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, booze-free dinner?
Although there are plenty buzzy food trends these days, they won’t play a big role in Thanksgiving feasts. Only 7 percent say they’re avoiding gluten-free fare or carbohydrates, a mere 8 percent say they’ll eschew dairy, and a paltry 6 percent say meat is out. However, a whopping 20 percent of respondents say they’re nixing alcohol this year. Which reminds us — here are a few mocktail recipes.
Credit: Cameron Whitman/Stocksy
8. Most people are flying solo in the kitchen.
Maybe the reason some people stress about Thanksgiving is that 83 percent of Thanksgiving hosts prepare the entire thing by their lonesome. It’s OK to ask for help, people!
9. Family recipes are still everyone’s favorite.
Although a quarter of people say they’ll cook recipes from food magazines, 42 percent from cookbooks, and 44 percent from web sites, a whopping 75 percent of people say they’ll use recipes handed down by their families. But there’s hope for creating new family traditions — 57 percent of people say they’ll serve a mix of new and classic recipes.
10. Online grocery shopping is on the upswing.
Although most people still shop at conventional markets for Thanksgiving ingredients, 10 percent of people say they’ll place an order online instead this year. We can see the appeal — no cashier lines!
Credit: Cameron Whitman/Stocksy
12. You love to gossip.
Family gossip is the number one topic of Thanksgiving discussions. Nothing like some juicy tidbits to make the day more interesting. Sixty-four percent of people will indulge, with 50 percent gabbing about sports, 40 percent about politics, and 38 percent about movies.
13. Thanksgiving can be stressful.
Thirty-six percent of respondents say they’re concerned about the work involved with prepping their Thanksgiving feast, while 35 percent say they’re worried about breaking the bank. Unsurprisingly, one in five people are stressed about dealing with family. Everyone, relax: We’ve got you covered with great, easy recipes. Just remember to breath.
14. Casual is the new dressy when it comes to Thanksgiving.
Practically no one dons a suit for Thanksgiving these days. Only seven percent say they plan to dress up for the big dinner.
15. Prayer still plays a big role.
Roughly 76 percent of American’s say they’ll attend a meal where prayer plays some role. Forty-six percent will pray as a group, while 25 percent anticipate an optional prayer. That said, a quarter of Americans don’t plan on anyone praying.
Need Thanksgiving ideas? We’re here to help: