Huffpost Food
THE BLOG

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

John Dick Headshot

Thanksgiving Traditions 2013

Posted: Updated:

Since the beginning of November, we have been tracking consumer's Thanksgiving plans and traditions, while also looking at Thanksgiving data from the previous year to study the changes. We learned a lot. Did you know that people in the Midwest are more likely to have larger Thanksgiving gatherings? Or that people who are 18 years old and under are more likely to favor mashed potatoes during the holiday meal than other age groups?

Holiday Traditions:

A total of 79 percent of people will be attending some type of Thanksgiving gathering or party, which is down slightly from 85 percent of people in 2012. After taking into consideration the people who will not be attending a Thanksgiving get-together, 15 percent will be celebrating with 4 people or less, 47 percent will be celebrating with five - 10 people, and 39 percent will be attending a large Thanksgiving gathering of 10 people or more.

2013-11-18-Graph1.png

So, who likes to have a big Thanksgiving gathering? People who are celebrating with 10 or more are more likely to live in the Midwest and have an income of $100 - $150k. Younger adults, people 18 - 24 and 25 - 34 years old are more likely than other age groups to say they celebrate the holiday with 10 people or more.

People are 22 percent more likely to be going to a friend or family member's house for Thanksgiving than to cook themselves. Five percent of people are planning to eat their Thanksgiving meal at a restaurant or club, while three percent will have their holiday meal catered.

The age groups who are planning to cook the traditional meal themselves are more likely to be 55 - 64 years old, followed by 45 - 54 year olds and have an income of $75 - $99K. Those who are less likely to host the holiday meal and more likely to go to a family member's house are likely to be 25 - 34 years old, followed by those who are 18 - 24. People 65+ years old are more likely eat out and people living in the West are more likely to spend the holiday with their friends.

Many Americans will stay close to home over Thanksgiving, however, 17 percent will travel more than 100 miles. The largest group, 12 percent, will be traveling by car, four percent will be traveling by plane, and a small one percent will be traveling by train. This year's travel plans are very similar to last year.

Thanksgiving Activities:

Fewer people are planning to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade this year vs. last year. Only 47 percent are likely to watch the festive parade, compared to 56 percent of Americans last year. People 24 years old and under are less likely to watch the parade, as well as people in the West. Women are more likely to watch the parade than men and people who are 35 - 54 years old are also more likely to watch.

The majority of Americans will have football on in-between eating. A total of 62 percent of people are likely to watch football while relaxing on Thanksgiving Day, which is similar to last year (63 percent in 2012). There are no surprises when we dig deeper into the data -- men are 48 percent more likely than women to say they will be watching football, and 80 percent more likely to say they are "Very likely" to watch. The largest age group of people watching football are 45 - 54 year olds, followed by people 35 - 44 years old.

2013-11-18-Graph2.png

The box office might see a slight boost in sales over the Thanksgiving weekend. Thirty-five percent (33 percent in 2012) of people say they are likely to go see a movie over the holiday weekend, compared to the 27 percent of people who are planning to go to the theater at some point over the next week.

So, who exactly will be hanging out at the theaters? Well, people who are very likely to go to the movies over the Thanksgiving holiday are more likely to be 18 - 24 years old and the movie-goer is slightly more likely to be a woman than a man.

A total of 15 percent of people will brave the crowds and venture to the stores on Thanksgiving Day to get a head start on Black Friday shopping. The stores are more likely to see women, 34 years old and under, who are 22 percent less likely to be very concerned about the economy and jobs and are 187 percent more likely to be Mac people than those who will not be shopping. She is also 22 percent more likely to be very loyal to her favorite brands. Maybe she will be looking for a hot deal on the new iPad Air.

There are no big changes from last year on people's plans the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving. Thirty-eight percent of Americans have nothing planned, while 35 percent will stay home with family. Only six percent plan to meet up with friends and go out, nine percent will be stuck working and four percent will spend their night traveling.

Food Preferences:

2013-11-18-Graph3.png

What dessert will be on most Thanksgiving tables? Definitely pumpkin pie. Although, apple pie got a small boost from last year and 25 percent of people prefer apple pie over other traditional desserts (vs. 22 percent in 2012). People 18 years old and under favor apple pie the most, along with those in the Northeast, while those in the South answered sweet potato pie and pecan pie the most among other regions. People in the West are slightly more likely than other regions to prefer the classic pumpkin pie.

2013-11-18-Graph4.png

And last but not least, we see that people like to stick to their traditional Thanksgiving meal, with 38 percent of people saying their favorite menu item is turkey, followed by 26 percent who prefer stuffing and 16 percent who favor mashed potatoes. The people who favor mashed potatoes are more likely to be under 18. Men are 44 percent more likely than women to say they favor turkey, while women are 18 percent more likely than men to say stuffing.

From Our Partners