Thanksgiving by the Numbers

Brent Hofacker/

Catherine Lysaught, Staff Writer

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and people are beginning to get ready for what ranks as the second most expensive American holiday. This year, Thanksgiving is on November 23, the fourth Thursday of November.

Over the years, the cost of Thanksgiving food has grown exponentially higher as larger amounts of food is being produced for families of growing size. The estimated cost of Thanksgiving food alone for 2017 is predicted at $2,983,000,000, with food costing almost $64.03 per household. The largest of these food costs are turkeys, for on average, on Thanksgiving, Americans go through 254 million turkeys, which costs about $4,850,000 (

Food is not the only cost associated with Thanksgiving; many people travel to visit family or go on vacation during the holiday season. “Thanksgiving week is one of the busiest travel holidays of the year. In 2012, it was estimated that nearly 44 million people traveled during this long holiday weekend,” (USAToday).

Thanksgiving is not only America’s second-most expensive holiday but is also America’s second favorite holiday. Between the food, the travel and family, the football, and the annual Macy’s Day Thanksgiving parade, Thanksgiving is second in popularity only to Christmas. Thanksgiving is also the holiday with the highest caloric count associated with it, as the average American eats 4,500 calories during Thanksgiving dinner alone (

Over the years, the costs of Thanksgiving have risen, both in food costs and travel costs. In 1986, Thanksgiving dinner for ten people cost on average $28.74 and in 2017, a dinner for ten people costs $64.03 ( With the increase in travel and food costs by Americans, Thanksgiving has become one of the most expensive American holiday, second only to Christmas.