Settlers of the Plymouth Colony and their Wampanoag tribe predecessors kicked off a grand tradition way back in 1621. And for that we should all be thankful, if for nothing else than a day off from work and school. But the Thanksgiving we celebrate today is a lot different than that first festival in honor of a particularly bountiful harvest.
Sure, we still eat turkey, potatoes and pumpkin. And we continue to use the occasion to reflect on the things we cherish most, such as friends and family. But a pair of additional F’s – football and Friday – has become just as important to some.
The NFL’s three-game Thanksgiving slate earned nearly 79 million combined viewers last year, and we spent more than $6.2 billion on Black Friday shopping – on top of the billions we spent preparing for Thanksgiving itself. So if it isn’t tryptophan that puts you to sleep this Thanksgiving, it might be 12 hours of pigskin or an early wake-up call for a day of deal hunting.
However you plan to celebrate Thanksgiving and the start of the holiday shopping season, we’ve got you covered. WalletHub took an in-depth look at Thanksgiving’s humble roots and how it has evolved over time in preparing this report. The infographic below is filled with all kinds of Thanksgiving facts, from how much we spend to how much we eat. And the Ask the Experts section that follows features a panel discussion on Thanksgiving money-wasters and dining tips.
5 Thanksgiving Facts for 2019:
- $313+: Average spending over the five-day Thanksgiving period.
- 10 Hrs. 33 Mins.: Length of time the average American male would need to spend on the treadmill to burn the 4,500 calories consumed at the average Thanksgiving meal.
- $552+ Million: Estimated amount Americans spend on Thanksgiving turkeys each year, with 46 million turkeys killed for the holiday.
- $19 Million: Amount of property loss caused by residential building fires each Thanksgiving.
- 53%: Share of people celebrating Thanksgiving who are dreading having to talk politics at the dinner table.
In search of a deeper understanding of Thanksgiving’s multi-faceted role in modern life, we posed the following questions to a panel of experts in consumer studies, history and economics. You can check out their bios and responses below.
- What are the biggest Thanksgiving money-wasters?
- What are the most cost-effective days/times to fly around the Thanksgiving holiday?
- What are the most cost-effective ways to put on a feast for friends and family without breaking the bank?