Thanksgiving tables could look sparse this year.
According to data released this week from Personal Capital, one out of every four Americans plans to pass on Thanksgiving celebrations to save money.
Although COVID-19 cases are trending down with vaccines and treatments available in the U.S., the number of Americans planning to celebrate Thanksgiving is down from last fall. An Ipsos survey found from last year that nine out of 10 Americans planned to celebrate Thanksgiving in 2021.
COVID-19 vaccines were not yet available the Thanksgiving before that, when cases had just surged past 11 million in the U.S. At that time, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that all “Americans stay home for Thanksgiving and avoid contact with all people not living in their household for the last 14 days.”
This year, rising inflation has played a part in Americans’ holiday plans.
“For many, the increased financial strain comes not only from inflation but also from job insecurity,” said Personal Capital. “Over half of those surveyed reported losing their job within the past 12 months (53%).”
Those who did lose their jobs were less likely to plan on celebrating Thanksgiving, which typically includes a family guest list. Instead, they were significantly more likely to celebrate Friendsgiving, “which seems to come with a more budget-friendly menu,” per Personal Capital.
This might be because “Friendsgiving” celebrations eschew typical Thanksgiving fare. Only 24% of those planning a Friendsgiving celebration planned on having turkey. Pizza was the top entrée choice (33%) for Friendsgiving celebrations.
More than one-third of Americans who did say they plan to celebrate a traditional Thanksgiving said they will have smaller dinners.
To save money, around one fourth of people in the U.S. plan to budget a maximum of $100 for their holiday dinner and a vast majority (88%) of Americans are cutting at least one dish from their meal. Based on recent headlines, they may want to go for pizza too. Or, at least skip cranberry sauce and turkey.
In addition to keeping dinners small, guests may be asked to bring something to the Thanksgiving table. Personal Capital survey results showed that 42% of people were willing to ask guests to pitch in money for the meal. Around 75% said they would ask guests to bring alcoholic beverages.
Gen Z was the most likely to strategize cost-saving measures, while “baby boomers were the least likely to ask guests to provide food, drinks, or money.”
Still, 52% of Americans said they plan on spending the same amount of money on Thanksgiving this year as they did in 2021. Just 33% expected to spend less this year, and 15% said they expected to spend even more.