This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy thru these links, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.
I’m here to tell ya, you shouldn’t feel “bad” for eating out on Thanksgiving Day!
We’ve done it… several times.
Check out this list of our favorite non-traditional Thanksgiving Day ideas.
For those of us who can barely toast a Pop-Tart, let alone roast a turkey… there are more and more restaurants serving Thanksgiving dinner that you can choose from — no matter where you live.
Or, if your days are filled with chaotic busyness, kids’ schedules, parents’ jobs, cooking, cleaning, and chauffeuring… you may look forward to a holiday as “a day of rest” — a day to break the routine and do something different for a change. Not everyone wants to cook and clean on their day off… even if it IS traditionally expected to be that way.
Research confirms restaurants are part of Thanksgiving tradition for half of all Americans. Source
Since the majority of people choose to eat Thanksgiving dinner at home, Thanksgiving still remains the single largest holiday of the year for grocery stores.
Nonetheless, more and more people are choosing to dine OUT on Thanksgiving Day, and even more are enjoying the convenience of having one or more dishes prepared outside the home.
Eating Thanksgiving Dinner In Restaurants
Here are some interesting facts from the National Restaurant Association:
53% of Americans supplement their Thanksgiving meals with food prepared away from home (…up from 34% in 1999).
Younger adults are more likely to use restaurant takeout items as part of their Thanksgiving dinner at home.
11% of Americans had their Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant in 2003.
Those living in smaller households and households without children are more likely to dine out on Thanksgiving.
Males are more likely than females to eat at a restaurant on Thanksgiving.
A growing number of restaurants are officially closed on Thanksgiving Day, but they still offer takeout options.
Are Americans Just Less Thankful?…
Worse yet, is Thanksgiving on the verge of becoming another holiday that is losing its “real” meaning — like Labor Day, Memorial Day, and Veteran’s Day?
Not hardly… 98% of Americans plan to celebrate Thanksgiving with a meal. And the odds are, they’ll be “thankful” for every bite.
The truth is, dining out in general is on the rise in American households, and the increase in restaurant business on Thanksgiving Day simply mirrors that.
People are busier than ever. Families are more spread out than ever. There’s less time to cook & clean and many more things to squeeze into a day… even on Thanksgiving Day!
Why are almost 20% of Americans making a new tradition of meals prepared all or partially outside the home? The top two reasons indicated were “less stressful” (61%) and “more time to visit with family and friends” (37%). Source
…Sometimes it’s just easier to let someone else deal with the elaborate preparation, serving, and cleanup of the Thanksgiving dinner.
A Home-Cooked Thanksgiving Dinner… Without The Stress
Whether you choose to enjoy the ENTIRE Thanksgiving meal in a restaurant, or let someone else cook all (or part) of your Thanksgiving dinner so you can take it home, warm it up, and serve it… the fact remains, not everyone wants to, has the time to, has the space or all the necessary equipment to cook a full Thanksgiving dinner.
Colin DeMers, managing partner at the Century House in Latham [NY], said Thanksgiving rates with Easter and Mother’s Day as one of the busiest days at the restaurant. “People don’t have the time to really put together an old-fashioned Thanksgiving meal,” DeMers said, “but are nostalgic for the kinds of meals they remember from childhood.” Source
The Pros & Cons of Eating Out This Thanksgiving
The BEST thing about eating Thanksgiving dinner out?…
You can get a turkey dinner with all of the trimmings OR whatever else your family might want!
The only BAD thing about eating Thanksgiving dinner out?…
If there is ONE thing I like… it's C H A N G E! The four seasons and major holidays are my favorite times of the year to recharge — and redecorate. I mostly like to share frugal DIY ideas for seasonal home decorating and party planning (for both, indoors and outside). Because who doesn't enjoy entertaining at home?! But even if you don't host many parties, I think you'll appreciate my DIY hacks and clever ways to decorate your house for the major holidays including Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas. Because those are the times when people tend to have the most visitors and overnight houseguests.