What Is the Actual Cost of Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner?

What Is the Actual Cost of Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner?

November 14, 2018         Written By Bill Hardekopf

Hosting Thanksgiving dinner sounds like a great idea, until you start adding up all the expenses. From the food to the decorations to the extra seating, the costs rise fast. But what is the actual cost of Thanksgiving dinner, and what can you do to reduce it?

According to LendingTree’s new Thanksgiving survey, hosts expect to spend an average of $334.34 on Thanksgiving for approximately 11 guests ($31 per person). This includes food for the dinner, as well as dishes, cutlery and decorations.

LendingTree also pointed out that Americans are taking nearly two days off work to host Thanksgiving, equaling an average of $587.62 in lost wages. This figure may not account for those who receive paid days for Thanksgiving or overtime opportunities on the day before or after Thanksgiving.

The survey found 28% of hosts feel Thanksgiving will create a financial strain, but only 18% are stressed about the responsibilities. Comparably, 46% say they have no stress at all and 76% say they love hosting this event.

Nearly one in three Thanksgiving hosts are using credit cards to cover their expenses, and many of them do not plan to pay off the balance right away.

There are some fairly easy ways to cut down the costs of hosting a Thanksgiving gathering:

  • Ask guests to bring sides, desserts and drinks.
  • Borrow folding tables and chairs from your friends before renting them. You could also ask to borrow them from your church or employer.
  • Ask people to bring their own containers for leftovers, or buy a set of plastic bags.
  • Opt for generic ingredients as much as possible.
  • Set a budget and stick to it. Do not feel the need to splurge on unnecessary items.


The information contained within this article was accurate as of November 14, 2018. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.


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About Bill Hardekopf

Bill Hardekopf is the CEO of LowCards.com and covers the credit card industry from all perspectives. Bill has been involved with personal finance for over 15 years. He is a frequent contributor to Forbes, The Street and The Christian Science Monitor.
View all posts by Bill Hardekopf
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