Half of Americans think this will be the most stressful Thanksgiving ever!

NEW YORK — From cooking, to cleaning, to annual family squabbles, Thanksgiving can be a hectic time even in the best of years. When you add in the serious concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, you have a holiday recipe for the most stressful Thanksgiving in modern times. A survey finds more than half the United States (53%) believe their turkey day stress is double what it normally is this year. One in 10 people won’t even celebrate Thanksgiving in 2020 due to COVID-19.

The OnePoll survey of 2,000 Americans who regularly celebrate Thanksgiving finds many are feeling extra pressure to make this year’s feast special. Fifty-two percent are pulling out all the stops to make the holiday “perfect” for their family. With COVID restrictions keeping many people separated this year, another 56 percent say they’ll be seeing some of their relatives through a video call instead of in-person.

The study, commissioned by HelloFresh, also finds 18 percent of Americans will be cooking their own Thanksgiving meal for the first time in 2020. Half of those planning a big dinner say the pandemic has made it harder than ever before.

Planning a Thanksgiving dinner during a pandemic isn’t easy

Just because you may not be cooking this year’s turkey doesn’t mean you’re not feeling the Thanksgiving pressure. The average American will make three frantic phone calls to family members for help while cooking the big meal. Another 61 percent of the poll says they feel second-hand stress from what’s going on in the kitchen.

Some of this might have to do with being asked to make a last-minute trip to the grocery store. Over half of respondents (55%) say the thought of a Thanksgiving Day run to the store during COVID-19 gives them anxiety. To limit their exposure, 77 percent of Americans said they made one, big grocery store trip to get everything they hope they need for Thanksgiving.

While shopping for all the ingredients at once is helpful, six in 10 people say their stress would drop even further if they could have all of it delivered right to their door.

If the prep wasn’t bad enough, you still have to cook the bird too! One in four Americans are worried they’ll serve up a dry turkey this year. Another 19 percent fear their turkey won’t thaw out in time or it’ll be too big for the oven. Two in 10 respondents worry they won’t have enough classic Thanksgiving side dishes for everyone.

“Planning Thanksgiving dinner can be an extremely taxing and intimidating process,” says Andrea Folkerts, Director of Product Development at HelloFresh, in a statement. “Stress levels are even higher this year as we plan our feast amid a pandemic, so knowing which meals to cook ahead of time and avoiding the anxiety of grocery shopping is key this holiday season.”

Which side dish reigns supreme?

Once everyone finally settles down to eat, the only question left is which dish to chow down on first? Americans had no stress in naming mashed potatoes as the top Thanksgiving side dish of all-time.

Stuffing came in a close second (66%), with gravy (59%) and cranberry sauce (53%) following on the menu. Interestingly, 50 percent of Americans say cranberry sauce from a can is the “right way” to serve it up. Only 36 percent think homemade cranberry sauce is better.

When it comes to dessert however, more people think homemade pumpkin pie is the way to go on Thanksgiving.


  1. Mashed potatoes – 71%
  2. Stuffing – 66%
  3. Gravy – 59%
  4. Cranberry sauce – 53%
  5. Sweet potato casserole – 48%
  6. Biscuits – 48%
  7. Green bean casserole – 47%
  8. Macaroni and cheese – 42%
  9. Roasted carrots – 32%
  10. Brussels sprouts with bacon – 31%

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About the Author

Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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