There’s something about Thanksgiving that just brings a lot of joy. Maybe it’s purely because of the obscene amount of food. Maybe it’s because of the family and friends. Maybe it’s just because it marks the start of the winter holiday season, and the thought of holiday lights (and presents) brings a dueling sense of serenity and excitement. Regardless, it’s generally a good time. We’ve already looked into Friendsgiving and Christmas retail, but how about something a little different?

What’s the most popular Thanksgiving dessert?
Where did you learn to make your favorite Thanksgiving food recipe?
Do holiday meals really bring on family drama?

And last but not least….

Which TV show has had the best Thanksgiving-themed episode?

These are the real must-know questions of the day.

Pumpkin Takes the Pie

Pumpkin pie is the favorite dessert this Thanksgiving

No huge shocker, but pumpkin pie is the favorite Thanksgiving dessert this year, and presumably most years. How could it not be? Many of us just saw our first sprint of snow this winter season, so I’ll be holding on to as much pumpkin as I can for dear warmth – both symbolically and literally. Pumpkin reminds us (or maybe just me) of a season not too long ago when you could go outside in a sweater and not freeze. Good times.

Second up comes apple pie – a classic, but overrated if you ask me. One interesting note I found is that apple pie lovers are more likely than the others to use Instagram. They’re also less likely to buy environmentally-friendly products.

On another note, people who answered pumpkin pie are more likely to live in the US Northeast (again, this may have to do with clinging to a symbol of warmth), while people who answer both sweet potato and pecan pie are more likely to live in the US South.

Nothing Beats a Family Recipe

Most people learn their favorite Thanksgiving Food recipes from family members

Out of only those who will be cooking a Thanksgiving meal this year, an enormous 70% learned their recipes from a family member. Next up comes the 11% who learned recipes online. It’s nice to see that print still isn’t totally out of the question: 8% learned their favorite recipe from a cookbook!

For next year, this does present somewhat of a challenge for food companies and retailers. Around Thanksgiving, I’m sure you’ve also noticed the abundance of Thanksgiving recipes and instruction videos flooding the internet. However, those recipes still don’t seem to scratch family ones. How can these online recipes, as fun as they are, compete? Can they ever? We aren’t too sure.

Bring On the Drama!

A graph showing that 10% of people experience family drama at most holiday meals.

 No surprises here, but it seems that holiday meals, such as Thanksgiving, bring on more drama than you would think. 10% of people say that holiday meals bring on family drama most holidays (oy), and 41% say that they bring on drama once in a while (double oy).

It’s a bit refreshing, however, to see that 43% of people have not (yet) experienced this holiday drama. Then again, what’s life without a little scene once in a while?

Friends vs. The Simpsons…You Heard Me.  

Out of 8 shows, most people think that the Simpsons has the best Thanksgiving-themed episode.

Though almost every TV show has a Thanksgiving-themed program, I took a look at the shows with some of the most infamous scenes and episodes. When removing the 1,023 people who haven’t watched any of the following shows (you have to ask, what planet are they living on?) here’s what I found.

Who would have thought that Friends and The Simpsons would ever be discussed in the same sentence, or would be competing in any way? And yet, they’re neck and neck. Out of “the watchers,” 23% think that The Simpsons has the best Thanksgiving-themed episode, while Friends is a close second at 22%.

The next two winners are two other shows you may never have lumped together otherwise: Modern Family and Seinfeld. These two shows are almost tied, with Modern Family leading by only 1%.

I was seriously excited that the infamous but all-too-forgotten Cheers received such high votes. When I was a kid, I would always watch a Cheers episode right after I watched anything remotely scary so that I wouldn’t have nightmares. It’s just one of those momentous feel-good shows.

Other unexpected insights show that:

  • People who answer the Simpsons are more likely to buy organic food.
  • People who answer the Simpsons are more likely to be fans of TV documentaries.
  • People who answer Modern Family are more likely to subscribe to T-Mobile.
  • People who answer Modern Family are more likely to live in the city.
  • People who answer Seinfeld are more likely to be outgoing and enthusiastic in social situations.

Throughout the family drama that many will experience this Thanksgiving, TV shows and movies can provide a valuable and comical outlet. They really do bring people together. If you weren’t even aware that some of these shows had popular Thanksgiving-themed episodes, there’s no better time to watch all of them than when you’re immobilized by excessive food consumption. Oh, the beauty of the day.

Commence Thanksgiving Food Coma 

I hope you find these insights interesting, or at the least, a humorous retreat from awkward family conversations at the Thanksgiving table!  We at CivicScience wish a fantastic Thanksgiving to those of you who celebrate it!