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Food & Drink

More than half of Americans plan to celebrate Thanksgiving all alone

The pandemic caused 60% of respondents to reevaluate the holidays, with 68% saying the way they celebrate has changed forever.



Elderly pensive man eating a freshly baked bread roll staring thoughtfully past the camera as he reminisces

Many Americans carved their Thanksgiving turkeys solo last year — and over half plan to do it again this holiday season. 

A survey of 2,000 Americans looked at how respondents’ traditions and feelings about the holidays changed during the pandemic – and the results found that 72% of those who celebrated alone last year thought the festivities were more stressful than in past years.

The pandemic caused 60% of respondents to reevaluate the holidays, with 68% saying the way they celebrate has changed forever.

When it comes to holiday foods, 44% of respondents said they cooked a holiday meal by themselves for the first time last year, and 58% plan to do it again this year.

However, more than half (54%) said they ate different holiday foods than what they were used to last year. Those foods included pizza (30%), steak (29%), pasta (28%) and fast food (26%).

Commissioned by The Little Potato Company and conducted by OnePoll, the study also found that people are looking forward to the holidays this year, with 61% feeling optimistic that they will get to see their families again. 

Many (41%) prefer to celebrate only with their immediate family, and data also revealed that 47% of respondents believe some holiday traditions should be left in the past.

According to the findings, those include listening to family discuss politics (49%) and kissing under the mistletoe (39%).

Meanwhile, respondents identified holiday traditions they look forward to this year, such as baking (40%), making and eating a family dish (37%), listening to holiday music (34%) and gathering with their families in person (31%).

This year, 46% of people said they want to start new traditions, and of them, 81% plan to pass them down to their families.

The holidays now mean respondents are exploring new ways to celebrate: spending less money and focusing on experiences, hosting holiday celebrations via video calls and having a deeper appreciation for family and friends.

“Enjoying good food is an important holiday tradition every year, no matter how you are celebrating,” said Angela Santiago, CEO and co-founder of The Little Potato Company. “Whether it’s spending hours recreating grandma’s secret recipe or using a modern hack to make a classic dish quickly, food will always be at the center of our celebrations.”

During a typical holiday season, 62% prefer having friends and family over for dinners and parties unrelated to the holidays themselves.

Many admit cooking during the week can be overwhelming, with 44% saying they are stressed about finding time to make regular, weeknight meals during the busy holiday season.

More than a third plan to survive weeknights during this holiday season by buying pre-made or easy-to-make meals (39%), meal-prepping (38%), having groceries delivered (34%) or ordering take-out (31%).

“As a busy parent, taking the guesswork out of weeknight dinners gives me more time to enjoy the holiday season with my family and friends,” said Santiago. “For me, that might mean making a sheet pan meal or preparing an easy dinner with little cleanup. The holidays are always bustling, so my advice is to find simple solutions that make things easier for you.”


  1. Baking 40%
  2. Making and eating a family dish 37%
  3. Listening to holiday music 34%
  4. In-person family gatherings 31%
  5. Decorating gingerbread houses 29%

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