Thanksgiving 2023

Patricia O’Connell

Americans who are celebrating a traditional Thanksgiving dinner this year can look forward to a meal that is cheaper than last year’s. According to the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), the overall cost of dinner is down 4.5 percent.

The decrease is mostly thanks to lower prices for turkey, which have dropped 5.6 percent compared to 2022 prices. (Cranberries prices are down 18%, the bureau also notes.)

Diners will have plenty of time to enjoy their meals. Many major retailers will stay closed for the holiday, sticking with a pandemic-induced reversal from when Thanksgiving was a major shopping day.

Among those whose stores will be closed are Best Buy, Costco, Dick’s Sporting Goods, hobby lobby, Home Depot, IKEA, Petsmart Petco, Marshalls, Macy’s, Lowe’s, Sam’s Club, Target, TJ Maxx, and Walmart.

Of those retailers, only Costco and Walmart were traditionally closed on the holiday.

Restaurants can likely expect plenty of traffic, between in-house diners and those picking up all or part of their Thanksgiving feast.


Number of turkeys expected to be eaten on Thanksgiving: 146 million, costing $128 billion.

The cost of turkey has outpaced inflation by a ratio of approximately 2 to 1 for the past 10 years.

Turkey prices dropped by 21.4% in 2017 from 2016. The biggest year-over-year price increase was 28.7%,  in 2022.

At $64.38, the price of a Thanksgiving dinner for 10 is highest in the Northeast. It’s lowest in the Midwest: $58.66.

Turkey production was 7.4% below the 5-year national average as of July 2023.

Restaurant employees rank Thanksgiving as the second-worst holiday to work, trailing only Mother’s Day.

Almost a quarter of Americans – 23% – said they were likely to pick up a full Thanksgiving meal from a restaurant, while another 22% said they are likely to pick up the extras.

SOURCES: USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service; American Farm Bureau Federation; Statista; Technomic, RetailMeNot