Thanksgiving is Better in North Texas


Autumn table setting with pumpkins. | Image by Shutterstock

The personal finance website WalletHub has ranked the top 100 places to enjoy Thanksgiving in the U.S. this year. As it turns out, North Texas is one of the best destinations, with three cities in the region — Plano, Irving, and Dallas — ranking among the top 15 on the list.

WalletHub analyzed five key dimensions among the 100 largest cities in the country: 1) Thanksgiving Celebrations & Traditions, 2) Affordability, 3) Safety & Accessibility, 4) Giving Thanks, and 5) Thanksgiving Weather Forecast.

The dimensions were further broken down into 20 relevant metrics and assigned a score of up to 100 points. The more favorable the Thanksgiving conditions are for each metric, the higher the score.

The first category, “Thanksgiving Celebrations & Traditions,” looked at indicators like the number of events (i.e., parades, festivals, etc.) per capita and even the concentration of pumpkin patches. The study also analyzed the volume of Google searches for terms like “Thanksgiving activities,” “Thanksgiving dinner,” and “Thanksgiving traditions,” among others.

“Affordability” analyzed factors like the cost of an average Thanksgiving dinner, while “Safety & Accessibility” graded the crime rate, percentage of delayed flights, and even traffic congestion.

The “Giving Thanks” category assessed each location’s volunteer and charitable activity. Finally, “Thanksgiving Weather Forecast” ranked an area’s temperature and forecasted precipitation.

When it came time to combine each metric, Plano ranked 7th in the country. In particular, the city performed well in “Thanksgiving Celebration & Traditions,” the highest-weighted category in the study. Irving and Dallas also enjoyed a strong showing, ranking 9th and 13th in the country.

Plano fell the shortest in terms of affordability. After all, it is home to the first Walmart that included an expanded selection of luxury items, like $500 bottles of wine.

While prices may be higher in Plano, experts interviewed for the study offered some helpful tips to keep costs down this season. Fred Hurvitz, Kohl’s Professor of Practice for Retail Studies, Smeal College of Business at Pennsylvania State University, suggests planning early and maintaining flexibility in travel plans.

Fang Meng, a Professor at the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management at the University of South Carolina, recommends, where possible, “to avoid peak travel dates for the Thanksgiving holiday.” She also suggests considering apps like GasBuddy to locate the cheapest gas stations to refuel your vehicle.

With inflation persisting at elevated levels, Thanksgivings will be pricier across the country this November. Traditional fare, like rolls, sauces, and gravy, is up 17% this year. Prices for frozen baked goods and canned fruits and vegetables have increased by 18% and 16%, respectively.

Though the holiday is centered around gratefulness, there is an undeniable commercial aspect to it as well, as people flock to retailers for the latest Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. On average, American consumers drop $301 each over the five-day holiday period, enough to cover more than five full average Thanksgiving meals feeding 10 people each.

Meng said, “People tend to spend money on goods that they do not actually need but end up purchasing them due to the Black Friday deals, which is the biggest money waster in my opinion. It is important to plan your shopping list ahead and think twice if you really need the item or not.”

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