The True Cost of Thanksgiving: Time Is Money!

Thanksgiving! A time for gratitude, feasting, and yes, a moment to ponder on the economics of our cherished turkey and stuffing extravaganza.

According to the recent survey by the American Farm Bureau Federation, the combined price of 11 essential Thanksgiving ingredients has dipped by 4.5% since last year, settling at $61.17. However, the figure still boasts a 25% increase from 2019, marking a significant rise since pre-pandemic times.

But let’s delve beyond the dollars and cents and consider the time price – a metric that gauges the hours and minutes an average worker needs to toil to afford the Thanksgiving spread. Why time? Because it strips away the complications of inflation, offering a clearer perspective on affordability.

So, how many hours and minutes did the average worker need to work this year to buy that Thanksgiving dinner? Using the 2022 average hourly wage for a production worker of $34.76, the time price of this year’s feast comes in at approximately 1.75 hours, or 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Comparing this to 1986, the inaugural year of the survey, when the Thanksgiving dinner cost $28.74, and the average blue-collar wage was $12.90 per hour, the worker had to put in 2.23 hours, or about 2 hours and 14 minutes, for the same meal. That’s a lot more work for the same Thanksgiving joy.

Despite the twists and turns of inflation and changing prices, there’s a silver lining – the average person can now work less and spend more quality time at the table with loved ones. This year’s progress, measured in time, shows that, despite economic fluctuations, Thanksgiving remains a holiday where the cost in hours worked has decreased since 1986.

So, as you sit down for your Thanksgiving feast this year, take a moment to be thankful not just for the food on your plate but for the gift of time, allowing us to savour the moments that matter most with friends and family. Cheers to progress, gratitude, and a table filled with warmth and connection!

Sven Franssen