On this Thanksgiving, we don't just count our blessings — we make charts and graphs of them. Here is a look at this year's holiday, in five charts:
It wouldn't be Thanksgiving without turkey. And here in Massachusetts, some are taking matters into their own hands and hunting wild turkeys. The county with the most wild turkeys taken home? That would be Worcester County, with 820 in 2017. Closer to Boston, fewer wild turkeys meet their maker at the hands of hunters, although reports of hostile, aggressive turkeys are on the rise. The urban birds do have their fans, though, and even some fan art.
A few counties in Massachusetts report zero farmed turkeys, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture doesn't report numbers in counties where doing so would reveal too much about a single farm's operation. While it's probably too late to snag a local bird for Thanksgiving, if you're looking to the next round of holidays, you can find a list of local turkey farms here.
No Thanksgiving feast is complete without side dishes, and ensuring that families in need have vegetables and fresh produce on their tables is part of the Greater Boston Food Bank's mission. During the Thanksgiving period this year, the food bank will distribute more than two million pounds of fresh produce. That's seven times the amount of fresh produce the food bank brought in and distributed in 2001 over the Thanksgiving holiday.
It appears on our tables once a year, and while some prefer to make cranberry sauce from an old family recipe, a solid majority of WGBH News followers who responded to our poll on Twitter prefer slices straight from the can:
🦃 As Thanksgiving approaches, important T-day question for you: should cranberry sauce come from a can, or no?— GBH News (@GBHNews) November 16, 2018
For decades, Massachusetts dominated the market for the tart red berry, with Wisconsin close behind. That was true until the mid-1990s, when cranberry production in Wisconsin took off; that state now produces between four and six million 100-pound barrels of cranberries per year. Massachusetts produces two to three million barrels annually.
Cranberry farmers have not had an easy year; the USDA estimates that it costs $35 per barrel to produce the crop, but prices are at $31.50 a barrel, and the industry faces new tariffs that make it harder to sell their produce abroad.
For many, what's standing between us and the feast is miles of interstate highway. The days surrounding Thanksgiving are usually the busiest for travel all year, and this year is expected to be no exception. AAA forecasts that 54.3 million Americans will travel this week, most of them by car.
The day after Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the busiest shopping season of the year. Last December, shoppers spent more than $500 million in the retail industry. The national Monthly Retail Trade Survey keeps track of retailers' earnings. Hover over the chart below to explore the data. The big dip and slow climb out of the economic crash of 2008 is notable, as is the fact that the tallest bars all represent the month of December.