So We're Not Traveling to Family This Thanksgiving, But the Real Question Is: What Time Do We Eat?

A new study suggests that while far fewer of us plan to fly on an airplane to see relatives this Thanksgiving because of the pandemic, many of us are still planning to go home — we're just driving there instead. 

Despite experts like CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta urging the public to sit out family gatherings this year as the Covid-19 virus spikes across much of the country, the number of us planning to travel altogether in the coming days is only about 10 percent lower than last year, according to a study for AAA as reported by Statista. While air travel is projected to be off by almost 50%, highway traffic is likely to be off by only about 4%. 

The data can be read, says Statista, as Americans "forgoing long-distance travel because of Covid-19 but still keen to visit friends and family who live short or medium distances away." Despite how you get there or who you're spending your holiday with, Thanksgiving gatherings carry "an inherent risk of infection," according to experts, who advise those who are planning events to keep them small and preferably keep them outdoors. And as sad as it sounds, keep grandma at home this year.

Anecdotally, I can share that among my friends, family and associates, those who have been cautious all along during this pandemic are (big surprise) also being judicious about Thanksgiving plans. Many people I've talked to are, as experts suggest, keeping their gatherings small or foregoing the holiday altogether this year. (Same goes for Christmas.) Of course, I try to not surround myself with people who aren't smart, well-informed and personally responsible. 

Some may debate skipping Thanksgiving or whether to risk inviting grandma, but one thing we can all agree on is, this is the one day of the year when it is socially acceptable to gorge oneself (come to think of it, in America that's any other day, too). The question: What time do you serve the traditional Thanksgiving feast, and when do you think most of your fellow Americans set the table? 

Statista reports that the overwhelming majority of households (42%) serve between 1-3 p.m., while the second most popular feeding time is late afternoon, or 4-5 p.m. (29%). 

What's for dinner? Turkey (duh) is served by 81% of consumers, with 64% whipping up mashed potatoes. 

(Putting on my eating pants now.)

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