This week, Americans will show their gratitude by shoveling in piles of food, watching hours of football, and heading to the shopping mall. The rituals have changed since the Pilgrims and American Indians first sat down together, and some of the numbers behind America's most cherished traditions are staggering. Below, U.S. News has crunched the holiday numbers.
$59.1 billion: Roughly how much Americans spent shopping on Thanksgiving weekend 2012, according to calculations from the National Retail Federation. This is nearly equal to the country of Sri Lanka's 2012 GDP ($59.4 billion), according to CIA figures.
$578 billion: Total holiday season retail sales in 2012, according to data compiled by the NRF – just larger than the 2012 GDP of Iran ($548.9 billion, according to the CIA) and just smaller than Switzerland's GDP for the same year ($632.4 billion).
28.7 million: The number of people who watched the Washington-Dallas NFL game last Thanksgiving, which made it the most-watched show of the fall TV season, according to Zap2it. This means that nearly one in 10 Americans watched the Washington team beat the Cowboys. The game was followed closely in viewership by the Texans-Lions Thanksgiving game, which 27.3 million people watched.
242 million: The number of turkeys that will be raised in the U.S. during 2013, down 5 percent from 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Minnesota leads all states in turkey production, with a projected 45 million this year.
21 percent: The share of all turkeys consumed in the U.S. that are eaten at Thanksgiving celebrations. The most recent figures from the National Turkey Federation, an industry trade group, estimate that in 2011, more than one in five turkeys consumed that year was eaten at Thanksgiving tables. Another 10 percent were eaten at Christmas and nearly 9 percent were eaten on Easter.
$49.04: The cost for a "typical" Thanksgiving meal featuring turkey, stuffing, cranberries, pie and other side dishes, according to the Farm Bureau Federation. The cost for the meal has held steady over time – 25 years ago it cost $26.61, or $52.53 in today's dollars.
9 percent: The average percentage drop in frozen turkey prices from October to November, as The New York Times reported earlier in November. The decline may be a way for retailers to bring customers in the door during a time of heavy grocery shopping, The Times reports.
15 million: The estimated number of Americans who have a food allergy, according to Food Allergy Research and Education, a nonprofit group that advocates for Americans with food allergies. That means nearly 1 in 20 Americans need to be careful about what they eat – and that many cooks will have to make sure they're accommodating everyone at the table. Nothing ruins Thanksgiving like anaphylaxis, after all.