Americans are craving experiences and togetherness this holiday season while also planning to spend more on holiday feasts and gather in larger groups than in recent years. According to the third annual Harris Poll, commissioned by Omaha Steaks, new trends are emerging, with more Americans planning to give more food-related gifts to celebrate the holidays.
The survey, which included 2,000 consumers, assesses Americans on various holiday-related dining, entertainment, and gift plans.
While seven in ten Americans (71%) are looking forward to spending time around the dinner table with family this year, the new findings revealed surprising insights about how (and when) Americans plan to celebrate this holiday season.
New Trends in the Gifting Season
Eight in ten (80%) of respondents note they have enough material possessions, so it’s no surprise that 7 in 10 (71%) people agree giving an experience as a gift is more memorable than a physical item gift. Not only are people craving experiences like a quality family meal, but 77% (and 87% of Boomers) would also rather have time together around the table than get a holiday gift.
However, an experience can mean more than tickets to an event or an outing to a location. Nearly 8 in 10 (79%) of Americans agree that food-related gifts make for great cooking and meal experiences, and 76% say they are practical and would be excited to receive them for the holidays. Further, 7 in 10 indicate they’re planning to gift food and spirits this holiday season.
“Enjoying a meal together has always been the way I bond with my family and friends during the holidays. Good food and laughter were always present and in abundance around the dinner table! I love giving the gift of a high-quality meal so others can do the same,” said Omaha Steaks executive chef David Rose. “Omaha Steaks products are flash-frozen at peak freshness, shipping right to your doorstep with instructions on how to prepare your meal. So, no matter where your loved ones are this holiday season, they can receive a gift that never fails to bring people together.”
Food Inflation, But No Skimping on Holiday Entertaining
Despite the impact of food inflation this year, more than three-quarters of Americans (77%) agree on holiday entertaining; quality is more important than low prices when buying meal ingredients.
More than half of Americans (52%) do not plan to cut back on their Thanksgiving spending despite rising food prices, and there’s even a slight increase in those (28% percent, up from 24% in 2021) who plan to spend more than $200 on their Thanksgiving spread.
Nearly a third of Americans (31%) note that while their budgets are tightening, they would not sacrifice hosting family and friends during the holidays.
“The holidays can be hectic, and with the added effects of inflation and widespread supply chain issues, this holiday season may seem more stressful than usual,” said Omaha Steaks CEO Todd Simon. “After 105 years of delivering joy during the holidays, Omaha Steaks has mastered ensuring your family has one less worry by making it easy to get the highest quality meats and holiday packages conveniently delivered anywhere in the U.S. This allows families to fully appreciate what matters most – being together.”
Bigger holiday gatherings and multi-date celebrations
As people accommodate the busy schedules of family and friends, more than half of Americans (54%) celebrate winter holidays on days outside their official calendar dates, with nearly half (45%) celebrating both on the official date and other dates.
When Americans celebrate the holidays this season, those gatherings will likely be with more people than in the past three years:
- Bigger Thanksgiving gatherings: More than a third (33%) plan to have 11 or more people at their Thanksgiving gatherings, up from 22% in 2021 and 18% in 2020.
- More people at other holidays: Beyond Thanksgiving, 40% of Americans anticipate having ten or more people at other holiday celebrations (up 9% from 2021).
- Home for New Year’s: Just more than half of Americans (54%) plan to spend a quieter evening at home, which is on par with years past.