Almost a Third of Americans Have Made Excuse to Avoid Family Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving may traditionally be a time for family, but new research suggests nearly a third of Americans have made up an excuse to skip the annual get-together.

When it comes to the benefits of spending the holiday with family, the research is divided.

A thanksgiving dinner and woman at home.
File photos of a family Thanksgiving and a woman relaxing at home alone. Nearly a third of adults have admitted to making excuses to skip out of the holidays. Drazen Zigic/gorodenkoff/Getty

Routines and rituals like the shared experience of the Thanksgiving dinner have been shown to play an important role in boosting the health and well-being of families.

In a review of 50 years of research published in the Journal of Family Psychology, researchers from Syracuse University in New York found these routines were associated with better marital satisfaction, improvements in adolescents' sense of personal identity and stronger family relationships.

However, previous research from the American Psychological Association has also found 38 percent of people feel more stressed during the holiday season, while just 8 percent feel happier.

Now a new study suggests a significant proportion of U.S. adults today are shying away from spending the holidays with their families.

In a survey of 1,500 adults conducted by Redfield & Wilton Strategies on behalf of Newsweek, respondents were asked: "Have you ever made up an excuse to avoid family at Thanksgiving?"

Surprisingly, 29 percent of those answering the survey said "yes," they had made excuses to avoid seeing family over the holidays.

The research also highlighted how many Americans have slightly foggy memories when it comes to recalling the specific details of why Thanksgiving exists.

When asked, "Do you know the history of Thanksgiving and what it celebrates?" 56 percent replied "yes, entirely;" 40 percent said "yes, somewhat;" while 4 percent admitted "no, not at all."

Elsewhere, the research showed that, when it comes to picking between Thanksgiving and Christmas as the highlight of the holiday season, there's a clear winner.

When asked to say which of the two holidays they enjoyed more, 67 percent said Christmas, with just 33 percent backing Thanksgiving.

While the idea of spending Thanksgiving away from family may seem alien to some, several instances of individuals choosing to spending the holidays alone have hit the headlines in November.

One man went viral on Reddit after explaining he has decided to spend Thanksgiving away from his family, due to their constant criticism of his refusal to pursue a long-term career in the United States Marine Corps like they did.

Another woman, meanwhile, drew praise online after explaining that she was skipping out of the annual get-together, having grown tired of being treated like free childcare at family gatherings.

Elsewhere, Trent Arant published a personal essay explaining why he would be happily spending Thanksgiving with his pets, having opted to live and travel around in a van since 2018.