This is the true cost of hosting Thanksgiving this year

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year — unless you’re strapped for cash lately. Celebrating Thanksgiving this year will cost more than last year according to a poll sent out by LendingTree to 2,042 Americans expected to gather with family and friends for the food Olympics.

How much more are we dipping into our already precarious budgets this holiday season? According to the answers researchers got back from their online survey the average amount Thanksgiving hosts will spend on food, drink, and decor is about $475, up 53% from last year’s collected data. Researchers believe this extra spending is due to families wanting to make up for other holidays they were unable to gather in large numbers for.

It’s important to keep your kinfolk’s safety in mind, however, coronavirus cases are on the rise and with financial uncertainty creeping into everyone’s lives it’s best not to go overboard on your Thanksgiving and other holiday budgets this year. There are other costs to your physical and mental well-being to keep in mind if you decide to host dinner at your place this year as well.

The financial cost of hosting Thanksgiving dinner

Over 41% of Americans are hosting small Thanksgiving gatherings this year. Most hosts projected serving no more than 9 guests, which is much safer for protecting your loved ones from the raging pandemic outside. Only 33% of people were hosts last year but this is probably due to the fact that many people are hosting more smaller gatherings as a safety precaution.

Matt Schulz, LendingTree’s chief credit analyst, presents a reasoned warning to adhere to a tight budget this year.

“This has been such a trying, exhausting year for virtually everyone, so I’m not surprised at all to see people going a little overboard this Thanksgiving to make up for it. It’s totally understandable to want to do so, but it’s really important that you don’t make a bad year worse by spending yourself into debt.”

Hosting more small gatherings is the best idea as far as keeping your loved ones healthy but the costs tend to add up. Millennials are projected to spend a whopping $556 on average hosting folks and many of them need to ask for a loan to cover costs. About 57% of holiday hosts do not expect guests to help cover costs so, in turn, 38% of them ask for a short-term loan to make the best out of this joyous occasion.

Another unexpected cost of this holiday is the amount of work you need to take off for cooking and travel. This is also factored into financial losses, flights aren’t cheap. 52% of people admitted to needing to take substantial time off work to prepare for the holiday right. There’s nothing quite like the intoxicating smell of Thanksgiving staples slowing roasting for hours in your kitchen, and for that reason alone the costs can be worth it.

The cost of a stressful gathering on your psyche

This has been a tough year for everyone politically, financially, existentially, you get it. We’ve all gone through a lot attempting to adjust to new normals. Anyone else tired of that phrase? Some of our core reasons for stressing out can come from difficult conversations that crop up after indulging in too much wine at the dinner table. Try to be mindful of everyone’s particular sensitivities this year, since it may be a while until you’re able to safely gather again.

About 42% of hosts are anxious over the potential for political and coronavirus disagreements erupting in an ugly way. My tip is to send a group text ahead of time listing sensitive subjects to avoid for everyone’s sake. Over 22% of hosts are concerned over political divisions, 15% are worried people will bicker over COVID-19 related information, and 10% of those are fretting over the potential for a family drama to take over the pleasantries over a shared bounty. These are all valid points for concern and if you feel hosting this year will be detrimental to your physical or emotional well-being it might be best to skip it this year or celebrate over Zoom where you have the power to mute that obnoxious family member with problematic takes on 2020 this year.

Hosting also comes with the hair-pulling stress of planning, cleaning, and diffusing awkward situations. You may feel like a burnt-out referee at the end of the day, and 60% of Americans admit to feeling stressed out leading up to this holiday in particular. I might sit at the kids table this year to discuss anything but politics to keep my peace of mind, personally.

Be safe and extra mindful this holiday season

With everything from the coronavirus to financial strains due to massive layoffs many Americans are still suffering to bounce back from this year, it’s important to be mindful of everyone’s limitations. If it’s not feasible for loved ones to travel please don’t take it personally. Everyone has their reasons for being extra cautious this Thanksgiving whether it be for financial, personal, or health reasons try to be extra kind, understanding, and thankful you’ve made it through this difficult time with the ones you love still by your side.