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Thanksgiving dinner table
Brent Hofacker—Alamy

Cost of Thanksgiving Dinner Cracks $50 for the First Time

Nov 19, 2015

Putting out the traditional Thanksgiving spread will cost the host or hostess a little more this year, according to a new estimate from the Farm Bureau. This year's average cost for a turkey dinner with all the trimmings plus dessert comes to $50.11, a 70¢ increase over last year's $49.41 average. By comparison, there was only a 37¢ increase between 2013 and 2014.

This is the first time the average cost for a Thanksgiving dinner has broken the $50 barrier. When the Farm Bureau first started its annual tally 1986, the average for the same feast was $28.74.

The biggest increase this year is in the cost of a 16-pound turkey, which went up by $1.39, to $23.04. In a release accompanying the numbers, the Farm Bureau said much of the price hike could be blamed on bird flu outbreaks, which lowered turkey populations. (The group added that it sees prices stabilizing, which means families who cook turkeys for Christmas dinner might not have to pay quite as much.)

In addition to turkey, the list includes bread stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls, butter, peas, cranberries, carrots and celery for a relish tray, pumpkin pie, whipped cream, coffee, and milk, in amounts that serve 10, plus leftovers (natch). The prices for cranberries, peas, milk and whipping cream all fell slightly from last year's numbers.

Aside from the increased cost for the bird, most of the other higher food prices are for the meal's prepared starches: premade pie shells, dinner rolls, and cubed stuffing mix, which contributed to a total 20¢ increase. The cost of canned pumpkin pie mix also ticked up slightly from last year. Bottom line: If you want to save a few bucks—to say nothing of earn kudos from your guests—making some of all of these items from scratch could be the way to go.

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