November 24, 2021

City Employees, Council Members Share Thanksgiving Favorites, Holiday Plans

RAPID CITY, SD—When it comes to holiday traditions at Thanksgiving, City employees like most Americans will be dining on favorite side dishes while avoiding others, deciding where and how to spend the holiday and whether to shop for Black Friday specials or just sleep in.

City employees and Council members were surveyed last week on their Thanksgiving plans and traditions.  Nearly three out of four who responded are thankful for family, friends and good health.  More than 82 percent of survey respondents plan to either serve Thanksgiving at home or spend the holiday with family or friends within the Black Hills area.  When it comes to favorite side dishes at the Thanksgiving table, stuffing or dressing leads the list, cited by more than 27 percent, followed by mashed potatoes and gravy at 18.5 percent.  Green bean casserole comes in a respectable third at 12.8 percent. 

When it comes to side dishes to avoid, 27.6 percent of respondents shy away from anything cranberries – sauce, salad, etc.  Nearly 14 percent turn their nose up at stuffing or dressing while another 12.3 percent politely pass on the green bean casserole.

More than 68 percent of respondents prefer either pumpkin or pecan pie for Thanksgiving dessert with pumpkin leading the way at 41.4%.

A total of 56 percent will be watching football at some point on Thanksgiving with the remaining 44 percent choosing board games, watching movies or catching shows or holiday parades on television.

When it comes to shopping, more than six in 10 City employees will prefer to catch up on some sleep on Black Friday with another 18.1 percent getting up to do some online shopping.  Nearly nine percent (8.9 percent) will head out for some pre-dawn shopping.   Nearly six percent plan to go fishing or hunting and nearly three percent will be working.

More than half of survey respondents (51.5%) will spend some part of the Thanksgiving weekend decorating their homes for the holiday season.  A total of 35.3 percent will wait to decorate closer to Christmas while 8.8% will have already decorated.

When it comes to what they are most thankful for, more than three out of four respondents point to spending time with family, personal good health and the good health of family.  Another 10.5 percent were thankful for their job and working with great coworkers.  Some respondents also referenced they were thankful for the military service of family members, some of whom are away on deployment this holiday season, and others are thankful to have loved ones back to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday -- football, board games, pumpkin pie and green bean casserole – with family and friends.

Here are the results:

     1)   Favorite Thanksgiving side dish?  (23 different suggestions)

Stuffing/dressing: 27.1%

Mashed potatoes and gravy: 18.5%

Green bean casserole/green beans: 12.8%

Sweet potatoes: 7.12%

Corn casserole: 4.4%

Other favorites include deviled eggs, roasted brussel sprouts, beer and macaroni and cheese.

      2)  Least favorite side dish?  (21 different suggestions)

Cranberries/sauce: 27.6%

Stuffing/dressing: 13.8%

Green bean casserole/green beans: 12.3%

Yams: 9.2%

Sweet potatoes: 7.7%

Other dishes being passed on down the table include beets, glazed carrots, creamed peas and potato salad.

      3)   Where do you plan to have Thanksgiving?

At home: 34.8%

With family/friends in Black Hills region: 47.8%

Traveling away from region: 17.4%

      4)   Is watching football part of your Thanksgiving tradition?

Yes: 56%

No: 44 %

Many who said they would not be watching football, plan to play board games, watch movies or the holiday movies on TV.

      5)   What is your favorite pie or dessert at Thanksgiving?  (18 different selections)

Pumpkin Pie:   41.4%

Pecan Pie:   27%

Apple Pie:   7%

Chocolate Pie:   4.29%

Strawberry/Rhubarb Pie:   4.29%

There was no shortage of dessert favorites recommended here, including apple and rhubarb crisp, cheesecake and lemon meringue pie.

      6)   When it comes to Black Friday shopping, will you…

Head to stores open on Thanksgiving for a deal?   1.5%

Get up before dawn to hit stores early Friday morning?   8.9%

Shop online?   18.1%

Go hunting or fishing?   5.9%

Sleep in?    62.7%

Work?    2.9%

       7)   When it comes to decorating for the holidays, do you…

Decorate before Thanksgiving?   8.8%

Decorate Thanksgiving weekend?   51.5%

Decorate closer to Christmas?   35.3%

Don’t decorate?   4.4%

       8)   What are you most thankful for this Thanksgiving?

A total of 77.6 percent of respondents said they were most thankful for having good health, the good health of family, and spending time with family and friends this holiday.  Another 10.5 percent were thankful for having a great job and great coworkers.  Others responded they were pleased to live in a state like South Dakota; some were thankful for good weather.

                Sentiments from Rapid City Council members:

Jason Salamun:  Jason plans to spend Thanksgiving with family and friends in the Black Hills region this holiday and along with turkey, expecting to enjoy mashed potatoes and gravy, but not so much dressing or stuffing.  He’ll be watching football on Thanksgiving, watching “Christmas Vacation’ instead of shopping on Black Friday and waiting to support Small Business Saturday in Rapid City.  “I’m grateful for the things that matter most: faith, family and freedom. I’m also thankful for the dedication and service of our city staff.”

Pat Jones: “I am most thankful for my family, going to be a grandfather in December for the first time, good employment, and the opportunity to serve our citizens on the City Council.” Pat admits to being partial to corn bread stuffing and pecan pumpkin pie while shying away from the lime jell-o with cottage cheese).

Darla Drew:  “We made it through another year and my dad is still with us to join the family for Thanksgiving.  Dad had a rough year, but always manages to keep his spirits bright through hospital and nursing home therapy stays.” (Darla will decorate for Christmas closer to the holiday.  She’s looking forward to an extra portion of  ‘dressing, not stuffing’ and pineapple marshmallow salad and loves banana cream pie for dessert at Thanksgiving.

Ritchie Nordstrom: “I’m thankful for a good life, family and friends,” said Ritchie, noting he plans to sleep in on Black Friday rather than shop.  He’s looking forward to pumpkin pie with whipped cream and a favorite side dish of cream corn casserole, but he’ll pass on the green bean casserole.

Greg Strommen: Greg also plans to sleep in and avoid the Black Friday rush. On Thanksgiving, he is looking forward to generous portions of sweet potatoes and strawberry rhubarb pie.  He is thankful to God and plans to watch football during the holiday.

Bill Evans:  “I am thankful for a blessed life – never cold, hungry, homeless ever.” (Bill plans to watch football, eat seven layer salad but steer clear of the cranberries with orange peels. His favorite holiday dessert is a tie between pumpkin and apple pie with ice cream)

Laura Armstrong: “I am thankful for my health, my family and my sense of humor,” says Laura, who admits her favorite side dish is green beans and favorite dessert as pumpkin pie.  She hopes to sleep in and stay as far away as possible from shopping this Black Friday.

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