Americans Weigh In on Their Favorite Holiday, Most Anticipated Eats, and How they Wash it All Down

Christmas tops the list of most loved holidays, and there'd better be a turkey on that holiday table!

Nov 19, 2015, 05:05 ET from The Harris Poll

NEW YORK, Nov. 19, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- As America becomes increasingly diverse, our traditions are bound to change and adapt – but that's not to say that old traditions are going the way of the dodo. Despite annual outcries about a supposed war on Christmas, it's still Americans' top pick (by a wide margin) when naming their favorite holiday from any point in the calendar year (with 46% naming it as their favorite). What's more, Christmas is the top choice across generations and genders, among households with and without kids under 18, among all political persuasions, and across racial lines as well.

Thanksgiving (19%) is the second choice overall, followed by Halloween (9%), Fourth of July (5%), and Easter (3%). Though Thanksgiving holds the #2 spot among most groups, it doesn't have a complete lock on the position.

  • Among Millennials, Halloween (17%) overtakes Thanksgiving (13%) for the second spot on the list.
  • Thanksgiving holds onto second place among Hispanics (16%), but is closely followed by Fourth of July (15%). When looking at Hispanics by language dominance, though, results vary further still.
    • Among English-dominant Hispanics, Halloween (20%) overshadows Thanksgiving (14%) as their second favorite holiday.
    • Meanwhile, Fourth of July (16% Bilingual, 21% Spanish-dominant) tops turkey day (14% and 18%) as the second favorite among bilingual (16% 4th of July, 14% Thanksgiving) and Spanish-dominant (21%, 18%) Hispanics.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,368 general population U.S. adults, along with representative oversamples of 511 Hispanic Americans (interviewed in English and Spanish) and 179 Asian Americans (interviewed in English), surveyed online between September 9 and 17, 2015. Full results of this study, including data tables, can be found here.

What's cooking?
When asked what one food or dish they most look forward to eating each year during this holiday season, turkey (32%) takes the cake (and the pie, for that matter), with more than three times the mentions of any other dish. Stuffing (9%) is a distant second, followed more closely by ham (8%) and that aforementioned pie (7%). Sweet potatoes/yams (3%) and mashed potatoes (also 3%) round out the top five.

  • Turkey is tops across regions, generations, genders and races, but the number two spot varies among some groups:
    • With 15% of total Hispanics naming tamales as the food they most look forward to eating during the holiday season, this dish is second only to turkey (28% among this group) on their holiday tables.
    • Among Asians, beef (6%) – while a distant second to turkey (34%) – is second nonetheless.

Washing it all down
What to wash that holiday meal down with? Those 21 and older who celebrate (and drink alcohol during) each holiday were asked which alcoholic beverages they're most likely to drink on each:

  • Nearly two-thirds say wine is among the beverages they're most likely to drink for Thanksgiving and Christmas (64% each), with over half (57% for Thanksgiving, 54% for Christmas) specifying table (still) wine.
  • Nearly half consider at least one type of beer among their go-to's on these holidays (47% Thanksgiving, 46% Christmas).
  • Turning to New Year's Eve, 54% of revelers each list wine (with sparkling exceeding still at 40% and 30%, respectively) and liquor/spirits/cocktails, while 43% say beer.
  • Just over half say wine (51%) and over four in ten say beer (46%) for Hanukkah, while the inverse is true for Kwanzaa (55% beer, 43% wine).

Looking across the holidays, older Americans consistently lean more toward wine while their younger counterparts are more prone to pouring a beer or a cocktail, or enjoying a hard cider or flavored malt beverage.

To see other recent Harris Polls, visit us at

Want Harris Polls delivered direct to your inbox? Click here!

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between September 9 and 17, 2015 among 2,368 adults (aged 18 and over). Additionally, oversamples were collected in English and Spanish among 511 Hispanic (representing Spanish-dominant, English-dominant and Bilingual profiles) respondents and in English among 179 Asian respondents. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, The Harris Poll avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of The Harris Poll.

Product and brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.

The Harris Poll® #74, November 19, 2015
By Larry Shannon-Missal, Managing Editor, The Harris Poll

About The Harris Poll®
Begun in 1963, The Harris Poll is one of the longest running surveys measuring public opinion in the U.S. and is highly regarded throughout the world. The nationally representative polls, conducted primarily online, measure the knowledge, opinions, behaviors and motivations of the general public. New and trended polls on a wide variety of subjects including politics, the economy, healthcare, foreign affairs, science and technology, sports and entertainment, and lifestyles are published weekly. For more information, or to see other recent polls, please visit our new website,

Press Contact:
Corporate Communications
The Harris Poll

Logo -


SOURCE The Harris Poll