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Monday, November 21 2022

Thanksgiving Day: Turkin’ 9 to 5

Thanksgiving is an annual national holiday in the United States and Canada, celebrating the harvest and other blessings of the past year.

What’s Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is all about reflecting on blessings and acknowledging gratitude. After all, in President George Washington’s 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation, he stated its purpose: “Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor—and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me ‘to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.’”

Some (Fun) Facts!

  • Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday on October 3, 1863. Sarah Josepha Hale, the woman who wrote “Mary Had A Little Lamb,” convinced Lincoln to make Thanksgiving a national holiday after writing letters for 17 years.
  • The history of U.S. presidents pardoning turkeys is patchy. Harry Truman is often credited with being the first president to pardon a turkey, but that’s not entirely true. He was the first to receive a ceremonial turkey from the National Turkey Federation – and he had it for dinner. John F. Kennedy was the first to let a Thanksgiving turkey go, followed by Richard Nixon, who sent his turkey to a petting zoo. George H.W. Bush is the president who formalized the turkey pardoning tradition in 1989.
  • There are four towns in the United States named “Turkey.” They can be found in Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, and North Carolina.
  • The average number of calories consumed on Thanksgiving is 4,500

What does the Data say?

We built a Noteable data notebook to look into historical data using no-code visualization, Python, R and querying the Twitter API.

Looking into the Twitter API

We use our access to the Twitter API to show how you can use Noteable to access Twitter data. After you store your secret key in Noteable in a matter of minute you can play with the query parameters, such as:

search_url = "https://api.twitter.com/2/tweets/search/recent?max_results=100"
# Optional params: start_time,end_time,since_id,until_id,max_results,next_token,
# expansions,tweet.fields,media.fields,poll.fields,place.fields,user.fields
query_params = {'query': 'thanksgiving -is:retweet', 'expansions': 'author_id', 'user.fields': 'created_at', 'tweet.fields': 'public_metrics'}

And turn it into a world cloud. Beyond the word Thanksgiving (of course!), we see the expected words coming up: turkey, dish, family, roundup, love, celebrate, recipe, perfect, happy, Thursday, and dinner… Nothing really to get from this tweet beyond that, but it’s a good example to show how we can easily leverage the Twitter API with Python in the future.

World cloud Thanksgiving Twitter

Looking into the Google Trend API

There are some caveats when using the Google API through the pytrends package.

  • This is not an official or supported API
  • Google may change aggregation level for items with very large or very small search volume
  • Rate Limit is not publicly known, let me know if you have a consistent estimate
  • One user reports that 1,400 sequential requests of a 4 hours timeframe got them to the limit. (Replicated on 2 networks)
  • It has been tested, and 60 seconds of sleep between requests (successful or not) appears to be the correct amount once you reach the limit.
  • For certain configurations the dependency lib certifi requires the environment variable REQUESTS_CA_BUNDLE to be explicitly set and exported. This variable must contain the path where the ca-certificates are saved or a SSLError: [SSL: CERTIFICATE_VERIFY_FAILED] error is given at runtime.

I looked at the interests across the globe for the search term: “Thanksgiving”. It’s no surprise that the US ranks first, followed by Canada. Seeing Ghana and Puerto Rico. A simple Google search led to learning about Homowo, the equivalent of Thanksgiving celebrated by the Ga people of Ghana. Unlike our Thanksgiving, Homowo goes on for about 3 months, starting with the blessing of crops as they are sown and following with a series of dances and rituals until the harvest is reaped and the ‘Thanksgiving’ feast is shared.

Thanksgiving Interests across the globe

When I looked into the Google Trends for the most common holidays in the US, It was as expected that the popularity of these searches has a high seasonality, meaning that people are interested in it went they occur and then stop inquiring about it the rest of the year.

Holiday Google Trends: Interest over time

We take note of Christmas being significantly the most popular holiday in terms of Google Searches followed by Thanksgiving and Halloween. Christmas saw an increase in interest from 2011 onwards, with a stabilization in 2019. Thanksgiving’s popularity has been consistent for 17 years.

A Closer Look at Turkey Production

The USDA has predicted a turkey shortage in 2022. If you and your family plan to gobble up the Thanksgiving dinner essential, reserve one now while you still can. What’s not in shortage in 2021 and 2022 anyway! One of the main reasons seems to be a disease, Avian Influenza. This year’s outbreak is on track to be the worst ever recorded.

How many turkeys are raised every year in the United States?

On top of that, Turkey’s production was already reaching an all-time low in 2021, with 216.5 million units/heads. We don’t have the data for 2022.

What’s a Turkey’s Average Price?

Leveraging the Economic Data from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

 Average Price: Turkey, Frozen, Whole (Cost per Pound/453.6 Grams) in U.S. City Average

I was at Costco this weekend, and the cheapest one you can find is $0.99 a Pound. However, it’s important to note that the price of organic turkey at Costco and their smoked turkey has increased for 2022. The organic turkey for 2022 is $3.49 per pound.

Now that we have looked into the fluctuation in price, I was curious to look at the weight changes. Why? As I said, I was at Costco, and I saw that giant Turkey, and it seemed too big to me. We are planning a party of 6, and it was challenging to find a small turkey. And I was right! Turkeys got bigger and so are we, on average!

Change in Average Weight of Humans & Turkey

In 60 years, the Average Weight of Turkey spurts by 78%, whereas the Average Weight of a Human has increased by 17.5%. It’s somehow concerning that we could modify that weight by so much.

Thanksgiving and the Stock Market

Researching the most exposed company around Thanksgiving we found a study from Bank of America (BoA) mentioning a couple of stocks that could be the most impacted by Thanksgiving. We decided to look at KHC, The Kraft Heinz Company.

To do so, we used the yfinance package, which allows us to download market data from Yahoo! Finance’s API for free.

Candlestick Chart KHC

KHC Area Chart

There is nothing noticeable across both charts apart from a volume increase the Thanksgiving week last year (2021), but there is no reason to correlate that to Thanksgiving just based on these two charts and limited information about the company news at that time.

Thanksgiving Dinner

As we looked at the AVP of a Turkey, I wondered what the cost and the menu of a typical Thanksgiving dinner in the United States were. The average cost is $48.91 for dinner for 10 persons in 2019, according to Supermarket News. That’s $4.89 per person. Above, we also saw the average weight increase of a Turkey, so I wanted to look into what’s the composition of a Thanksgiving dinner. CNBC ran an analysis, and I standardized the weight (in pounds) to compare apples to apples!

Thanksgiving Dinner Treemap

It is no surprise that Turkey, Milk, and Potatoes make up most of the dishes. I was amazed to realize that ground coffee is a significant ingredient.

Let’s conclude with the result of a survey about the dishes themselves. It’s common for families to celebrate Thanksgiving traditionally but often, I hear that people do not fully enjoy what’s being served and mostly do it by tradition.

Survey Data Thanksgiving Dinner

It’s a close loser against Turkey, but the Cranberry Sauce seems to be the least likable among the respondents. In another WalletHub study, based on Twitter data, only 3 percent of participants named cranberry sauce their favorite Thanksgiving dish.

I wish you all a happy thanksgiving. I’m thankful for what I have. What are you most thankful for?

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Posted by

Pierre Brunelle