A look at what is trending this Thanksgiving

Searches in Google Trends show how different this Thanksgiving will be, what unites the country and what really may be the favorite Thanksgiving day pie.

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Not surprising for this year, but five of the top Google searches involving Thanksgiving that started with “Should I” all asked questions of whether the individual should travel, fly or visit family for the holiday.

The coronavirus pandemic, as it marches through 2020 and alters everyday life along the way, is now altering the holiday period. A vaccine is on the horizon and Americans are adjusting to an altered version of turkey day.

So just what else do the Google search trends show about Thanksgiving?


Sweet potatoes outpaced every other side dish typically on the Thanksgiving Day menu in terms of interest in the country this past week, well ahead of pumpkin pie, green bean casserole and mashed potatoes. Green beans topped the side dish search in Minnesota.

As always, turkey continues to be the key for many meals on the holiday.

“Turkey is the traditional main course on Thanksgiving day,” Google Trends reports. “Searches for ‘how to cook turkey’ spike each year in November.”

So it wasn’t a surprise what made the top how-to search this past week, but one that placed second might be. The final “how to” search is a nod to how different this holiday will be.

Top 5 ‘how to’ searches on Thanksgiving

  1. How to cook a turkey

  2. How to draw a turkey

  3. How to make dressing for Thanksgiving

  4. How to make stuffing for Thanksgiving

  5. How to celebrate Thanksgiving during COVID

Most searched ‘Virtual Thanksgiving’ searches

  1. Virtual Thanksgiving games

  2. Virtual Thanksgiving activities

  3. Virtual Thanksgiving 5K

  4. Virtual Thanksgiving run

  5. Virtual Thanksgiving party ideas


The nation appears mainly united on turkey cooking techniques based on searches this past week with the vast majority of the country from the West Coast into the Tennessee Valley going for smoked turkey. Wisconsin joined the Northeast portion of the country in searches for roast turkey and Louisiana and the Eastern Seaboard from Maryland to Florida all searched fried turkey. In some cases the top search won out by a little and in some cases by a lot, showing a dominant trend for cooking preference at least in the search category.

Most s e arched pies

Is your household one where multiple pies are on the menu and perhaps your brother always has a slice of each after dinner? Well the most searched pies in Google Trends may provide a surprise on what most people were looking up recently.


  • Pumpkin pie — 43%

  • Pecan pie — 26%

  • Apple pie — 21%

  • Sweet potato pie — 10%

Trending Thanksgiving drinks

  1. Cranberry cocktail

  2. Punch

  3. Hot-buttered rum

  4. Apple cider mimosa

  5. Spiked hot chocolate


Minnesota was in a short list compared to the rest of the country in search interest in Thanksgiving activities. The searches weren’t just about weather and coronavirus cases or, as with most of the country, for Thanksgiving parades. Nine states, including Minnesota, had Google Trends showing the largest search interest was in Thanksgiving football, followed by Thanksgiving parades.

“This holiday is to give thanks, but this year may be a bit different,” Google reported. And that might be a mild description for what this holiday could bring with people gathering virtually through options like FaceTime or Zoom to have a seat at the family table instead of gathering in person. Either way, they will still be able to be thankful for health, friends and family and look forward to celebrating together with familiar holiday traditions in 2021.

Renee Richardson, managing editor, may be reached at 218-855-5852 or Follow on Twitter at

Renee Richardson is managing editor at the Brainerd Dispatch. She joined the Brainerd Dispatch in 1996 after earning her bachelor's degree in mass communications at St. Cloud State University.
Renee Richardson can be reached at or by calling 218-855-5852 or follow her on Twitter @dispatchbizbuzz or Facebook.
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