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The surveys are in: City employees share their thanksgiving traditions and plans

People passing side dishes during Thanksgiving dinner at dining table.
People passing side dishes during Thanksgiving dinner at dining table.(skynesher | Getty Images)
Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 10:08 PM MST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - It’s almost Thanksgiving and some Rapid City employees weighed in through a survey about their upcoming plans and traditions.

When asked what they were most thankful for, most everyone responded that their family, their friends, and good health topped their list. 10.5% noted that they were thankful for their jobs, and being able to work with great coworkers. 82% of respondents will be hosting a Thanksgiving dinner at their own home or staying close by with family or friends who are within the Black Hills area. According to the survey, the most popular side dish at the Thanksgiving feast was stuffing, cited by more than 27%. Mashed potatoes and gravy came in close at 18.5%, and green bean casserole came in third at 12.8%.

When respondents were asked to weigh in on their least favorite side dishes, many sited anything with cranberries.

Regarding favorite desserts, more than 68% of those surveyed reach for the pumpkin or pecan pie.

56% of respondents plan on watching football, while others mentioned board games, movies, or watching the holiday parades on television.

Black Friday plans showed more sleeping and less shopping. Six out of ten city employees would rather sleep in and relax. 18.1% of respondents did have plans to do at least some shopping online. Still, almost 9% plan on keeping up with the pre-dawn Black Friday tradition and will head out for early shopping and deals.

At least half of those surveyed said that they will take some of their time and use it to decorate for the upcoming Christmas season. Still, 35.3% say they will hold off on decorating until it gets a little closer to Christmas. 8.8% say they have have already decorated.

Here are the results:

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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%

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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%

  • 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%

  • 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 break 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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