It’s almost Thanksgiving and Millennials can’t contain their excitement! We checked in with 538 13-34-year-olds the past few days to hear how they’ll be celebrating the holiday, as well as what they’re most thankful for this year. And as to be expected, they’re grateful for a lot, most notably their family and friends who are their support system. They’re eager to celebrate the holiday, which is a favorite for many, both because they get to spend time with their loved ones and because of the food. The ways in which they spend the holiday, the traditions they participate in, and what they’ll be giving thanks for this year provides insights into this generation and what they value the most.
Millennials are extremely close with their family, so it makes sense that they’re most thankful for them. Unlike previous generations, young people view their parents as close friends, and because of that, they like hanging out with their parents (perhaps in moderation though!) In today’s economy, it’s quite common for young people to move back home with their parents, so Millennials are more appreciative than ever of their Mom and Dad’s help, both emotionally and financially. Several “boomerang” Millennials mentioned that they’re glad to have gotten closer to their parents since returning to their childhood home, highlighting a trend wherein parents and kids continue to become closer. Their parents have believed in them and made them feel special their whole lives, and Millennials are appreciative to have their parents as pals. Gen Y is also grateful for their extended family, including their grandparents, aunts, and uncles, and many are excited about the holiday because they will get to see these loved ones.
It’s no surprise that friends are also extremely important to Millennials who do everything from making them laugh to giving them suggestions on what to purchase. They’re in communication with their friends at all times and for many, friends are an extension of their family. Hanging out with friends is the number one activity that young people like to do and they’re grateful to have their friends just a text, click, or tweet away. While Millennials have a huge network of friends online, their circle of close friends is small, and they value their loyal, best friends whom many said help them through any situation.
Despite the high cost of college and the high unemployment rate, Millennials appreciate their education which teaches them necessary skills and prepares them for whatever path they may choose to take. Many mentioned they’re grateful for specific teachers who’ve influenced and guided them. The education system may be changing with more online classes available than ever before and a culture where young people can teach themselves anything, but they still believe school is invaluable and provides them with an abundance of opportunities.
Health — for themselves and for their loved ones — is of course something that Millennials give thanks for since it allows them to live and pursue their dreams. They realize that material possessions aren’t nearly as important as their well-being and the health of those they care about. Similarly, shelter and food were also frequently mentioned since they’re necessary means of survival. Many said these specifically in relation to the Hurricane and how they’re thankful that their family has a place to live and food on the table each day. According to recent Ypulse research, 62% of Millennials worry about hunger and homelessness a great deal or fair amount, suggesting that they realize the severity of these problems, which they want to help solve, and they’re grateful for what they have personally.
Additionally, those who have a job realize that they are extremely fortunate and many indicated that they’re particularly lucky to have one that they’re passionate about. Most Millennials are unemployed or underemployed, but they’re optimistic about their future regardless, and those who have something already are glad they can support themselves.
Other common responses include religion, freedom and sports, which all add value to people’s lives and let them express themselves. But overall, Millennials are most appreciative of people — family, friends, and their significant other — as well as pets, and they’re looking forward to spending Thanksgiving with them.
So how exactly is Gen Y celebrating Thanksgiving? They’re mostly hanging out and preparing for the feast. Three-quarters said they’ll be helping make the Thanksgiving meal and 43% said they’ll help decorate the house. For many, these are traditions that make the day and dinner special, and they get to be alongside their family as they do so. They want everything to look and taste amazing, and we’re sure they’ll be Instagramming the décor and delicious food all day before they dig in!
But Thanksgiving won’t be all work; 43% plan to watch the Thanksgiving parade and nearly this same percentage (42%) plan to watch a sports game. Relaxing at home is what many look forward to, especially college students who are home for a few days and are eager to enjoy the comfort of their house again.
And of course, you can’t forget about Thanksgiving/Black Friday shopping. Nearly half (48%) plan to shop the special sales on Thanksgiving day or night (not even including Black Friday itself!), which shows just how much the marketing holiday is growing and how retailers are reaching young people. We expect online shopping to be popular throughout Thursday, as well as the event of shopping in stores on Thursday evening. It’s sure to be a busy day for most Millennials who want to fit in many of these activities, but it’s clear that giving thanks will remain top of mind for them!