Don’t leave Minnesota if you want a Happy Thanksgiving


Bickering at the holidays ? is it really a family tradition or something Hollywood invented? If art truly does imitate life then episodes such as Peppermint Patty’s beef with Snoopy over his odd choices for Thanksgiving dinner in the classic “A Charley Brown Thanksgiving,” or Robert Downey Junior’s character pelting his sister with pieces of turkey in “Home for the Holidays,” are very real possibilities in homes across America on November 26.

When you think about it, holiday celebrations, depending on your family’s dynamics, can be challenging. Whether it’s the relative that decides to get drunk every year or the political arguments that invariably occur, it’s not always the happiest day of the year.

Last year, real estate news website Estately set out to study the issue and subsequently compiled the nation’s Thanksgiving Misery Index and, thankfully, Minnesota is nowhere near the top of the list.

The site's editors did, however, use some pretty hilarious criteria when they set about finding the U.S. state most likely to have a miserable Thanksgiving:

  • I think I’m going to be sick – Estately looked into states with the best “likelihood of a family food poisoning episode.” They got their statistics from the CDC.
  • Will somebody get drunk? – Statistics again came from the CDC on states with the highest amount of binge drinking per capita.
  • Arguments – How does one go about figuring out which states have the most people who will argue about politics on Thanksgiving? Easy – they chose states with the “most even split between Democrat and Republican voters,” taken from the 2012 presidential elections.
  • I can’t eat that – Dietary restrictions do not a pleasant Thanksgiving make so the list’s authors looked to states with the highest rate of diabetes and those with a high percentage of vegetarians and vegans.
  • The losing team – What’s the likelihood that the gang’s favorite NFL team will lose on Thanksgiving, thus making the day a downer? The list makers looked at NFL stats for this one and found the states with the most losers on turkey day.
  • Please don’t go – How likely is it that your guests will leave early for Black Friday shopping? They used Facebook data for this result, so take it with a couple of grains of salt.

Ohio Ranks Numero Uno

If you want to have a pleasant Thanksgiving, never, ever spend it in Ohio. Number one on the Thanksgiving Misery Index, Ohio ranks ninth in the nation for salmonella poisoning, number 12 in binge drinking, third in political arguments, first in dietary restrictions, fifth in “NFL losing percentage on Thanksgiving,” and at number 14 in how likely it is your guests will leave to go to a Black Friday sale.

Rounding out the rest of the top five most miserable states on Thanksgiving:

2. Iowa

3. Pennsylvania

4. Arizona

5. Our neighbors, Wisconsin

Happiness is the truth

You don’t need to clap along with Pharrell Williams to show that you know Minnesotans are a happy bunch on the holidays, but can you guess which is the happiest of our states on Thanksgiving Day? Think about your commute home from work yesterday.  If you could have been magically transported from Minnesota in the depth of last winter to anywhere, where would that be?

Yup, Hawaii. What’s not to like about sunning and swimming the entire day leading up to the feast? Throw some coconut on the green beans and some macadamia nuts into the stuffing and you’ve got a gang of verrrry happy Americans.

By the way, if you want to avoid food poisoning on Thanksgiving, don’t eat in West Virginia. If you’re allergic to drunks, turn down invites from friends and family in Wisconsin and you’ll avoid political arguments if you stay away from Florida. If football makes you happy, Arizona should be avoided at all costs. (Remember, these are based on 2012 statistics).

Minnesota ranked 37 – we’re happy!

We have hardly any salmonella cases on Thanksgiving (we ranked 39th for that), dietary restrictions are kept to a minimum (23rd on the list for that). Losing NFL team? Hardly – Minnesota ranked 45th on the list for the history of losses on Thanksgiving. The chances are pretty good that most of the family will skip the Black Friday ditch too.

Now, what you may have to look forward to this Thanksgiving – because Minnesota scored 11th in both categories – is somebody getting drunk and an argument over politics breaking out.

If that happens, you should quietly leave the room, pad down the hall to the TV and give thanks that you don’t live in Philadelphia, Detroit, North Carolina, Dallas, Chicago or, heaven forbid, Green Bay. These cities’ NFL Teams will make or break their state’s Thanksgiving happiness factor on November 26, 2015.

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