Thanksgiving has been held on the fourth Thursday in November since 1941, which means that the actual date of the holiday shifts each year. The earliest Thanksgiving can occur is Nov. 22; the latest is Nov. 28. This year it falls on Nov. 23. The tradition has been celebrated for centuries, but over the years the average Thanksgiving meal has gotten pricey.

The American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual survey estimated that a family of 10 can expect to spend an average of $61.17 on a Thanksgiving meal, or about $6 per person. Early data collected by the AFBF showed the average cost of a classic Thanksgiving dinner in 1986 was about $28.74. So in just under 40 years, the average price of a Thanksgiving meal doubled.

Last year prices on turkeys skyrocketed due to a bird flu outbreak. As of Nov. 15, the bird flu outbreak as reported by the Centers for Disease Control shows that 62.7 million poultry have been affected, one person has been affected and 47 states have reported poultry outbreaks. In spite of this, prices for turkeys and the average Thanksgiving meal in general have gone down by about 5% this year, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual survey.

Rio Rancho has no shortage of grocery stores, and every family has its selected location. However, the prices locally can vary from store to store.

After looking into local prices for a typical Thanksgiving meal, the Observer took note of the average prices at each store. The price at each store is a estimated cumulative price (pre-tax) of a 10-12 lb. turkey, the ingredients for mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, stuffing, gravy, cranberries and pie (brands vary). It should be noted that some products are not available at all stores:

Rio Rancho

• Albertson’s (Ridgecrest Drive): ~$50

• Smith’s (NM 528): ~$40

• Walmart (Southern at Unser and NM 528 at Southern): ~$35

Bulk sellers

• Sam’s Club (Cottonwood area): ~$50

• Costco (Cottonwood area): ~$45