Why the 'Today' Show Wants You to Skip Buying Turkey on Thanksgiving

A segment from Monday's episode of Today is going viral for its controversial suggestion to "forgo the turkey." The talk show featured NBC News correspondent Vicky Nguyen with tips on how to save some money this holiday season. Her suggestion to skip turkey altogether has been met with some serious backlash.

Today anchor Kristen Welker introduced Monday's segment by relating it to inflation and supply chain issues, both of which are raising prices on traditional Thanksgiving food and threatening to box low-income families out of their holiday plans. Nguyen reported a 6.2 increase in prices from October 2020 to October 2021 – the largest inflation in three decades in that time frame. She said that this was beyond a simple annoyance and entered the realm of "real money." She had a few money-saving tips that sounded reasonable before warning that the next one would be "controversial."

"Perhaps forgo the turkey," she said. "Bear with me. I know that is the staple of the Thanksgiving meal. However, some people think turkey is overrated. It tends to be the most expensive thing on the table. Maybe you do an Italian feast instead."

"And, I will say this: if you tell everyone you're having a Thanksgiving without turkey, some guests may drop off the list, and that's a way to cut costs too." Even in the moment, Nguyen and Welker laughed about this tip, with Nguyen adding: "I'm not recommending it, I'm just offering it."

"Keep the pie," Welker joked. The segment was clearly meant to be lighthearted, but for many viewers it was simply too real to laugh about. The economic pressure on Americans is harsh right now, and it's coming from every side. Even joking about cutting social and familial ties to save money struck some commenters as wrong, especially after the isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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"Or just don't cook at all. Then no one will come and you will save even more money. You could also turn your heat off, that will save money and certainly keep people away," one commenter added wryly. Another wrote: "They do realize that we eat more than just on Thanksgiving right?" while a third wrote: "How arrogant does the media have to be to believe that we need their help deciding how to plan Thanksgiving dinner? It's a miracle we all survived before they came along."