“Christmas waves a magic wand over the world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful” —Norman Vincent Peale
Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, there’s no doubt that from November 1 until basically the end of the year (we have to include the Boxing Day sales in there too), the holiday just takes over. From music playing in the malls to Christmas cards overflowing your mailbox—you just can’t hide! Here are some interesting facts to help you take on the season.
24. Trees by the Numbers
In 2015, Canadians spent $78.4 million dollars on fresh-cut Christmas trees from farms. That’s up more than 20% from the year before! Not only do Canadians love their fresh-cut trees, it’s also big business exporting, too: 1,719,735 Canadian trees were sent to countries like Thailand, the Bahamas, and the United Arab Emirates that year, and 1,634,249 were sent to the United States!
23. Tree is Just a Tree Unless It Has Decorations
Way back in 1880, F.W. Woolworth brought hand-blown glass ornaments to the US from Germany, and they were a smash! Everything he had sold out in just two days. Ten years later, over 200,000 ornaments were imported, all hand made by individual families.
22. How Much Will You Spend?
In a survey conducted with 1,100 Americans, the average amount of money consumers are intending to spend on gifts in 2017 is $983. 61% of those surveyed said they would be using the Internet to make their purchases, with another 57% saying they had plans to wait for items to go on sale.
21. Sugar High
According to the National Confectioner’s Association, Americans spent more than $634 million US dollars in 2015 on seasonal candy in the eight weeks leading up to Christmas. That may seem like a lot, but that number is actually down from the year before! 2014 saw over $896 million sales during the same time period.
20. Listen to the Music
Have you ever stopped to listen to the holiday music playing in stores? You may want to pay attention next time! Retailers have a sneaky way of getting consumers to buy more: changing up their music selections. The slower the songs, the slower you shop, and consequently, the more you’re likely to spend.
19. Gifts on Gifts on Gifts
Another sneaky tactic retailers use is offering gifts with your purchase. You know those deals where you have to spend a certain amount to get the free gift? Or how about a sign that promotes 50% off? Even if shoppers don’t know the original price, getting something for half price sounds pretty good.
18. What’s on Your List?
Every year, a list of the most popular toys gets released so parents know what their kids will want. This year, the most popular toys include Hatchimals, Fingerlings, LEGO Batman, and Star Wars‘ BB-8. Guys, what are half these things?
17. Get it While It’s Hot!
Suggesting that the deal won’t last long and that it’s only for a limited time is another common selling tactic. Black Friday is especially known for this: Many high-end products like TVs go on for a great price, but each store only gets in a limited amount. But since you’re already in the store, may as well shop around, right? That’s exactly what retailers are banking on.
16. The Last Minute Crunch
40% of Christmas and holiday shopping is done between December 15 and 24th. But then again, another 40% of Americans tart their gift-buying before Halloween. Those shoppers tend to be older, wealthier, college-educated, and female. Is anyone surprised that younger males are last-minute shoppers?
15. That’s a Wrap
You’ve found the perfect gift, now you need to wrap it! The wrapping paper industry generates around $2.6 billion each year, even though we just rip it all apart and throw it in the garbage.
14. They’re Part of the Family, Too!
Roughly $5 billion is spent on pets during the holiday season in the US. That’s a lot of bones and catnip!
13. That’s a lot of Money!
Romanians must love giving gifts! They spend about 32% of their monthly pay cheques on Christmas gifts, with the Czech Republic close behind at 25%, and Americans rounding out the top three at 15%.
12. Say it With a Card
Greeting cards are big business, and Christmas cards are no exception! Over 1 billion cards are sent around the holiday season, with Hallmark being a main provider. The company offers over 2,000 Christmas card designs. They first started offering Christmas cards over a century ago, in 1915, just five short years after the company was founded.
11. Thanksgiving (and Shop!)
Black Friday is big business, and is the unofficial start of the gift-buying season. Just this year, over 174 million Americans made a purchase either in store or online during the five-day Thanksgiving weekend. That’s a cool 10 million more than what previous surveys were predicting.
10. Gobble Gobble
In 2016, over 3 million whole turkeys were bought for Christmas in Canada, which is 41.7% of the turkey sales for the whole year!
9. Always Coca Cola
We can thank Coca Cola for introducing us to Santa as we know him. Sinterklaas was a bit spooky in the early 20th century, but Coca Cola started using a more jovial looking man in their ads in the Saturday Evening Post in the 1920s, then in magazine ads just a decade later. If you ever want to check out the original Santa, Coca Cola has copies in their archives.
8. Kids + Sugar = a Good Distraction
Candy canes also originate from Germany. The story goes that a choirmaster gave children candy canes to keep them quiet through the Christmas nativity service way, way back in 1670. They may have just been straight white sugar sticks then, but they did the trick.
7. Don’t Forget to Brush Your Teeth!
As of 2014, roughly 1.76 billion candy canes are made each year, with 90% of them sold between the American Thanksgiving and Christmas. In fact, the sugary sticks are the number one non-chocolate candy to be sold in December. And if you’re watching the scale, a candy cane only has 55 calories. Take two!
6. Breaking Records
The longest candy cane ever made (to date) was by a pastry chef in Geneva! In 2012, Alain Roby created a 51 foot long candy cane, beating out the previous Guiness World Record holder at 38 feet. Something tells us that cane isn’t 55 calories though…
R.H. Macy, of Macy’s department store fame, was one of the first department store owners to showcase special holiday presentations, and in 1862 he was the first to offer a real Santa for kids to visit.
4. Presidential Christmas
Christmas at the White House is a pretty big deal. This year, the theme is “Time Honored Traditions,” and the residence boasts 53 Christmas trees with more than 12,000 ornaments, 18,000 feet of lights, and 71 wreaths. You can’t miss the 350 lb gingerbread house either! There’s also an 18th century nativity scene in the East Room. If you’re in Washington and want to check it out, be sure to sign up in advance for a tour.
3. Evolution of the White House Christmas
The very first Christmas party at the White House was under President John Adams in 1800. He and his wife held it for their four-year-old granddaughter, and invited government officials and their children. The first Christmas tree wouldn’t come for another 89 years, when President Benjamin Harrison placed it in the second floor Oval Room. The idea for the first themed Christmas tree in the Blue Room (the theme was The Nutcracker) came from First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in 1961.
2. Christmas on Display
People love a good parade! One of the largest Santa Claus Parades takes place in Toronto, Ontario around mid-November. It began in 1905 with Eaton’s department store, and had its first float three years later. It’s even broadcast in several countries around the world. Another city with a noteworthy parade is Peoria, Illinois, which is home to the longest-running parade in the US (it started in 1887).
1. Toys For Adults…
Adult toy sales boom during the holiday season, and frisky couples are most likely to buy penis rings, strap-ons, and dildos. This data was provided by LoveHoney, a large UK-based online retailer.
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