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Winter Holidays by the Numbers

From the U.S. Census Bureau


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Rush to the Stores

$24.4 billion

Estimated retail sales by the nation's department stores (including leased departments) in December 2013. This represents an estimated 40.9 percent jump from the previous month when retail sales were estimated at 17.3 billion. No other month-to-month increase in department store sales last year was as large.

Note: Leased departments are separately owned businesses operated as departments or concessions of other service establishments or of retail businesses, such as a separately owned shoeshine parlor in a barber shop, or a beauty shop in a department store. Also, retail sales and inventory estimates have not been adjusted to account for seasonal or pricing variations.


The estimated percentage of total 2013 sales for department stores (including leased departments) in December. For jewelry stores, the estimated percentage was 19.1 percent.


The estimated growth in inventories by our nation's department stores (excluding leased departments) from Aug. 31 to Nov. 30, 2013.

$44.5 billion

Estimated value of retail sales by electronic shopping and mail-order houses in December 2013 - the highest total for any month last year.


The number of electronic shopping and mail-order houses in business in 2012. These businesses, which employed 365,508 workers in the pay period including March 12, are a popular source of holiday gifts.

Christmas Trees and Decorations

$1.0 billion

The value of U.S. imports of Christmas tree ornaments from China between January and September 2014. China was the leading country of origin for such items. Similarly, China was the leading foreign source of artificial Christmas trees shipped to the United States ($137.5 million worth) during the same period.

Where the Toys are ... Made


The number of locations that primarily produced dolls, toys, and games in 2012; they employed 7,481 workers in the pay period including March 12.  California led the nation with 95 establishments.

Holiday Names

Place names associated with the holiday season consist of a dozen places named Holly including Mount Holly, N.C. (population 13,904) and Holly Springs, Miss. (7,558). There is Snowflake, Ariz. (5,576), Santa Claus, Ind. (2,501), North Pole, Alaska (2,214), Noel, Mo. (1,809) and - if you know about reindeer - Dasher, Ga. (944) and the village of Rudolph, Wis. (436). There is also Santa Claus, Ga. (167).

Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa


Estimated proportion of the nation's potatoes produced in Idaho and Washington during the fall of 2013. Potatoes are a popular dish served during the holidays.

$1.6 billion

The estimated value of product shipments of candles in 2012 by U.S. manufacturers. Many of these candles are lit during Diwali (Oct. 23), Hanukkah (Dec. 16-24) and Kwanzaa (Dec. 26-Jan. 1) celebrations.

Nearly 450 million to 470 million

Packages of mail the U.S. Postal Service expects to deliver between Nov. 17 and Christmas Day. This is a 12 percent increase from last year.

Information Please. Database, 2010 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.

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