Winter Holidays by the Numbers

From the U.S. Census Bureau


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Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa

The holidays are quickly approaching, but this year Hanukkah is closer than you think. That's because for the first time since 1888, the first full day of Hanukkah falls on Thanksgiving. This year Hanukkah, which usually begins in December, begins Nov. 27 at sundown and ends Dec. 5. Expect your traditional latkes to be served with a side of turkey and stuffing during this year's Festival of Lights. The next time Hanukkah and Thanksgiving coincide in this fashion will be in approximately 76,000 years. The reason is that the Jewish calendar is slowly getting out-of-sync with the solar calendar at a rate of four days per 1,000 years. This means that the calendar will continuously drift forward through the Gregorian calendar and eventually loop around.


Estimated proportion of the nation's potatoes produced in Idaho and Washington during the fall of 2012. Potato latkes are always a crowd pleaser during Hanukkah.

$1.4 billion

The estimated value of product shipments of candles in 2011 by U.S. manufacturers. Many of these candles are lit during Diwali, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa celebrations.

Rush to the Stores

$25.9 billion

Estimated retail sales by the nation's department stores (including leased departments) in December 2012. This represents an estimated 39.3 percent jump from the previous month when retail sales were estimated at 18.6 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 2012 sales for department stores (including leased departments) in December. For jewelry stores, the estimated percentage was 20.5 percent.


The estimated growth in inventories by our nation's department stores (excluding leased departments) from Aug. 31 to Nov. 30, 2012.

$39.2 billion

Estimated value of retail sales by electronic shopping and mail-order houses in December 2012 - the highest total for any month last year.


The number of electronic shopping and mail-order houses in business in 2011. These businesses, which employed 321,481workers, are a popular source of holiday gifts (NAICS code 45411).

Christmas Trees and Decorations

$1.0 billion

The value of U.S. imports of Christmas tree ornaments from China between January and September 2013. 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 ($93.0 million worth) during the same period.

Where the Toys are ... Made


Number of establishments around the country that primarily manufactured dolls and stuffed toys in 2011. California led the nation with 10 locations.


The number of locations that primarily produced games, toys and children's vehicles in 2011; they employed 7,187 workers. California led the nation with 88 establishments.

Nearly 15 billion

Pieces of mail the U.S. Postal Service expects to deliver between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve. The busiest mailing day is set for Dec.16, and Dec. 18 will be the busiest delivery day.

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

Fact Monster™ Database, © 2007 Pearson Education, Inc. All rights reserved.