From celebrating to spending: Holiday consumerism

Photo credit: Sydney Kruljac

Photo credit: Sydney Kruljac
Z dorm room belonging to author of this article Sydney Kruljac, Catalyst staff writer Haley Jordan, third-year Olivia Short, and thesis-student Jazzlyn O’Reily decorated for Christmas spirit.

It starts early: a grandparent calls in a panic mid-October to ask their grandchildren what they want for Christmas; shopping centers decorate their light posts with candy canes and shimmery plastic when Halloween has yet to arrive; when sticky-handed children arrive at Santa’s throne in the middle of a mall to whisper their greatest desires on Nov. 1. It is considered to be not only the most wonderful time of the year, but also the most consumerist time of the year.

U.S. holiday spending is still going strong as a 3.7 percent rise occurred after this year’s Thanksgiving weekend and Black Friday. Not to mention, Cyber Monday had a considerable increase in shoppers this year, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).

The NRF estimated sales differently than past years, and did not take into account total sales of the four-day weekend. The wide-ranging conclusions showed in-store shopping was about the same as last year, however, online shopping made a significant jump, which made total sales increase for the 2015 holiday season and surpassed last year’s holiday spending.

From selecting the right gift for everyone on your list, to the unfathomable burden of the holiday expenses, the month of December can absolutely be overwhelming. Here are the statistics of this year’s consumerist rituals.  

$805.65: Average amount of money a person will spend during the holidays. This is about a $100 increase from 2010.

1.76 billion: Amount of candy canes produced each year.

275: Distance in miles the average person will travel during the holidays.

93 percent: Percentage of people to take advantage of free shipping. Women use it even more than men with an average of 95.3 percent as opposed to 90.8 percent.

$480.28: Amount spent on family members alone. Friends get one-fourth the expense than family members.

26.3 million: Amount of real Christmas trees purchased.

38 percent: Percentage toy stores increase their staff by.

77 percent: Percentage of people who took advantage of deals for themselves, also known as “Treat Yourself.”

6 million: Amount of Christmas trees harvested in Oregon. Florida only harvested 16,214.

$118.82: Amount spent on food. People spend about six times more on buying gifts than food during the holidays.

21 percent: Amount of shoppers going mobile. Smartphones will play a role in how people will purchase present this year.

1.6 billion: Number of cards purchased during the holidays, averaging about five cards per person in the United States. Christmas is by far the biggest holiday in terms of card spending. It trumps nearly every holiday by a long shot.

50 percent: Amount of people who ask for gift cards as gifts.

150 million: Amount of chocolate Santas made annually.

181: Amount of countries GDP the United States retail sales ($630.5 billion) will surpass. Among these countries are Argentina ($610 billion), Sweden ($580 billion), Poland ($526 billion), Belgium ($525 billion) and Nigeria ($522 billion).

94 percent: Number of Americans who celebrate Christmas. For every one American who celebrates Hanukkah, 14 Americans celebrate Christmas. For every one American who celebrates Kwanza, 49 Americans celebrate Christmas.


Information for this article taken from,,


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