The Blog with the Search Engine for Statistics

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Holiday Statistics and Links to More Holiday Statistics

The holiday season is almost over. I hope everyone had some joyous heartwarming moments during the last few busy weeks. My heart was overjoyed when my beautiful twenty-two year old daughter surprised me by coming up for Christmas after previously telling me she couldn't make it. (Everyone knew about it but me and my eight year old!) I hadn't seen her for a year, which was the longest we've ever gone from seeing each other. It was a comforting and teary-eyed reunion. I don't know what I'm going to do when all of the kids are off and on their own! Right now it's 3 down, 3 to go – and the first of the last three is a senior, so she'll be off experiencing life on her own later this year.

Statistics on holidays indicate there are likely heartwarming (or teeth-gritting) family reunions taking place around the nation during the November and December holiday season. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports (with little surprise) that November and December are the most popular months for long distance travel. I did find it a little surprising though that the Bureau's holiday statistics reported that 91% of the holiday travel was done by a “personal vehicle” (typically a car, although I suppose somebody somewhere is flying their own personal jet home for the holidays). The BTS's holiday statistics also stated that people will drive a little farther at Christmas. The average trip for Thanksgiving is around 214 miles, whereas the average trip for Christmas is around 275 miles. My daughter drove from Virginia to New York, so her trip was a wee bit farther than the average.

We had a turkey dinner on Christmas Eve. I should say we had a Thanksgiving dinner on Christmas Eve. We ate one of the 271 million turkeys that are raised in the US, according to the US Census Bureau. It's pretty much picked apart by now, despite my vegetarian seventeen year old daughter passing on her turkey portions. I'm not even sure if I have enough to make turkey soup. At least I'll get some broth out of it.

We also had a couple cans of the 649 million pounds of cranberries that are produced in the nation according to the Census Bureau's Thanksgiving Day Special Feature Report. (Some people watch special features on TV, us statistic junkies read special features from government statistical agencies or Swivel holiday statistics.) I couldn't find any fresh cranberries when I went shopping, so had to settle for canned. And there's one more statistic on cranberries that I bet you didn't know. There were 8 census designated areas (town, city, etc.) with the name Cranberry, or a spelling of the same sound (Cranbury) in 2003 – and only one with the name Pilgrim. What's confusing is the Census Bureau's 2008 reported listed there were only five places with the name Cranberry. What happened to the other three? I bet nobody discussed that at their Christmas Eve dinner. (Except maybe the person that chose to look up that statistics for the holiday report.) If I were living in Cranberry I might be worried about the fact that almost half the towns with my namesake disappearing.

If you just can't wait to hear more on holiday statistics, pay a visit to the Census Bureau website. The Census Bureau has special reports and links to facts and statistics on holidays at their Facts & Features Special Editions Page. If you're into retail or e-commerce, the feature's page includes holiday statistics on retail sales, shopping, e-commerce and other frequently sought statistics. It's convenient to start your holiday statistics research on the Facts and Features page because each item has a direct link to their source, which can provide you with more detailed information.

If you're interested in international holiday statistics, check out the World Tourism Organization website and do a search for “holidays” in their website's search engine. You can also do a search for holidays (or any other search term for statistics) at the search engine on this blog, and it will only search websites that have have statistics.

The Intute website has a tremendous collection of links to statistics on holidays. They have a fantastic search engine that searches reputable journals, websites with statistics, and thousands of resources from major universities. They have links to hundreds of national and international tourism statistics and holiday statistics, including some international holiday statistics on consumer spending and economics from the Euromonitor International Website and Ecoholidaying and the effects of tourism.

The UK's Office of National Statistics also has data and statistics on holidays in the UK as well as international holiday travel statistics. If you're into UK holiday data, check out Seaside History for historical data on UK holiday vacations at the seaside from the 1950s to the early 21st century. You'll find historical data on waterfront vacations, holiday accommodations and holiday travel and transportation in the UK. The Virtual Library of Useful URL's has links in their social sceince category that have statistics on holidays, as well as histories and general knowledge of national and international holidays. There are quite a few links, so just do a Ctrl F (or Edit Find) on the page for "holiday" to see all of the listings on holidays and statistics on holidays.

Along with all these heartwarming holiday reunions are billions of holiday greeting cards traveling from crowded greeting card display units to the hands of friends and families around the world. Hallmark's corporate website has holiday statistics on (what else?) greeting cards which include the statistic that 2.1 billion Christmas Cards are purchased for Christmas. But are they actually mailed out? I couldn't even begin to tell you how many years I bought Christmas cards and never got around to mailing them. And what about e-cards?

The United States Postal Service has a webpage on USPS statistics, facts and trivia. The Census Bureau reports that the USPS reports that about 20 billion pieces of mail go out between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and about one million packages get mailed during the holiday season. Wonder how many letters are addressed to the North Pole? This brings to mind Miracle on 34th Street, my 8 year old's favorite Christmas movie (B&W), and the scene where they dumped all the letters to Santa on the judge's desk. I love that movie. If you really want to know what's going on at the post office, you can take a look at the 2008 Comprehensive Statement of Postal Services. If you really want to. Which, you probably don't. (Link is to cached version, PDF version is available.)

If you want to plan a day to watch movies instead of reviewing post office holiday operations, you can get an idea of when Federal Holidays are scheduled by visiting the US Office of Personnel Management. They have a list of Federal Holidays for 2009 and other upcoming years. If you live in Washington D.C. you'll have off for inauguration day! (Wouldn't they require more staff?) DMOZ has lots of links to Calendars and Holidays, Wikipedia has a list of holidays by country, and the International Bank Holidays website has holidays lists up to the year 2050, and even in a visual map form. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has started putting out a yearly National Compensation Survey, which includes holiday benefit statistics and data from private and public employers.

There is a substantial amount of data in tables that can give you statistics on wages and holiday pay, retirement benefits, sick pay, health benefits, and more by industry, sector, size, and other standard BLS and Census categories. If you want to see if your holiday pay is par for your industry - the Compensation Survey is the place to check. They also have a search engine that searches only compensation data. At the top of my BTS compensation search for holidays was the result that clearly states "Contrary to popular beliefs, employers are not obligated under Federal laws to grant paid holiday benefits to their employees." Bummers. Thankfully, the majority of employers in the US do provide holiday pay - although I do have to say our benefits have a long way to go to catch up with the rest of the civilized world.

So much for a short post on holiday statistics. I hope all my readers can soak up some holiday rest before they head out into the New Year. With a lively new president, we'll be bringing in an exciting new year. Merry Chirstmas and Happy Holidays to all - and to all a good night. (Now I can go find out what happened to the Cranberries!)

4 comments:

Jake March 3, 2009 at 1:27 PM  

What about e-cards for businesses? More and more businesses and organizations are starting to send e-cards over print cards - although, the e-cards they send aren't typically the 'cute and cuddly' ones you'd get from your friend or relative. Another blow to the printing companies :(

I'd assume Hallmark's print card data is only for general consumers, not business consumers???

Statistics to Share March 3, 2009 at 7:21 PM  

Statistics on ecards...I didn't think about that..I'll have to look into that..

And good question whether there statistics are only personal or incude business - although I would "assume" the other way that it does include businesses..except that I'd have to go look at it again..which I will..next holiday..if I ever get caught up...

Corporate ecards? If there is a close business relationship maybe. Not for the run-of-the-mill-we never-talk corporate communication though. Otherwise it's too spammy. I could see corporate ecards as having value in businesses that have frequent email communications and email marketing. Instead of a newsletter, send a holiday ecard when the opportunity arises. (Obviously without being spammy.)

Interesting marketing perspective for the holidays...if I had a business, I might think about it...

Jake March 5, 2009 at 8:43 AM  

re) "if I ever get caught up" - I know the feeling :)

re) corporate e-cards as having value in businesses - definitely, if they send frequent emailings, then an e-card would make sense. Although, the 'green', potentially low-cost, ease of delivery, statistic tracking, and website/online integration with other sites/marketing channels are benefits that are harder for print cards to match.

Once stats for e-cards start getting more attention, it'll be interesting to see what the future holds for print cards and e-cards.

Madhvi Raina November 19, 2012 at 3:36 AM  

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