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Christmas Shopping Facts in the USA
by Chrysta Baker

Christmas OrnamentsChristmas is that wonderful time of year where we gather together with family and friends to celebrate the holiday season with big, beautiful Christmas trees, sparkling Christmas ornaments, and lots of presents from Santa Claus. It can be a stressful time of year with all of the holiday traveling, shopping, cooking, and tree trimming most of us have to do; but it can also be one of the most exciting and heartwarming times of the year as we meet up with old friends, exchange gifts, share a meal, and place all those gorgeous Christmas ornaments on the tree together. Christmas is the most successful retail holiday of the year and there are a lot of fascinating facts that you may not know regarding all those Christmas cards we send, the Christmas presents we buy, and the Christmas ornaments and trees we use that help make the holiday season special.

According to the United States Census Bureau, more than 20 billion Christmas cards and packages are sent through the U.S. Mail each Christmas. With a population of more than 300 million people, that comes out to 66 cards and packages for every single living person in the United States. That is a lot of Christmas cards and packages! This accounts for all the mail delivered between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day with the busiest mailing day being seven days before Christmas. This is more than twice as many mail deliveries that occur on a regular day.

When it comes to Christmas present buying, we do a lot of it! At the end of the 2005 Christmas buying season, retail locations reported nearly $32 billion in national sales. Annually, shopping sales make an amazing 50 percent increase during the Christmas season in overall sales from November to December. The most significant sales increases occur in jewelry stores, book stores, sporting goods stores, electronics stores, and clothing stores. Jewelry stores, for instance, increase their overall sales an astounding 175 percent from November to December each year!

Christmas OrnamentsWhile there are nearly 50,000 brick-and-mortar malls and shopping centers located throughout the United States, many people choose to purchase their Christmas ornaments, decorations, and presents in the nearly 16,000 online shops that are doing business on the internet. In addition to the above reported Christmas sales, Americans spent nearly $20 billion of their hard-earned cash at online stores and mail-order houses. Most online shoppers during the holiday season spent their money on Christmas ornaments and decorations, clothing and accessories, toys and games, novelties and souvenirs, sporting goods, jewelry, and books.

As we all know, one of the most popular symbols of the holiday season is the Christmas tree decorated with lots of shiny garland, sparkly lights, and glittery Christmas ornaments. The holiday just does not seem complete without a giant, freshly cut Christmas tree in the living room decorated with twinkling Christmas lights and decked out with all of your favorite Christmas balls and handmade German ornaments that its branches can hold. Without all those Christmas trees and ornaments, where would we put those beautifully wrapped Christmas presents? Christmas tree farmers sell between 30 and 35 million living Christmas trees at the average price of $42 per tree in United States each year. Living Christmas trees are grown in all fifty states, but the top selling Christmas tree state is Oregon. Runners up include Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Wisconsin. Approximately 9 million people choose to purchase an artificial Christmas tree at an average price of $72 per tree each year. More than 85 percent of the artificial trees sold in the United States are made in China.

Christmas OrnamentsWhether you choose to purchase a living tree or an artificial tree for your home, you will most certainly want to cover it with as many beautiful sparkling Christmas ornaments, garland, and lights as you can get your hands on. While many people choose to make their own Christmas ornaments, most shop throughout the year looking for that perfect German ornament online or stock up on boxes of Christmas ornament balls at the local discount store in order to make their Christmas tree the most spectacular one on the block. The first Christmas ornaments sold in the United States were sold at Woolworths in 1880. F.W. Woolworth stocked a few German ornaments that year and was amazed at how quickly they sold out. He immediately ordered 200,000 more German ornaments and by 1890 he was selling over $25 million in Christmas ornaments at just five and ten cents each. Today, the Christmas ornament industry is a multi-billion dollar business that includes the sale of glass ornaments, wooden ornaments, plastic ornaments, and candy ornaments. Most Christmas ornaments are imported from other countries, such as Germany and Poland, but the majority of Christmas ornaments produced and sold in the United States are made in China.

While many people criticize the Christmas season for being too commercialized and focused on spending money, you have to keep in mind that all the money spent on Christmas gifts, cards, trees, and ornaments are done so in the spirit of giving. The Christmas shopping season facilitates the gathering together of friends and family and gives everyone the opportunity to focus on the true meaning of Christmas. So, go ahead, get out there and spend your hard-earned money on fun toys, beautiful trees, and brilliant Christmas ornaments without guilt because it truly is the most wonderful time of the year and it would not be the same without them.

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