Holiday Statistics That Will Make You View the Holidays Differently

Posted by Chad Birt on Nov 23, 2020 9:15:00 AM
Chad Birt

Statistics play a crucial role in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. Good data allows researchers and scientists to conduct testing, consolidate large amounts of information, and determine if a specific product or medication serves its intended purpose. In fact, any medical device or medicine currently on the market achieved its approval thanks in part to statistics. 


As a Functional Service Provider (FSP), we regularly assist pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers with clinical trials and research. With the holiday season right around the corner, we thought it would be fun to highlight some surprising facts and figures regarding Thanksgiving and Christmas. 


To be clear, these numbers aren’t directly related to the work we do. Instead, they serve as a reminder that data is all around us and directly affects all of our lives. 


Surprising Thanksgiving statistics


Thanksgiving and COVID-19. Holiday get-togethers will look a little different this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Even so, many families plan on hosting friends and relatives, but with certain caveats to promote safety.


 A recent survey of 2,000 Americans by StudyFinds found that:


  • 30% of respondents will require a mandatory temperature check at their front door 
  • 54% of respondents said they will enforce strict social distancing measures
  • 46% of respondents will collect a comprehensive list of guests for contact tracing
  • 27% of respondents plan to host their Thanksgiving dinner outdoors
  • 37% of respondents said a single person will be in charge of serving food and drinks


Other Americans plan on hosting virtual Thanksgiving get-togethers. This is especially true for people with older loved ones. Of those surveyed, 40% said they would rather meet with their senior relatives online or over the phone in an effort to ensure their safety.


The Cost of Thanksgiving Dinner. In 2019, the American Farm Bureau Federation released its 34th annual Thanksgiving Dinner survey. The report found that on average, a family of 10 spends about $48.91 on Thanksgiving dinner, including the turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. 


Surprisingly, only eight cents of every dollar makes its way into a farmer’s pocket. That equates to about $3.84 per meal. Considering the farm economy is quite volatile, it’s pretty amazing that prices remain so affordable.


Turkey. The majority of Americans (88%) serve turkey on Thanksgiving. That adds up to more than 46 million turkeys consumed in one day. 


What isn’t eaten on Thanksgiving provides meals for days –– or in some cases, weeks–– in the form of leftovers. A 2019 survey conducted by Nationwide found that 79% of Americans value their Thanksgiving leftovers more than the holiday meal itself. The five most popular ways to use turkey in leftovers include sandwiches, stews, chili, casseroles, and burgers.


Don’t Forget the Sides. What’s a Thanksgiving meal without cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, or stuffing? Here are a handful of fun statistics about America’s favorite Thanksgiving sides:


  • Americans consume about 80 million pounds of cranberries during the holiday season. That’s just over five million pounds of jellied cranberry sauce. 
  • The National Grocers Association says Americans purchase more than 214 million pounds of potatoes and 50 million pounds of sweet potatoes every Thanksgiving.
  • Each Thanksgiving, Americans eat more than 50 million pumpkin pies. Other popular desserts include sweet potato pie and pecan pie.  


Surprising Christmas statistics


About a month after Thanksgiving, Christmas arrives. A Gallup survey conducted in December 2019 found that 93% of Americans celebrate Christmas. Others celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, winter solstice, or other holidays during the same timeframe.


Christmas trees. A Christmas tree is a central component of holiday decorating. But what’s better, a real or artificial one? Well, it depends on who you ask. A 2018 survey conducted by the American Christmas Tree Association found that 82% of Americans prefer an artificial tree while 17.9% opt for a real one. 


Artificial trees come in a variety of colors and sizes. Treetopia, America’s largest retailer of artificial Christmas trees, says color preference depends on where you live. People in the Midwest and South prefer white trees while bright colors like red, orange, and pink dominate out west. 


Treetopia also notes that the three states that purchase the most artificial Christmas trees are Florida, West Virginia, and Tennessee. 


Christmas shopping. A main component of Christmas is gift-giving. One of the most exciting things about the season is finding the perfect item for everyone on your list. 


Here are some surprising statistics about the economic impact of the Christmas holiday:


  • In 2019, the average American spent $942 on holiday gifts.
  • Since 2008, the amount of money that Americans spend on gifts has increased over the previous year.
  • 7% of Americans say they spend nothing on gifts.
  • Hobby, toy, and game stores rake in a combined $3.7 billion in sales during the holiday season.
  • The Christmas season provides thousands of jobs. Earlier this month, big-box craft chain Michael’s announced it plans to hire 16,000 seasonal employees and L Brands, the parent company of retailers like Bath & Body Works and Victoria’s Secret, plans on hiring more than 4,000 workers.


Christmas Food. Christmas isn’t as food-centric as Thanksgiving, but it still features a holiday feast, countless cookies, popcorn, hot chocolate, and of course, candy canes.


 Before wrapping up, here are some surprising food-related statistics:


  • If Santa took two bites of every cookie left out, he’d end up eating more than 336 million cookies.
  • Confectioners produce about 1.76 billion candy canes during the holidays.
  • The average American drinks about 8 alcoholic beverages a week during the holidays, double the average (4 drinks per week) the rest of the year.
  • The average American gains one pound during the holidays. Not bad, considering all of the opportunities to chow down.


These are just a handful of holiday statistics, but as you can see, numbers, figures, and data are all around us. Which of these statistics did you find most surprising? Submit a comment below and let us know.


Happy Holidays to you and your family from all of us at Harbor Clinical!


Topics: statistics, thanksgiving, christmas

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