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40 Fascinating Christmas Facts And Statistics in 2024

Addicted to the holiday season or just trivia in general? These Christmas facts and statistics share little-known traditions from around the world.

Do you think you know everything there is about Christmas? From our holiday traditions and stories to when and where we shop every year, there’s a lot to learn.

Find out all you wanted to know and more about the biggest holiday of the year with cool Christmas facts and statistics that will delight and inform. Hitch a ride to Santa’s sleigh and come with us on a journey into 40 fun and interesting facts about Christmas.

10 Key Christmas Facts and Statistics

Here are some fun facts about Christmas that made the top of the list.

  1. On average, consumers were predicted to spend $932 on Christmas gifts in 2022.
  2. Candy canes originated in Germany in 1670 as sugar sticks given to choirboys so they’d hush during church services.
  3. Princess Charlotte of the British Royal family set up the first known Christmas tree at the Queen’s Lodge, Windsor, in December 1800.
  4. We leave milk and cookies out for Santa Claus each Christmas because of the Dutch. December 6 is St. Nicholas’ feast day in the Netherlands.
  5. Fifty-four percent of Americans wished for a gift card as a present in 2022.
  6. Forty percent of all Christmas gifts are purchased a week before Christmas.
  7. Fourteen thousand seven thousand people visit the emergency room every November and December due to holiday decorating mishaps.
  8. During World War II, a special set of playing cards peeled off to reveal escape route maps for prisoners of war to use.
  9. The first ugly sweater party took place in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 2002.
  10. Gen Z spends the least on holiday gifts, at $558, while millennials spend the most, at $855.

Interesting Facts About Christmas

These festive Christmas facts and statistics will answer the questions you scratch your head over every holiday season. From the latest Christmas trivia facts about our shopping habits to what sugar plums actually are, this knowledge will help light up your holiday season.

Christmas Shopping Statistics

1. Consumer Spending

The average total spend on Christmas gifts was predicted to be $932 per consumer in 2022. The average annual Christmas spending increased by 21% between 2012 and 2022 (1). This may be due to buying more gifts or a steady increase in the price of many gifts.

2. Holiday Shopping

Holiday shopping makes up 30% of all retail sales annually. Almost a third of all retail sales in the U.S. take place one month before Christmas (2). It looks like most of us don’t get all the holiday shopping done nearly as early as we think we do.

3. Christmas Cards

Americans purchase approximately 1.6 billion Christmas cards every year (3). Even with e-cards available, Christmas seems the one time of year people still love to get a paper card.

4. Popular Shopping Days

The most hectic shopping day of the year is not Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving), but instead, December 23 (4). The Friday and Saturday before Christmas Eve are also the busiest time for shoppers looking for the perfect gift.

5. Shopper Research

Eighty-one percent of in-person shoppers do online research before shopping. That means less than a quarter of Americans go Christmas shopping in person before they first research the gift online (5). The trend leans toward knowing what you’re looking for before you leave the house.

6. Generational Budgets

Speaking generationally, Gen Z spends the least on holiday gifts, at an average of $558. Millennials spend the most, at $855. Gen X spends $832, and baby boomers spend $769 (6). We’re not sure if the Gen Z gift budget includes NFTs (non-fungible tokens) or not.

7. Last-Minute

Forty percent of all Christmas gifts are purchased a week before Christmas. Between December 15 and 24, 62% of Americans still need to buy their Christmas gifts (7). This may be the reason why most stores spend the most on advertising during the month of December.

8. Cash vs. Credit

It was predicted that 32% of shoppers would use credit cards to finance holiday gift spending in 2022, as opposed to the 62% that used credit cards in 2021 (8). The pandemic definitely had an effect on holiday budgets.

9. Online Shopping

U.S. shoppers spent $201.32 billion online during the 2021 holiday season (9). Sites like Amazon, Uncommon Goods, and Walmart are very popular ways to shop for family and friends.

10. Christmas for Kids

Parents planned to spend an average of $302 per child on Christmas gifts in 2022 (10). The average kids’ toy cost $14 in 2020 (11).

11. Gift Cards

Fifty-four percent of Americans wished for a gift card as a present in 2022 (12). Gift cards include everything from Amazon and Starbucks to restaurant chains, department stores, and even travel.

12. Christmas Returns

Fifty-two percent of Americans received at least one Christmas gift they wish they could give back in 2022. Clothing and accessories were at the top of the unwanted gift category at 49%. Household items (29%) and fragrances (24%) came next (13).

13. State-by-State

In 2021, Utah, Hawaii, and Virginia spent the most during Christmas. Maryland tops them all with a Christmas budget of $2,714.50 per household. Louisiana, Maine, Florida, and West Virginia come last for Christmas budgets, with West Virginia spending $355.42 per household (14).

Weird Christmas Facts

1. Jingle Bells in Space

The Christmas song “Jingle Bells” was the first song played in space. It was played during the NASA Gemini 6A space flight on December 16, 1965. The song was played using a harmonica and bells by astronauts Wally Schirra and Thomas P. Stafford (15).

2. Xmas vs. Christmas

The term Xmas stems from Christianity. Data reveals it was once spelled “Xianity” in the year 1100 CE. “X” is the Greek first letter meaning “Chi” to represent Christ. Christmas was called “Xtemmas” in the 16th-century, which was shortened to “Xmas” (16).

3. Well-Paid Santa

Mall Santas earn anywhere from $30 an hour to $100 per hour for letting kids sit on their laps and ask for gifts. Santas who perform at private parties can make from $150 to $500 an hour for being jolly (17). This may explain why Santa Claus always has a smile on his face.

4. Ban on Christmas

Oliver Cromwell’s 1647 UK ban on the Christmas “pagan holiday” lasted 12 years. It also affected the early American Puritan population, who didn’t appreciate Christmas’ pagan beginnings. The Puritan ban was revoked in 1681 but was only lifted in the state of Oklahoma in 1907 (18). Let’s hope they didn’t stop the ban from celebrating the holiday during that time!

5. Angry Carolers

“We Wish You a Merry Christmas” is an English folk song originating in the 16th-century. It was often sung by poor carolers who refused to leave the doorstep of wealthier people until they got money, drinks, or desserts given to them. Hence, the line “Give us some figgy pudding” makes sense now.

6. Candy Canes

Candy canes originated in Germany in 1670 as sugar sticks given to choirboys so they’d hush during church services. The hook is patterned after a shepherd’s crook, making it easy to hang them as decorations on Christmas trees. The red color on the candy cane was to represent the blood of Christ.

7. Under the Mistletoe

Mistletoe was once hung over doorways as protection against everything from storms to evil forces. The Druids believed that the mistletoe’s white berries were a symbol of the sperm of the Gods. They considered mistletoe a potent aphrodisiac, which is likely why people traditionally kiss beneath it.

8. Secret Santa

During World War II, a little-known set of Christmas playing cards was issued by the U.S. Playing Card Company. When they got wet, certain cards peeled off to reveal escape route maps for prisoners of war to use. Holiday magic works in mysterious ways.

9. Holiday Leftovers

Some weird Christmas trivia says that spoiled Christmas leftovers have been the cause of over 400,000 illnesses (19). People get lazy about properly storing their favorite holiday treats. It’s also easy to be lax when traveling home with lots of leftovers and no proper refrigeration.

10. The Origin of Rudolph

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer first appeared in 1939 as a promotional gimmick for the Montgomery Ward department store. They distributed 2.4 million copies of the Rudolph story in 1939 alone (20). It became a holiday institution after the 1964 TV special called Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer came out.

11. Eggnog History

Eggnog dates back to medieval times in England when it was called “posset.” It was made with sweet and spiced milk with ale or wine added. 13th-century monks especially enjoyed the unusual hot beverage alongside a meal of eggs and figs.

12. The Greatest Gift

The Statue of Liberty was considered a holiday gift given by France to the U.S. in 1886. At over 150 feet tall, the Statue of Liberty is the largest Christmas gift in the world.

13. Who Is Santa Claus

Saint Nicholas was a 4th-century Greek Christian bishop of Myra, which is in modern-day Turkey. He was known for his gifts to the poor and always appeared in canonical robes and a beard. Once combined with the English “Father Christmas,” something resembling modern-day Santa Claus was born.

14. Christmas Babies

September is the most popular month for babies to be born in the U.S. This means that most babies are conceived around Christmas (21).

Christmas Around the World Trivia

1. The Yule Goat

Sweden and other Scandinavian countries celebrate Christmas by displaying a Yule Goat made of straw. The god Thor’s flying chariot was pulled by two goats in Norse mythology, just as reindeer pulled Santa’s sleigh. The funny-looking Gävle Goat was created in 1966 to encourage visitors to Gävle, Sweden. The goat is 42 feet high and weighs over three-and-a-half tons (22).

2. Artificial Trees

Artificial Christmas trees were initially used by Germans in 1865. . Back then, goose feathers were colored to look like green tree branches. American artificial trees were first made in Chicago in 1958 using aluminum (23). Artificial Christmas trees today are made using PVC plastic, which is safer, but not fully fire-resistant.

3. Christmas Spiders

Spiders appear as good luck charms during the Ukraine Christmas season. Families regularly decorate their Christmas trees with Christmas tree decor which includes spider web designs. Their Christmas folk tale describes how spiders spun their silky webs to decorate a poor widow’s Christmas tree. Save a spot on your tree for a multi-legged little fellow this year.

4. Floating Christmas Tree

Brazil boasts a huge floating metal Christmas tree that stands over 278 feet high and shows off three million lights. The yearly Rio De Janeiro celebration is when the floating tree is on display in the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon. It set a world record for the world’s largest floating Christmas tree in 2007 (24). Where else could a tree float but in Brazil?

5. Ugly Sweater Party

The first ugly sweater party took place in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 2002, thanks to two college students who put on corny penguin sweaters (25). They inspired millions around the world to wear ugly Christmas sweaters for family gatherings, office parties, and fun Secret Santa exchanges.

6. Christmas Tree Spirit

Since 1947, the people of Oslo, Norway, have donated the Christmas tree in London’s Trafalgar Square. They do so to thank Britain for supporting Norway during World War II. The tree is a constant reminder of the true meaning of Christmas.

7. KFC for Christmas

Since Christmas is a secular holiday in Japan, did you know many families have their Christmas dinner at KFC? The fried chicken chain has celebrated the holiday with a popular “Kentucky for Christmas” since 1974. Christmas dinner just got a lot more fun.

8. Christmas in the ER

One of many obscure random Christmas facts tells us that 14,700 people visit the emergency room every November and December. This is due to holiday decorating mishaps. They involve everything from stringing Christmas tree lights to burning the turkey (26).

9. Stocking Placement

The reason we hang stockings by the chimney is purely accidental. History tells the story of a poor man who didn’t have enough money for his three daughters’ dowries. St. Nicholas supposedly placed a bag of gold down the man’s chimney. It fell into the daughters’ recently-washed stockings left to dry by the fire. We hang stockings every year so Santa’s gold can end up in our stocking if we’re good.

10. The First Christmas Tree

Princess Charlotte of the British Royal family set up the first known Christmas tree at the Queen’s Lodge in Windsor in December 1800. It was a yew tree, but it began the most important of holiday traditions and is one of many interesting facts about Christmas.

11. Christmas Krampus

During the first week of December in areas of Austria and Germany, people dress up as Krampus, the folklore creature who visits bad little boys and girls. The half-goat, half-demon is said to beat naughty children with bundles of sticks, so you better watch out. There’s even a procession through the streets called the Kramprusse.

12. Milk and Cookies

One of the more interesting Christmas trivia facts reveals we leave milk and cookies for Santa due to the Dutch. December 6 is St. Nicholas’ feast day in the Netherlands. Dutch children leave Santa food and drink in exchange for the gifts he leaves them the night before.

13. Operation Santa

One of the most heartwarming Christmas facts and statistics involves “Operation Santa,” in existence since 1912. It’s run by the U.S. Postal Service and allows people to “adopt a letter” written by a child to Santa (27). They can answer the letter, purchase and wrap a gift, and pack and ship it from a post office. Christmas miracles do exist.


What Percentage of the World Celebrates Christmas?

Forty-five percent of the global population takes part in some version of Christmas festivities (28). Nearly half the inhabitants of Earth celebrate Christmas, whether based on religious, cultural, or secular beliefs or traditions. Christmas is not a public holiday in 14 countries, including Afghanistan, Algeria, Bhutan, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, and Turkmenistan (29).

What Percent of America Celebrates Christmas?

As of 2022, 85% of Americans say they celebrate the Christmas holiday (30). Forty-six percent of Americans celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday, while 56% say Christmas is less about religion than it once was (31).

How Much Money Does Christmas Generate?

In 2022, holiday retail sales were projected to reach $942.6 billion dollars. In 2021, holiday sales grew 13.5% from 2020, which was a huge leap (32). From department stores to small businesses and city tourism, Christmas sales can vastly affect the national economy from year to year.

How Did Santa Get His Name?

St. Nicholas was the inspiration for Santa Claus originally. He was a 4th-century saint called Saint Nicholas of Myra. The name Santa Claus comes from the Dutch for Sint Nikolaas, the shortened nickname of which was Sinter Klaas. By 1840 in the U.S., newspapers ran Christmas advertisements featuring the Santa Claus that we recognize today.

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About the Author

Maryana Vestic

Maryana Vestic is a Brooklyn-based writer, editor, and food photographer with a background in entertainment Business Affairs. She studied film at NYU, Irish Theatre Studies at Trinity College Dublin, and has an MFA in Creative Writing Nonfiction from The New School. She loves cooking, baking, hiking, and horror films, as well as running a local baking business in Brooklyn with her boyfriend.