By the numbers: The holiday season

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This festive season, or simply the holidays, is a time for gathering and celebrating with family and friends, gift giving, reflection and thanks. To commemorate this time of year, the U.S. Census Bureau presents the following holiday-related facts and figures from its collection of statistics.   

Rush to the Stores

$24.5 billion: Estimated retail sales by the nation's department stores (including leased departments) inDecember 2014. This represents an estimated 41.2 percent jump from the previous month when retail sales were estimated at $17.3 billion. No other estimated month-to-month increase in department store sales last year was as large.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Monthly Retail Trade Survey
http://www.census.gov/econ/currentdata/dbsearch?program=MRTS&startYear=2014&endYear=2014&categories=4521I&dataType=SM&geoLevel=US&notAdjusted=1&submit=GET+DATA

Note: Leased departments are separately owned businesses operated as departments or concessions of other service establishments or of retail businesses, such as a separately owned shoeshine parlor in a barber shop, or a beauty shop in a department store. Also, retail sales and inventory estimates have not been adjusted to account for seasonal or pricing variations.

14.2%: The estimated percentage of total 2014 sales for department stores (including leased departments) in December. For jewelry stores, the estimated percentage was 18.2 percent.
Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, Monthly Retail Trade Survey
http://www.census.gov/econ/currentdata/dbsearch?program=MRTS&startYear=1992&endYear=2014&categories=4521I&dataType=SM&geoLevel=US&notAdjusted=1&submit=GET+DATAandhttp://www.census.gov/econ/currentdata/dbsearch?program=MRTS&startYear=1992&endYear=2014&categories=44831&dataType=SM&geoLevel=US&notAdjusted=1&submit=GET+DATA

21.7%: The estimated growth in inventories by our nation's department stores (excluding leased departments) from Aug. 31 to Nov. 30, 2014.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Monthly Retail Trade Survey
http://www.census.gov/econ/currentdata/dbsearch?program=MRTS&startYear=1992&endYear=2014&categories=4521E&dataType=IM&geoLevel=US&notAdjusted=1&submit=GET+DATA

$48.3 billion: Estimated value of retail sales by electronic shopping and mail-order houses inDecember 2014— the highest estimated total for any month last year.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Monthly Retail Trade Survey
http://www.census.gov/econ/currentdata/dbsearch?program=MRTS&startYear=1992&endYear=2014&categories=4541&dataType=SM&geoLevel=US&notAdjusted=1&submit=GET+DATA

31,112: The number of electronic shopping and mail-order houses in business in 2013. These businesses, which employed 383,066 workers in the pay period includingMarch 12, are a popular source of holiday gifts.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2013 County Business Patterns
http://factfinder.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/BP/2013/00A1//naics~45411

Christmas Trees and Decorations

$1.2 billion: U.S. imports of Christmas tree ornaments fromChinabetween January andSeptember 2015. Chinawas the leading country of origin for such items. Similarly,Chinawas the leading foreign source of artificial Christmas trees shipped tothe United States($163.3 millionworth) during the same period.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Foreign Trade Statistics
http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade

567: Estimated number of U.S. producers who grew poinsettias in 2014.California,North CarolinaandFlorida ranked in the top three for sales of the popular holiday plant.
Source: USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service (pg. 42)
http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/current/FlorCrop/FlorCrop-06-04-2015.pdf

Where Toys are Made

545: The number of locations that primarily produced dolls, toys and games in 2013; they employed 6,538 workers in the pay period includingMarch 12.Californialed the nation with 86 establishments.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2013 County Business Patterns
http://factfinder.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/BP/2013/00A1/0100000US|0100000US.04000/naics~33993

Holiday Names: Place names associated with the holiday season consist of a dozen places named Holly, includingMount Holly, N.C.(population 14,016) andHolly Springs, Miss.(7,574). There isSnowflake, Ariz.(5,644),Santa Claus, Ind.(2,479),North Pole, Alaska(2,178),Noel, Mo.(1,831) and — if you know about reindeer —Dasher, Ga.(959) andRudolph, Wis.(433). There is alsoUnity, N.H.(1,615) and Peace, N.D. (28).
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Estimates
http://www.census.gov/popest/data/cities/totals/2014/SUB-EST2014.html

Thanksgiving,HanukkahandKwanzaa

53%: Estimated proportion of the nation's potatoes produced inIdahoandWashingtonduring 2014. Potatoes are a popular dish served during the holidays.
Source: USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service
http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/current/Pota/Pota-09-17-2015.pdf

$1.7 billion: The estimated product shipments value of candles in 2013 by U.S. manufacturers. Many of these candles are lit during Diwali (Nov. 11),Hanukkah(Dec. 6-14) andKwanzaa(Dec. 26-Jan. 1) celebrations.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2012 Economic Census, Industry Series
http://factfinder.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ASM/2013/31VS101//prodsvc~3399995

11.5%: The estimated percentage by which the U.S. Postal Service surpassed its own projections for package deliveries inDecember 2014. This marks an increase of 18 percent from package deliveries inDecember 2013.
Sources: U.S. Postal Service
http://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2014/pr14_057.htmand
http://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2015/pr15_002.htm

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