Merry Christmas By the Numbers

Plenty of money flowing for gifts and decorations, according to U.S. Census Bureau.

There's plenty of ways to look at the holiday season, but the U.S. Census Bureau has offered a little numerical perspective on what typically goes on this time of year.

$27 billion: The total amount of retails sales at the nation's department stores in December 2011, the most recent year with available statistics. Not surprisingly, this amount was a 45-percent increase over November 2011.

22 percent: This is the amount departments stores increased their inventories between August and November 2011. Of course, inventories dipped by 21 percent when holiday shoppers hit the stores in December 2011.

$38 billion: The total amount of retails sales done online or by mail order in December 2011.

$1 billion: The value of U.S. imports of Christmas tree decorations from China between January and September 2012. Similarly, China was leading foreign source of artificial Christmas trees shipped to the United States for a total of $139 million.

73: The number of manufacturers around the United States primarily making dolls and stuffed toys in 2010. California had the most with 10.

$1.38 billion: The value of product shipments of candles in 2011 by the nation's manufacturers in 2011. Many of those candles are lit during Hanukah and Kwanzaa celebrations.

And, the big number in the holiday travel number department comes from AAA, which said 93.3 million people would drive more than 50 miles for holiday festivities. AAA also expects 5.6 million to fly over the holiday period between Dec. 22 and Jan. 1.


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