Figuratively Speaking by John MacIntyre

Figuratively Speaking For December 13, 2009

This holiday season, amount very generous "True Loves" will pay for all 364 gifts in the holiday classic "The Twelve Days of Christmas," a mere 0.9 percent increase compared to last year: $87,402.81

Percentage decrease in the cost of a partridge in a pear tree this year over last: 27.3

Source: PNC Wealth Management.

Percentage of Americans who never express their gratitude for what they have or to the people in their lives, with men being more likely to fall in this category (13 percent vs. 6 percent of women), according to a survey commissioned by the Chinet brand: 10

Percentage of adults who said that feeling grateful inspires them to give to others: 90

Source: Chinet brand.

Reported holiday season retail e-commerce spending for the first 27 days of the November-December 2009 holiday season, according to comScore, a leader in measuring the digital world: $10.57 billion

Percentage increase this represents versus the corresponding days last year: 3

Dollar value in online sales on Black Friday (Nov. 27), making it the second heaviest online spending day to date in 2009 and representing an 11 percent increase versus Black Friday 2008: $595 million

Source: comScore.

Projected amount of money moms will spend on holiday gifts this year, according to a survey conducted by The Marketing to Moms Coalition: $672

Rank of toys, clothing, books, movies and video games on the list of hot gifts for young children: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Rank of video games, toys, books/clothing, movies and music on the list of gift choices for children aged 7 to 12: 1, 2, 3(tie), 5, 6

Source: Marketing to Moms Coalition.

Year the first ever electric blanket went on sale in Petersburg, Va., according to the Census Bureau: 1945

Cost of the blanket in 1945: $39.50.

Value of the electric housewares industry today, of which electric blankets are a part: $2.2 billion

Source: Census Bureau - Bernstein.

Percentage of professionals who said they are not planning to shop online while at work, according to an Accountemps survey: 77

Average number of hours a week those employees who will be hunting for holiday bargains during business hours say they are likely to spend (down from 2.7 hours when the same question was asked in 2007): 1.9

Source: Robert Half International.

When asked about the primary mission of high school, percentage of low-income parents who rank preparing students for college the highest, according to the Deloitte 2009 Education Survey, conducted among high school teachers and low-income parents and students: 42

Percentage of high school students who agree with the statement: 48

Percentage of educators who think preparing students for college is their most important mission: 9

Source: Deloitte LLP.

Percentage of men who believe they have a soul mate, according to an AskMen.com survey: 36

Percentage who say they have found her: 32

Percentage of men who said the most important personality trait that makes a woman "relationship material" is a sense of loyalty: 30

Percentage who said intelligence: 20

Source: AskMen.com.

When asked in an open-ended question to name the most important financial problem facing their families today, percentage of Americans who said low wages and a lack of money, according to a Gallup poll: 17

Percentage who said health-care costs: 14

Percentage who said "too much debt": 10

Percentage who said the cost of renting or owning a home: 9

Source: Gallup Organization.

Percentage of parents with grown children who say one of their adult sons or daughters (social scientists call them "boomerangers") has moved back home in the past year, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center: 13

Percentage of adults ages 18 to 34 who say the poor economy has forced them to move back in with Mom and Dad: 10

Source: Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.

Idle thought

"The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong." -- Mohandas Gandhi

(Readers can contact John MacIntyre at johnmacintyre(at)bwr.eastlink.ca.)