Figuratively Speaking by John MacIntyre

Figuratively Speaking For December 23, 2012

Percentage increase in the prices of gifts in the holiday classic "The Twelve Days of Christmas, according to PNC Wealth Management: 3.5

According to the 29th annual survey, current price tag for these gifts, $1,168 more than last year: $25,431.18

Cost if you want to buy the whole shebang from a single partridge to twelve drummers drumming for each verse (that's 364 separate pieces of Christmas joy): $107,300.24

Source: PNC Wealth Management.

Year that the first Christmas tree debuted at Rockefeller Center, erected by construction workers eager to receive a day's pay in the depths of the Great Depression and decorated with tin cans and scrap paper, according to Bloomberg Business Week: 1931

Height of the 1931 tree: 20 feet

Height of the 2012 Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, a New Jersey survivor of Hurricane Sandy: 80 feet

Source: Bloomberg.

Percentage of senior managers who say their employees are less productive the week before a major holiday, according to a survey by Accountemps: 34

Source: Accountemps.

Percentage of executives who said they look forward to Christmas celebrations, according to an executive survey by Korn/Ferry International: 56

Percentage who said they attend them when they can: 38

Percentage who said they generally do not attend or have little interest: 6

Source: Korn/Ferry International.

Estimated percentage of homes that still put up and decorate a real Christmas tree each year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau: 20

Estimated percentage of U.S. households that now use artificial trees to decorate for the holidays: 50

Value of artificial Christmas trees imported into the U.S. from China during the first nine months of last year: $80 million

Source: U.S. Census Bureau.

Average amount of money companies expect to spend on each client gift this year, down from $30 last year, according to Advertising Specialty Institute's 2012 corporate gift-giving survey: $26

Ranks of food baskets and tins of popcorn branded with a company's logo, gift cards, calendars and writing instruments on the list of the most popular gifts for clients or prospects: 1, 2, 3, 4

Source: Advertising Specialty Institute.

Percentage of event planners and administrative professionals who said they would be disappointed if their holiday festivities were canceled, according to the Holiday Parties and Office Morale survey conducted by BizBash and Seamless: 90

Percentage who said that the holiday party is important to the team dynamic: 90

Source: BizBash.

Percentage of Americans who hadn't done any holiday shopping as of the first week of December, according to Consumer Reports Holiday Poll: 36

When it comes to deciding which gifts to give, percentage of Americans who said they simply buy what the person they're shopping for requested: 65

Percentage who rely on advice from friends or family: 40

Source: Consumer Reports.

Ranks of sleep, time and money on the list of biggest challenges faced by moms, according to a BabyCenter.com survey: 1, 2, 3

Percentage of parents who get less than six hours of sleep a night: 30

Percentage who can't remember the last time they slept eight hours: 30

Source: BabyCenter LLC.

Percentage of American workers who are retired, according to poll conducted by Ipsos Observer on behalf of Quicken: 21

Among those who are still in the workforce, percentage who believe that they won't be able to retire by the age of 65: 53

Source: Ipsos Reid Public Affairs.

Idle Thought

"You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life." -- Albert Camus

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