Figuratively Speaking by John MacIntyre

Figuratively Speaking For December 18, 2020

Using salary information of comparable jobs from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, calculated percentage raise in Santa's salary for 2020, according to 2

For all his tasks -- from Rudolph's nose maintenance, running the workshop, reading letters, checking his list (twice) to taste-testing each delicious cookie (even the oatmeal raisin ones) -- amount Santa earned this year: $157,300


Percentage of people responding to a survey by who believe that ugly holiday sweaters serve as an effective conversation starter: 96

When asked about the perception of those who wear ugly holiday sweaters, percentage who believe that the garment indicates a strong sense of humor: 52

Percentage who believe that the garment indicates an openness to meeting new people: 44

Source: Group.

Percentage of Americans who said they had less disposable income available in 2020 than in 2019 as a result of COVID-19, according to a survey by L.E.K. Consulting and Civis Analytics: 44

Percentage who said they were concerned about their finances and future income security: 43

Percentage who said they were giving gifts to fewer people this year -- and radically change the way they shop: 48

Source: L.E.K. Consulting and Civis Analytics.

According to data provided by NORAD, which has confirmed it will again track jolly old St. Nicholas' Christmas Eve flight for 2020, designer and builder of Santa's sleigh: K. Kringle and Elves Inc.

Probable first flight: Dec. 24, 343 A.D.

Home base: North Pole

Length: 75 cc (candy canes) / 150 lp (lollipops)

Width: 40 cc / 80 lp

Height: 55 cc / 110 lp

Emissions: Classified

Climbing speed: One "T" (twinkle of an eye)

Source: NORAD.

Estimated number of children under age 18 in the world, according to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF): 2.106 billion

If we assume that each household has in average 2.5 children, number of stops Santa would have to make on Christmas Eve, traveling 221 million miles: 842 million

Given the different time zones, number of hours that Santa has to deliver gifts, with his average speed approximately 650 miles per second: 36

Source: UNICEF and Larry Silverberg

Date that two astronauts aboard Gemini 6 sent an odd report to Mission Control that they saw an "unidentified flying object" about to enter Earth's atmosphere, traveling in the polar orbit from north to south, with "a command module and eight smaller modules in front," according to an article by Christopher Klein: Dec. 16, 1965

Source: Christopher Klein.

Date of the first Christmas, according to research by DMR Stats and Fun Facts Pages: Dec. 25, 336 in Rome

Year the first Christmas card was sent: 1611

Years that Christmas was banned in England by the Puritans: 1647 to 1660

First time Christmas was a bank holiday: 1834 in England

Year Christmas became a U.S. federal holiday: 1870

Source: DMR Stats and Fun Facts Pages.

Amount of money that PayPal processed globally this Giving Tuesday, the largest amount raised on the platform for the global day of giving since its inception in 2012, according to PayPal Holdings Inc.: $185 million

Percentage increase in donations processed over 2019: 40

Number of PayPal customers who made donations, across 198 markets with over 2 million donations made in total: 1.75 million plus

Source: PayPal Holdings Inc.

During the winter holidays, including Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and New Year's Eve, percentage of Americans who say they plan to celebrate at home, according to a survey commissioned by NCSolutions: 79

Percentage who plan to celebrate at home in smaller groups: 54

Looking ahead to 2021, percentage of consumers who indicated optimism that the nation's health and relevant living conditions will improve: 45

Percentage who think it will stay the same: 32

Source: NCSolutions.

Idle Thought

"Life becomes easier and more beautiful when we can see the good in other people." -- Roy T. Bennett

(Readers can contact John MacIntyre at