Ranks of crowds and long lines, aggressive or thoughtless driving in shopping centers, bad traffic, weight gain, fake holiday cheer and debt on the list of holiday dreads as cited by Americans, according to Consumer Reports: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Rank of "that fruitcake" on the list of the least-favorite holiday food gifts: 1
Source: Consumer Reports.
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
Source: U.S. Census Bureau.
Percentage of Americans who would skip exchanging gifts if their family and friends agreed to it, according to a survey conducted by Harris on behalf of SunTrust Bank: 69
Percentage who said they would spend more time with friends and family if they didn't have to worry about buying or making gifts: 60
Percentage of respondents who said they would use that money to pay down debt: 37
Source: The Harris Poll.
Year that Franklin Pierce, the 14th president of the United States, placed a Christmas tree in the White House for the first time, according to data compiled by the University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners from various sources: 1856
Year that President Calvin Coolidge started the National Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on the White House lawn: 1923.
Year the National Christmas Tree was not lit until Dec. 22nd, because of a national 30-day period of mourning following the assassination of President Kennedy: 1963
Source: University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners.
Percentage of people who said the holiday party is very important to office morale and company success, according to a BizBash and Seamless survey: 73
Percentage of respondents who reported better office friendships as a result of past holiday parties: 75
Percentage who reported an improved office culture: 71
Percentage of "dog people" who will buy their pup a gift this holiday season, according to a survey by BarkBox: 80
Percentage who say their dog is the happiest receiver on their list: 71
For girls, rank of Barbie on the list of must-have toys for the fourth consecutive year, according to a survey by the National Retail Federation: 1
For boys, rank of LEGOs on the list of must-haves: 1
Percentage of retailers who indicated their greatest focus for holiday marketing will be on millennials, compared to a focus on Gen X (34 percent) or baby boomers (6 percent), according to a survey by RetailMeNot.com: 57
When it comes to getting the best customer service, percentage of consumers who say a human is needed, according to a Genesys study: 75
Ranks of being put on hold (42 percent), being given incorrect information (37 percent) and being given too many automated options before reaching an agent or resolving their issue (36 percent) on the list of the biggest customer annoyances: 1, 2, 3
Ranks of a timely response (64 percent) and knowledgeable agents (55 percent) on the list for the type of customer experiences they value the most: 1, 2
Percentage of parents who are overwhelmed when researching child safety products, according to a survey conducted by Harris on behalf of Volvo Car USA: 92
Percentage of parents who believe that people are more judgmental about the way they care for their children today, as opposed to 10 years ago: 84
Rank of the child safety seat on the list of concerns regarding child safety: 1
Source: The Harris Poll.
"Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness." -- Lucius Annaeus Seneca
(Readers can contact John MacIntyre at email@example.com.)