Rank of Bethlehem on the Lonely Planet's 1,000 Ultimate Experiences list of the best places in the world to experience the Yuletide spirit: 1
Ranks of Santa Claus Village, Finland; New York City; Bondi Beach, Australia; and Midnight Mass at the Vatican on the list: 2, 3, 4, 5
Source: The Lonely Planet.
Of the millions of Americans who intend to travel home for the holidays, percentage who will experience stress over having to stay with family or friends -- typically due to crowding (hello, basement air mattress) and lack of privacy (how many cousins can share one bathroom?) -- according to a survey from Motel 6: 67
Of those who travel with their significant others, percentage who agree that they would get along better as a pair if they didn't have to stay with relatives over the holidays: 51
Source: Motel 6.
Estimated number of Americans who have had packages stolen by "porch pirates," according to a survey by Insurance Quotes.com: 25.9 million
Number who have had decorations stolen or vandalized: 22.6 million
While holiday tunes accounted for just 1 percent of all streams in early November -- climbing to 5 percent by Thanksgiving weekend -- peak percentage stream on Christmas Day, according to research by Statista: 22
In 2017, ranks of Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You," Brenda Lee's "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" and "Last Christmas" by Wham! on the list of the most popular streams: 1, 2, 3
Percentage of respondents to the Marriage Proposal survey by Chilisauce who chose Christmas Eve as the best time to pop the question: 31
Percentage of all proposals that are expected to happen around Christmas: 40
Source: Chillisauce Ltd.
Percentage of adults who say their at-home children believe in Santa Claus, according to a new Pew Research Center poll: 19
Percentage of children who plan to "pretend" that St. Nick will visit their house on Christmas Eve: 70
Percentage of parents who said that Santa "visited" their homes with presents years ago when they were kids: 72
Source: Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.
Number of children Santa must visit in a matter of hours according to the Ministry of Fun: 2.1 billion
Number of stops he must make (assuming the global average of 2.5 children per household applies): 842 million
Speed at which he must travel (this need for speed may explain why he's so tricky to spot sometimes): 1,280 miles per second
Source: Ministry of Fun.
Probable First Flight of Santa, according to NORAD, which confirmed it will track Santa's Christmas Eve flight and released a fact sheet with "technical data" on the sleigh, designed and built by K. Kringle and Elves Inc.: Dec. 24, 343 A.D.
Length of sleigh, equivalent to 150 lollipops: 75 candy canes
Width: 40 candy canes
Weight at takeoff: 75,000 gum drops
Passenger weight at takeoff: 260 pounds
Percentage of Americans who say the thing they most look forward to during the holiday season is spending time with friends and family, according to The Harris Poll: 52
Percentage of Americans who say the one thing they dislike most about the holidays is spending too much money: 27
Source: The Harris Poll.
Percentage of Americans who plan to spend more on holiday travel than gifts, according to a survey by Orbitz Worldwide: 64
Busiest day for Christmas travel: Dec. 23
"Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be." -- Abraham Lincoln
(Readers can contact John MacIntyre at email@example.com.)