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Backstory: Counting on Christmas

Here's a yuletide yardstick of the 2006 season.

(Page 2 of 2)

$485 million – US farmers' tree-sale revenue in 2005.

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$126 million – Tree sales in Oregon in 2005, top-grossing state (followed by North Carolina, Washington, and Michigan).

221 feet – The tallest Christmas tree, a Douglas fir erected at Northgate Shopping Center in Seattle, Wash., in 1950.

The China connection

$1.2 billion – Value of Christmas ornaments imported from China in 2005 – America's No. 1 foreign supplier.

$39 million – Value of imported Chinese nativity scenes and figures in 2005.

$160 million – Value of artificial Christmas trees from China last year.


87% – People who donated money to a charity in 2005 (religious or nonreligious).

62% – People who donated their time to a charity in 2005 (religious or nonreligious).

11,000 – Christmas trees to be donated to US troops and their families by tree growers this year.

50% – Yearly charitable donations made between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day.

84% – Malls that will hold charity events. Toys for Tots and Giving Trees are the most popular charity events in malls.

$260 billion – Total charitable donations in 2005, up from $245 billion in 2004. About half of the increase was due to giving for one of three major natural disasters: tsunami in southern Asia, Gulf Coast hurricanes, and Pakistan's earthquake.

Where the money goes

$93.2 billion – Amount of donations given to religious organizations, the top recipient of aid.

$38.6 billion – Amount donated to education, the second largest sector.

Decking the White House

18 ft., 6 in. – Height of the White House Christmas tree.

17 – Number of decorated trees in the White House.

1,089 – Feet of garland strung throughout the first mansion.

4,638 – Red ornament balls.

269 – Wreaths in the White House.

Even more Christmas numbers

36 million – Estimated number of real Christmas trees to be sold in 2006

46 million – Households that plan to use an artificial tree this year

55% – Consider shopping for presents more of a joyful experience than a chore

40% – Consider it more of a chore

$260 billion – charitable donations in all of 2005

$245 billion – charitable donations in all of 2004

$791 – Amount the average consumer is expected to spend this year

$738 – Amount consumer spent in the 2005 holiday season

47% – Consumers predicted to shop online this holiday season

Dec. 19 – Busiest mailing day, with twice the average volume

Dec. 21 – Busiest delivery day of the year

Sources: Center for a New American Dream, BIGResearch, St. Paul Pioneer Press, Harper's Index, The Joy of Cooking, Department of Defense, Unity Marketing, National Christmas Tree Association, USDA Economic Research Service, Guinness Book of World Records 2006, US Census, US Department of Commerce, Charity Navigator, Giving Institute, The White House, Gallup, US Postal Service.