As the most widely observed cultural holiday in the world, Christmas is a time of produces many things — joy, happiness, gratitude, reverence. And numbers. Lots of peculiar, often large, numbers. Here are a few to contemplate this season:
$34.87 – Average amount U.S. consumers spent on real Christmas trees.
33,000,000 – Number of real Christmas trees sold in the U.S. each year.
7 – Average growing time in years for a Christmas tree.
$70.55 – Average amount U.S. consumers spent on fake Christmas trees in 2011.
9,500,000 – Number of fake Christmas trees sold each year.
$27.21 — The energy costs of lighting a six-foot Christmas tree, lit 12 hours a day for 40 days, decorated with various light types.
$1,000,000,000 – Estimated value of U.S. imports of Christmas tree ornaments from China between January and September 2013.
$3,000,000,000,000 – Amount generated by the U.S. retail industry during the holidays in 2012. These holiday sales reflected about 19.3 percent of the retail industries total sales that year.
$720,000 – Number of new employees hired to compensate for the holiday rush in 2012.
37.5% — Estimated percentage of charitable giving that occurs between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.
$712 – Average amount people in the U.S. spent in on Christmas presents in 2010. In Italy average expenditure amounted to around 325 euros ($445). The Dutch came out as the most thrifty. Spending on Christmas presents in the Netherlands in 2010 averaged at 206 euros ($282).
108,000,000 — Average number of homes Santa Claus has to visit on December 25 (assuming there is at least one “nice” child in each).
Bavinck issues an evergreen challenge to God’s people: “Christians may not permit their conduct to be determined by the spirit of the age, but must focus on the requirement of God’s commandment.”