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Friday, December 08, 2006

‘Tis the Season

Holiday shopping is a chore for many, but according to the U.S. Census Bureau, it’s great for the economy. Here are some stats on our holiday habits:

● Retail sales in department stores totaled $31.7 billion last year.

E-shopping jumped 33 percent between 2004 and 2005. Toys and video games accounted for the largest increase, with flowers, gifts and electronics coming in next. Last year online holiday sales totaled $27.1 billion.

● 1.9 billion holiday cards are sent out each year, making the season the largest card-sending occasion of the year. Valentine’s Day comes in second with only 192 million cards exchanged.

● The U.S. Post Office delivers 20 billion letters, packages and cards between Thanksgiving and December 25. The busiest day is expected to be December 18 when the volume of daily mail handled doubles.

● More than 20 million Christmas trees are cut each year, located on more than 21,000 farms on almost half a million acres.

● Half of the potatoes produced in the U.S. (many used in potato latkes during Hanukkah) come from Idaho and Washington.

● It’s an urban myth that Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) is the busiest shopping day of the season. Actually it is usually the Saturday before Christmas, or December 23 if Christmas falls on a weekend.

So, are you an early or last-minute shopper? Let us know by taking a moment to fill out the “What Kind of Shopper Are You?” survey on the library’s Web site.

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