Christmas by the numbers, plus 1 green Christmas tip

While the real meaning of Christmas cannot be found in numbers, they can help caputre how we celebrate it.

A statistical look at North America's favourite holiday

Robin Heath lit up his Windsor, Ont. home with 72,000 lights this year. (CBC)

While the real meaning of Christmas cannot be found in numbers, there is something here that describes how we celebrate it.

All numbers, with the exception of your green Christmas tip, are courtesy of Statistics Canada.

Black Friday

Retail sales in Canada were 32 per cent higher in December 2014 than the monthly average from January to November.

Some retail sectors do better than others.

  • Sporting and leisure goods: up 127 per cent.
  • Candy and snack sales: up 58 per cent.
  • Liquor sales: up 39 per cent.
  • Hardware, lawn and garden: down 16 per cent.
Garden tools are one of the few retail sectors that see a decline in December. (Kevin Yarr/CBC)

O Christmas tree

Canada exported fresh-cut Christmas trees to 19 countries in 2014.

Christmas tree farms in Quebec, like the McCrea-Cotés farm in Inverness, make up most of Canadian exports. (CBC)

Quebec exported more trees than all other provinces combined.

  • Canadian trees exported: 1,528,705.
  • From Quebec: 864,687.

Tremendous turkeys

The average size of a turkey is Canada is growing. (B's Diner/Facebook)

The number of turkeys produced every year in Canada has been fairly steady since 2010: between 20 and 21 million. But the average size of those turkeys is growing.

  • 2010: 7.72 kg.
  • 2014: 8.03 kg.

Some cranberries to go with that?

In contrast, cranberry production in Canada has more than doubled since 2010.

  • 2010: 75,564 tonnes.
  • 2014: 158,395 tonnes.


Approaching zero from January to September, eggnog sales start to jump in October.

Monthly sales of egg nog in Canada go from nearly zero in January to September to more than five million litres in December. (Kevin Yarr/CBC)

  • January to September: 17,400 litres.
  • October: 602,000 litres.
  • November: 2,533,000 litres.
  • December:  5,269,000 litres.

Whipped cream sales also peak in December: at 5,522,000 litres in December 2014, they were 32 per cent higher than any other month.

Green Christmas

According to a 2009 study by the Montreal consulting firm Ellipsos, few North Americans keep their artificial Christmas trees long enough to make them a better greenhouse gas option than a natural tree.

  • Average life span of artificial tree: six years.
  • How long you'd need to keep an artificial tree: 20 years.

Canada imports about 95 per cent of its artificial Christmas trees from China. Ellipsos found the greenhouse gas emissions from manufacturing the tree and shipping it from China far exceed the cost of putting up a natural tree.

A 2009 study found if you want your artificial tree to be more environmentally friendly than a real tree, you need to keep it a long time. (CBC)


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