A New Economic Indicator: Christmas Decorations

Photo (cc) by pugetsoundphotowalks

If you believe one group of experts, the U.S. economy is rebounding.

“Consumers are entering the holiday season with greater hope and optimism than at any point since September 2008 – just before the global financial crisis hit a fever pitch,” says Marc Harris with financial services company RBC Capital Markets, which released a study on this very topic just a few days ago.

Then again …

“Consumers are saying ‘not so fast’ on calling a recovery,” says Bradley Honan, senior vice president of market research firm StrategyOne, which has just updated its Annual Holiday Shopping Index. “Even though there has been some good news about the economy, consumers are still unsettled about the future.”

If you’re on the fence regarding who to believe, there are other economic indicators that might help – Christmas indicators.

A new study by a marketing firm called HCD Research, which surveyed Americans on … Christmas decorations. The results found “people are more tolerant of Christmas decorations this year than in recent years.”

Specifically, 57 percent of us now believe that the gaudily decorated house in our neighborhood improves the place, compared to only 40 percent in 2009. This is no joke. Here’s how rigorous the science was …

During the study, half of the participants viewed a photo taken at night of a modest house decked-out in lights and illuminated figures, while the other half viewed a daytime photo of a similar modest house decorated with a few wreaths. After viewing the photos, participants were asked the same questions about the type of people who might live in the houses.

According to HCD Research’s CEO Glenn Kessler, this study was about far more than Christmas lights.

“I believe the increase in positive sentiment toward Christmas decorations is an indication that Americans are tired of the doom and gloom of the economy,” Kessler boldly declared, adding that Americans “are looking for something positive to focus on during this holiday season.”

And how about Christmas trees? Tree sales can apparently also be an economic indicator – according to this article in the Wall Street Journal, they’re much higher this year than last, which says good things about the economy:

Christmas tree sellers surveyed by ISI Group, a New York research firm, said sales the weekend after Thanksgiving were up 6 percent from a year earlier, and that the following weekend they were up 3 percent.

That is a reversal from 2008, which marked the steepest drop in holiday-season sales since the 1930s. Last year, sales of real Christmas trees fell almost 10 percent to 28.2 million trees, down from 31.3 million in 2007, according to a Harris Interactive poll commissioned by the National Christmas Tree Association.

Then there’s the Challenger, Grey and Christmas (yes, that’s actually their name) annual survey (PDF) on holiday office parties. From their press release:

In its annual survey on holiday parties, global outplacement and business coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. found that 68 percent of companies are planning holiday parties this year, up slightly from 62 percent a year ago. About four percent of those holding parties this year are doing so after one or more years with no party due to the recession.

Put it all together and you’ve got to start feeling merry and bright!

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
5 Ways Anyone Can Save on Out-of-Pocket Health Care Costs
5 Ways Anyone Can Save on Out-of-Pocket Health Care Costs

Here’s how to lower your health care costs without skimping on care.

How to Buy a Refrigerator, Step by Step
How to Buy a Refrigerator, Step by Step

Here’s how I got the perfect appliance at the perfect price.

15 of the Fastest-Growing Jobs Today
15 of the Fastest-Growing Jobs Today

Times are tough, but these career fields are thriving.

10 Common Expenses That Have Skyrocketed for Seniors
10 Common Expenses That Have Skyrocketed for Seniors

Retirees must stretch their dollars further and further these days — no thanks to these costs.

10 Bad Money Habits That Are Robbing You Blind
10 Bad Money Habits That Are Robbing You Blind

Here’s how to change those bad behaviors.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?
Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?

Can an adult daughter tap into her late mother’s benefit?

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia
This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia

Nearly half of U.S. residents may face this threat.

Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds
Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand purchases.

These Major Appliances Got the Worst Reviews in 2020
These Major Appliances Got the Worst Reviews in 2020

Consumer Reports says these home products got the worst ratings from experts.

This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers

For the second straight year, a growing number of Americans believe they’ve fallen prey to this scam.

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It
11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy
These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy

These vehicles boast reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have
6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have

Few retirees have all of these documents that are crucial to their golden years — especially during a pandemic.

Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?
Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?

Researchers say too many doctors are overlooking this potential source of hypertension.

11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco
11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco

Not all generics are worthwhile, but these are among the best from Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand.

Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore
Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Starting this month, your ISP no longer can bill you for this fee.

3 Cable TV Companies Hiking Prices for 2021
3 Cable TV Companies Hiking Prices for 2021

Still married to your cable company? Hold on to your wallet!

8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone
8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone

It’s never too early to start learning how to live well while living on less.

15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021
15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021

Follow these tips to save, so you’ll have money for things that really matter.

9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry
9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry

Keep more of future paychecks by eliminating these budget-busting unnecessary expenses.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.