Percentage of American adults who believe in God — unchanged since the question was last asked in 2005, according to the findings of a Harris Poll: 82

Percentage of the public who believe in miracles: 79

Percentage who believe in heaven: 75

Percentage who believe in angels: 74

Source: Harris Interactive.

· · · · ·

Percentage of respondents who agreed that Jack Bauer of "24" gets top billing as the TV character Americans would call to wish a happy holiday, according to a survey by EMBARQ: 11

Rank of Princess Diana as the person from the past Americans would call if their wireless service extended to the deceased: 1

Rank of JFK as the choice of those over 60: 1

Source: Kelton Research.

· · · · ·

Percentage of Americans who say they would want at least some of their relatives to stay at a hotel during the holidays rather than in their home, according to a survey conducted by hotels.com: 87

Average amount that U.S. adults say their "hotel-like" guest accommodations at home are worth: $149 to $161 per night

Source: Hotels.com.

· · · · ·

Percentage of adult workers aged 50 and older who say it is not important to them if their employer has an annual holiday party, according to a survey conducted by Spherion: 72

Percentage of workers aged 18 to 29 who say the same: 56

Source: Spherion.

· · · · ·

Percentage of workers who regret having snubbed the office holiday party, thus missing a prime opportunity for networking, according to a Tickle test for Monster.com: 31

Percentage who regret having drank too much at an office party: 20

Percentage who regret showing up late: 18

Source: Monster.com.

· · · · ·

Average value of a $100 gift card when sold at auction on eBay, according to a study analyzing auctions of gift cards by Jennifer Pate, an economics professor at Loyola Marymount University: $85

Ranks of Home Depot, Lowe's, Office Max, Circuit City and Starbucks, according to their resale value, as the five "best" gift cards: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Ranks of Express, American Eagle, Abercrombie and Fitch, Victoria's Secret, and Tiffany and Co., according to their resale value, as the five "worst" gift cards: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Source: Loyola Marymount University.

· · · · ·

Percentage of entrepreneurs who plan to make New Year's resolutions for their business, according to a survey by OPEN from American Express Small Business Monitor: 69

Percentage who said their New Year's business resolution is to be more profitable: 56

Percentage who resolved to be a better boss: 36

Source: OPEN — American Express.

· · · · ·

Ranks of "Silent Night," "White Christmas," "Oh Holy Night" and "Jingle Bells" on the list of the holiday songs people most look forward to hearing when the holiday season comes around: 1, 2, 3, 4

Ranks of "Jingle Bells," "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer," "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "White Christmas" on the list of holiday songs which, by the end of the holiday season, people wish they could never hear again: 1, 2, 3, 4

Source: Harris Interactive.

· · · · ·

Percentage of companies who say that they did not award holiday bonuses this year, according to a study conducted by Hewitt Associates: 63

Percentage of companies that say they rely on variable pay plans (performance-based bonuses that must be re-earned annually) to show their appreciation to hardworking employees: 90

Percentage of companies that have never offered a holiday bonus: 53

Source: Hewitt Associates.

· · · · ·

Percentage of Americans who selected finding a parking space as the biggest holiday jam they faced, according to a survey by Deep Blue Insight Group on behalf of the GBC Document Finishing Group: 50

Rank of buying something that they thought was on sale but really wasn't: 2

Percentage who reported that bringing their significant other along shopping was a mistake: 10

Source: Clear Blue Communications.

· · · · ·

Rank of the Caribbean, Hawaii, Paris, New York City, the Maldives, Las Vegas and Tahiti, on the list of the top holiday escape, according to TripAdvisor survey: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Source: TripAdvisor.

· · · · ·

Percentage of baby boomers who say they want more time with loved ones this holiday season, according to TeeBeeDee: 47

Percentage of baby boomers who said they want peace and quiet from their active lives: 40

Percentage who want an open bar: 5

Percentage who want a flat-screen TV: 8.5

Source: TeeBeeDee.


John MacIntyre has been writing Figuratively Speaking since 1989. You can contact him by e-mail at [email protected].