San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego among Best Places for Christmas celebrations

With spending over the winter holidays projected to be between $943 billion and $960 billion this year, the highest amount ever, WalletHub released its report on 2022’s Best Places for Christmas Celebrations.

Three California cities topped the list.

In order to determine which cities will offer a holly jolly holiday even amid the stresses of high inflation, WalletHub compared the 100 biggest U.S. cities based on 32 key indicators of a safe and affordable Christmas. The data set ranges from the availability of Christmas traditions to the percentage of residents who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to the city’s overall generosity.

Best Cities for Christmas

1. Seattle, WA
2. Atlanta, GA
3. Las Vegas, NV
4. Pittsburgh, PA
5. Orlando, FL
6. St. Louis, MO
7. Honolulu, HI
8. Cincinnati, OH
9. New York, NY
10. Washington, DC
11. San Francisco, CA
12. Los Angeles, CA
13. Miami, FL
14. Portland, OR
15. Chicago, IL
16. Buffalo, NY
17. Denver, CO
18. Minneapolis, MN
19. Raleigh, NC
20. San Diego, CA

Some key stats of interest:

  • Miami has the most Christmas tree farms (per square root of the population), 0.025631, which is 24.1 times more than in Indianapolis, the city with the fewest at 0.001065.
  • Orlando, Florida, has the most gift shops (per square root of the population), 0.219404, which is 19.1 times more than in North Las Vegas, Nevada, the city with the fewest at 0.011459.
  • Orlando, Florida has the most toy stores (per square root of the population), 0.133081, which is 34.8 times more than in North Las Vegas, Nevada, the city with the fewest at 0.003820.
  • Seattle has the most food banks (per square root of population), 0.023346, which is 18.9 times more than in Boston, the city with the fewest at 0.001236.

Expert Commentary
What tips do you have for celebrating Christmas on a budget?

“Try to focus on experiences rather than things. Instead of putting your energy and money into buying big gifts for everyone, gather people together and tour Christmas lights, go caroling, or make a holiday meal together, perhaps with a gift exchange where everyone goes home with one small gift under a certain dollar amount.”
— Tyra Warner, Ph.D., JD, CMP – Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Hospitality, Tourism, & Culinary Arts, College of Coastal Georgia

“To save money, shop online and avoid stores. Two reasons for this: retailers will manage discounts differently using their online channels. Be opportunistic on 10% online discounts and post black Friday events. From a supply chain perspective, retailers are more agile in their online channels, and this is where you are likely to find short-term discounts. In terms of things to do on a budget. I love the local drive-through light shows.”
— Jeff Shockley, Ph.D. – Associate Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University

What are some of the big money wasters on Christmas?

“Often it is the little things: wrapping paper, cards, etc. Keep discount stores like Dollar Tree in mind for these things. Do not be afraid to recycle items around the house (newspaper, leftover ribbon, cards, or envelopes missing the matching card/envelope).”
— AJ Templeton, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor, Southern Utah University

“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that household waste can increase by about 25% during the holiday season and that more food reaches landfills than any other material in everyday household waste. When we waste food, we waste the water, energy, fuel, and other resources that were needed to produce and transport it. We also add to the methane emissions generated by landfills. Since the holidays are times for sharing, we can consider reaching out to other family members or local food rescue organizations to safely share surplus food.”
— Alba J. Collart, Ph.D. – Associate Professor & Extension Economist, Mississippi State University

What money-saving tips do you have for people planning to travel for the Christmas Holiday?

“Look for booking specials but look past just the discount and at what the added value may be (i.e., credit on file, discounts to partner companies, etc.). Utilize reward/loyalty points where you can, you may be able to significantly discount a room/rental/flight. Do not discount local adventures and the ability to possibly take advantage of in-state/student/child discounts at attractions, museums, and entertainment venues.”
— AJ Templeton, Ph.D. – Assistant Professor, Southern Utah University

“For air travel, use best practices you would use any time – look for airfares on Tuesday when many airlines reduce the higher fares they held for the weekend. If you can, you should travel on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday when fares are their lowest. For Christmas specifically, consider shipping presents via a reliable shipping service rather than carrying them with you, especially if you are traveling by air. No sense in risking lost presents upon arrival. For car trips, see if your state Department of Transportation has a forecast for when the roads are expected to be the busiest and plan around those times.”
— Tyra Warner, Ph.D., JD, CMP – Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Hospitality, Tourism, & Culinary Arts, College of Coastal Georgia

To view the full report and your city’s rank, please click the link.








Image Sources

  • San Diego Beach: Shutterstock