Charlie Brown's complaints about commercialism notwithstanding, Christmas is an expensive time for consumers -- and an important time for retailers who use year-end sales to shore up their bottom lines. But how much is the holiday worth -- and who has had the best luck cashing in? To get a better feeling for the curious flow of Christmas cash, we reviewed at some of the biggest-sellers, biggest-tickets, and most traditional holiday treats. If you've ever wondered about the money underlying the season, take a peek!
A. "Miracles: the Holiday Album" (Kenny G)
B. "Merry Christmas" (Johnny Mathis)
C. "White Christmas" (Bing Crosby)
D. "The Elvis Christmas Album" (Elvis Presley)
Answer: D. Elvis' Christmas album received a Diamond certification, indicating that it sold over 10 million copies. Oddly enough, Kenny G's Miracles came in second, with an 8-times Platinum rating, which means that it sold more than 8 million copies.
Answer: C. While the actual Rockefeller Center tree is donated every year by a tree farm, it's worth an estimated $25,000. Add in the lights -- and the Swarovski crystal star at the top -- and you're looking at an estimated $73,500.
A. "It's a Wonderful Life"
B. "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas"
C. "A Christmas Story"
D. "The Nightmare Before Christmas"
Answer: B. Since its debut in 2000, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas has grossed more than $260 million -- 42% more than the next-highest contender, The Polar Express. By comparison, The Nightmare Before Christmas ($75 million) and A Christmas Story ($20 million) were modest successes. As for It's a Wonderful Life, there are no records of its total gross, although it has brought in $3.3 million in rental earnings.
Answer: A. Over the last year, the cost of the twelve days of Christmas has risen by 6.1 percent, largely driven by jumps in the price of gold, swans and geese. To get all 364 items mentioned (we're counting all the repeats, thus, a full dozen partridges and pear trees) you will crack the hundred-grand mark.
On the bright side, the cost of some items, like "eight maids a milking" stayed almost the same, as the minimum wage has held pat. For that matter, if you happen to know anyone in a garage band, rounding up "twelve drummers drumming" and "nine ladies dancing" might be a bargain!
B. Bob Dylan
C. Twisted Sister
D. Death Row Records
Answer: Trick question! All four have Christmas albums!
D. A half quart of mulled wine and three plates of figgy pudding
Answer: C. While prices vary, the average rate for a one-hour sleigh ride hovers around $30 per adult and $20 per child, or $100 for a family of four. For a decidedly less romantic horse-drawn carriage ride around Central Park in New York City, the price is a bit higher: about $110 for 45 minutes.
A. "Bikini Bloodbath Christmas"
B. "A Cadaver Christmas"
C. "Deadly Little Christmas"
D. "Ho Ho Hellions"
Answer: D. With a few exceptions, notably Silent Night, Deadly Night, holiday horror movies don't make much of a dent in the public consciousness. Even so, studios keep making low budget flicks to chill the blood on Christmas night. This could be good news for Ho Ho Hellions, my idea for a tale of a gang of Christmas elves who go on an insane yuletide rampage after drinking spoiled egg nog, which has not been made into a movie ... yet.