What to celebrate and where to travel during the winter holidays

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Pavel Prikhodko, Ph.D. Machine Learning

The winter holidays in America are possibly the most beautiful time of the year, filled with Christmas trees, fairy lights and festivals. The end of the year brings not only Christmas and New Year’s but other holidays as well. The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah and the African week-long celebration of Kwanzaa are also among the widely-celebrated holidays in America due to the large number of Jewish and African Americans.

According to a poll on which holidays American respondents planned to celebrate in 2015, almost 95 percent planned to celebrate Christmas. About 6.5 percent planned to celebrate Hanukkah, and 1.9 percent planned to celebrate Kwanzaa. In comparison, the total number of people who planned to celebrate Christmas in 2014 was 94.3 percent, compared to 6.3 percent who planned to celebrate Hanukkah. The percentage of people who planned to celebrate Kwanzaa in 2014 was nearly the same as in 2015: 2 percent.

The percentage of people who celebrated each holiday stayed relatively stable in recent years. Thus, in 2013, the number of people who celebrated Hanukkah was 6.5 percent (which was quite similar to 2014). The percentage of respondents who celebrated Kwanzaa in 2013 was 2.8 percent, which was the highest rate between 2004 and 2015. Almost 95 percent of people celebrated Christmas that year, which was slightly higher than the 2014 and 2015 numbers. In the past decade, the highest percentage of Americans celebrated Christmas in 2009 (95.3 percent). The highest percentage of people who celebrated Hanukkah was seen in 2008: 6.8 percent.

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Some people in the U.S. prefer to spend their winter holidays traveling within the country. According to a survey by ASTA published at Statista.com in 2014, the most popular winter destination for travelers was Orlando — 41 percent of travelers chose this city. The second most popular domestic travel destination was Las Vegas, the most populous city in the state of Nevada, with 13 percent. New York City was also popular for winter tourism in 2014, chosen by 6 percent of travelers last year. Five percent and 3 percent of respondents traveled to Miami and Honolulu respectively. Four cities (San Francisco, Fort Myers, Los Angeles and Maui) had the same popularity rate among winter tourists (3 percent). About 2 percent of travelers visited San Diego during the holiday season in 2014.

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About Pavel Prikhodko

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Pavel Prikhodko, Ph.D. Machine Learning

Pavel has worked for many years as a researcher and developer on a wide range of applications (varying from mechanics and manufacturing to social data, finance and advertising), building predictive systems and trying to find stories that data can tell.

In his free time, he enjoys being with his family.

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