Hobson's christmas choice

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The Independent Culture
Percentage of British consumers who do their Christmas shopping in October: 19

Number, out of every 10 toys imported into Europe, which are made in small or medium-sized toy factories in China: 7

Average number of shoppers, a day, in Harrods throughout the year: 35,000

Average number of shoppers, a day, in Harrods in December: 200,000

Percentage of the annual turnover of Tiffany's in Bond Street, London, transacted during the Christmas period: 40

Number of changing rooms in the original Marks & Spencer stores - the reason for its current 'no questions asked' refund policy: 0

Hours of free parking per month near Selfridges in London given, as a loyalty bonus, to customers who accrue 3,000 points on their store cards (by spending pounds 3,000): 2

Average individual festive-season spend in the UK, according to Switch: pounds 725

Chances that someone in the UK will spend more than pounds 1,000 on Christmas: 1 in 3

Amount one saves by using Co-op Advantage credit card, rather than Barclaycard, if one spends pounds 1,000 on presents and leaves the purchases on the card for a year: pounds 80

Minimum multiple of the bank base interest rate charged on an unauthorised Citibank overdraft: 6

Percentage of New Year's resolutions pledging to organise the individual's personal finances properly: 23

Amount the Royal Bank of Scotland's cash machines issued on 19 December last year: pounds 34m

Amount the Royal Bank of Scotland's cash machine at Liverpool Street station, London, issued last December: pounds 1.29m

Percentage by which the price of a television advertising slot rises in December: 20

Amount spent in UK a year on videos, 45 per cent of which are sold in December: pounds 700m

Annual worth of British chocolate industry, 11 per cent of which comes from specialised Christmas confectionery: pounds 3.6bn

Worth of the variety packs Cadbury's expects to sell this Christmas: pounds 160m

Date of the first nationwide mistletoe survey, conducted by the Botanical Society of the British Isles, which found that the plant's natural home was the traditional apple-growing areas of Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire: 1969-1970

Percentage of apple orchards lost in the worst-hit British counties since the Seventies, prompting a sizeable increase in the amount of mistletoe imported from France: 90

Number of reindeer for every square kilometre of the Norwegian Arctic: 20

Tonnes of reindeer meat eaten annually in the Arctic: 14,000

Multiple of the average Briton's radiation intake that reindeer herders take in by eating their livestock, as a result of the build up of isotopes in Arctic lichen - the reindeer's staple diet - since the Cold War nuclear tests of the Fifties and Sixties: 300

Amount a Christmas card from Diana, Princess of Wales fetched at a charity auction of items from the Royal Yacht Britannia: pounds 4,000

Amount a Christmas card from the Prince of Wales sold for at a charity auction of items from the Royal Yacht Britannia: pounds 650

Number of Christmas cards sent in Britain: 1.7bn

Tons of wrapping paper used at Christmas in Britain: 8,000

Number of trees felled to provide paper for Britain's Christmas cards and wrapping paper: 250,000

Ratio of paper consumed each year in the world by the richest 5th of the population, to that consumed by the poorest 5th: 76:1

Number of pine trees sold in Britain every year: 5.25 million

Shortest number of years Christmas trees take to grow: 9

Average number of sapling Christmas trees stolen a year from Jamie Dewhurst's nursery in Farnham, Surrey: 7,500

Percentage by which thefts in Regent Street rise in December: 50

Fine which Swindon Borough Council threatened to impose last year on its workers - teachers, dustmen, home helps - if they accepted Christmas tips: pounds 2,500

Estimated number of people in Britain who will work on Christmas Day: 2.5 million

Maximum length of shifts for Santas employed by the Children's Christmas Company, which puts fully staffed grottoes in Hamleys and shopping centres such as Brent Cross: 4

Length, in days, of the course offered by the Charles W Howard Santa Claus School in Michigan, coaching prospective Father Christmases in voice training, dress etiquette and how to avoid charges of harassment by observing the "no fondling" rule: 3

Number of letters sent to Father Christmas, care of Reindeerland, last year: 750,000

SOURCES: Spectator, Guardian, Independent, The UN Human Development Programme, London Magazine, BATR, Daily Mail, Time Out, Irish Times

SOURCES: Spectator, Guardian, Independent, The UN Human Development Programme, London Magazine, BATR, Daily Mail, Time Out, Irish Times

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