Christmas: What It Means To America By The Numbers

Christmas: perhaps the most celebrated holiday in the US, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, gender, or any other background characteristic. At least, according to a recent Pew study which found that nine-in-ten Americans say they celebrate Christmas, and three-quarters say they believe in the virgin birth of Jesus. But only about half see Christmas mostly as a religious holiday, while one-third view it as more of a cultural holiday. Virtually all Christians (96%) celebrate Christmas, and two-thirds see it as a religious holiday. More surprisingly, fully eight-in-ten non-Christians in America also celebrate Christmas, but most view it as a cultural holiday rather than a religious occasion.

christmas2013-1

 

The findings are less surprising when Pew looked into how Americans celebrate the holiday: 86% of U.S. adults say they intend to gather with family and friends on Christmas this year, and an identical number say they plan to buy gifts for friends and family. Roughly nine-in-ten adults say these activities typically were part of their holiday celebrations when they were growing up.

 

christmas2013-2

 

Something has changed with the passage of time, however: fewer Americans say they will send Christmas or holiday cards this year than say their families typically did this when they were children. The share of people who plan to go caroling this year also is lower than the share who say they typically did so as children. And while about seven-in-ten Americans say they typically attended Christmas Eve or Christmas Day religious services when they were children, 54% say they plan to attend Christmas services this year.

There are significant generational differences in the way Americans plan to celebrate Christmas this year, with younger adults less likely than older adults to incorporate religious elements into their holiday celebrations. Adults under age 30 are far less likely than older Americans to say they see Christmas as more of a religious than a cultural holiday. They are also less likely to attend Christmas religious services and to believe in the virgin birth. This is consistent with other research showing that younger Americans are helping to drive the growth of the religiously unaffiliated population within the U.S. But the new survey also shows that even among Christians, young people are more likely than older adults to view Christmas as more of a cultural than a religious holiday.

One-in-five adults say they are the parent or guardian of a child in their household who currently believes in Santa Claus. An additional 14% of Americans are parents or guardians of at least one child under the age of 18 but say their children do not believe in Santa Claus. (About two-thirds of Americans are not the parents or guardians of any children in their household.) Nearly six-in-ten Hispanics say they are parenting minor children in their homes, including 38% who have children who believe in Santa Claus. By comparison, fewer blacks and whites say they currently have Santa-believing children (21% and 15%, respectively), in part because blacks and whites are less likely than Hispanics to have minor children in the home.

Among those who have a child who believes in Santa Claus, seven-in-ten (69%) say they plan to pretend that Santa visits their house on Christmas Eve this year. But even among U.S. adults without a child who believes in Santa, sizable numbers plan on receiving a visit from Old St. Nick. Roughly one-in-five parents whose children do not believe in Santa (18%) say they will pretend to get a visit from Santa this year, as do 22% of those who are not the parents or guardians of minor children in their household.

christmas2013-11

Other highlights from the survey:

  • Among the religiously unaffiliated, 87% say they celebrate Christmas, including 68% who view Christmas as more of a cultural holiday.
  • Roughly eight-in-ten Americans (79%) say they plan to put up a Christmas tree this year. By comparison, 92% say they typically put up a Christmas tree when they were children.
  • Nearly six-in-ten Americans say they plan to give homemade gifts this holiday season, such as baked goods or crafts. There is a big gender gap on this question; two-thirds of women (65%) plan to give homemade gifts, compared with 51% of men.
  • Those who celebrate Christmas as more of a religious event are much more apt than those who view it as a cultural occasion to say they will attend religious services this Christmas (73% vs. 30%) and to believe in the virgin birth (91% vs. 50%). But on other measures, the differences in the ways the two groups will mark the holidays are much smaller. Roughly nine-in-ten in both groups will gather with family and friends and buy gifts this Christmas, and identical shares of each group will pretend to get a visit from Santa Claus on Christmas Eve (33% each).

And some of the findings in detail:

What do Americans look forward to the most and lest in Christmas:

christmas2013-4

 

More religious or cultural:

christmas2013-5

 

Will there be a Christmas tree?

christmas2013-13

 

Who is buying gifts:

 

christmas2013-9

Was Jesus born of a virgin?

 

christmas2013-7

 

Instead of just purchasing gifts, how many actually prepare them:

 

christmas2013-10

 

How many are gathering with the family?

christmas2013-8

Source: Pew Research


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/GGbmCb3Tpog/story01.htm Tyler Durden

Why are so many laws and rules being thrown out?

 

The biggest problem facing investors today is that “the rules” of the game change almost every year.

 

What I mean is that any basic rule investors took for granted could be thrown out the window. Indeed, in the last five years we’ve seen:

 

1)   Accounting standards at financial institutions suspended.

2)   Capital requirements for banks (Basel III) postponed multiple times.

3)   Fraud go unpunished.

4)   Obvious insider trading amongst political officials and banking insiders.

5)   Central bankers openly admit that they will lie to investors.

 

Why are so many laws and rules being thrown out?

 

The Powers That Be are committed to propping the system up by any means possible.

 

Consider Spain.

 

Spain’s banking system, by any reasonable analysis, is totally bankrupt.

 

The reason for this is that Spanish banks are all packed to the brim with garbage assets (mortgage loans and Spanish Government bonds… which aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on).

 

Consider the story of Bankia.

 

Bankia was formed by merging seven bankrupt regional Spanish banks in 2010.

 

The new bank was funded by Spain’s Government rescue fund… which received “preference shares” in return for over €4 billion (from taxpayers).

 

These preference shares were shares that a) yielded 7.75% and b) would get paid before ordinary investors if Bankia failed again. So right away, the Spanish Government was taking taxpayer money to give itself preferential treatment over ordinary investors.

 

Indeed, those investors who owned shares in the seven banks that merged to form Bankia lost their shirts. They were wiped out and lost everything.

 

Bankia was then taken public in 2011. Spanish investment bankers convinced the Spanish public that the bank was a fantastic investment. Over 98% of the shares were sold to Spanish investors.

 

One year later, Bankia was bankrupt again, and required the single largest bailout in Spain’s history: €19 billion. Spain took over the bank and Bankia shares were frozen on the market (meaning you couldn’t sell them if you wanted to).

 

When the bailout took place, Bankia shareholders were all but wiped out, forced to take huge losses as part of the deal. The vast majority of them were individual investors (the bank currently faces a lawsuit for over 140,000 claims of mis-selling shares).

 

So that’s two wipeouts in as many years.

 

The bank was taken public a year a second time later in May 2013. Once again Bankia shares promptly collapsed, losing 80% of their value in a matter of days. And once again, it was ordinary investors who got destroyed.

 

Indeed, things were so awful that a police officer stabbed a Bankia banker who sold him over €300,000 worth of shares (the banker had convinced him it was a great investment).

 

Which brings us to today.

 

Bankia remains completely bankrupt. But its executives and the Spanish Government continue to claim that things are improving and that the bank is on the up and up. Indeed, just a few weeks ago, the Wall Street Journal wrote an article titled “Investors Show Interest in Bankia.”

 

The story featured a quote from Spain’s Finance Minister that, “… it is logical. The perception of Spain has improved and Banki has improved a lot.”

 

Bear in mind, this is a bank that has wiped out investors THREE times in the last THREE YEARS. So that’s three different rounds of individual investors being told that Bankia was a great investment and losing everything.

 

Every single one of these wipeouts was preceded by both bankers and Spanish Government officials claiming that “everything had been fixed” and that Bankia was a success story.

 

And now the Spanish Government is trying to convince them to line up for a fourth round.

 

This kind of fraud and lawlessness is unbelievable to me. But it is indeed how the world works today. Those who have power will do anything they can to retain it. This includes, lying, cheating, and stealing.

 

And while certain items relating to this story are unique, the morals to Bankia’s tale can be broadly applied across the board to the economy/ financial today.

 

Those morals are:

 

1)   Those in charge of regulating the system will lie, cheat and steal rather than be honest to those who they are meant to protect (individual investors)

2)   Any financial problem that surfaces will be dealt with via fraud or lies rather than taking a hit. This will include short selling bans, stocks being frozen, bail-ins, and worse.

3)   When the inevitable collapse finally does hit, it will be individual investors and the general public who get screwed.

 

For a FREE Special Report outlining how to profit from bear market crashes and bull market runs, swing by: http://phoenixcapitalmarketing.com/special-reports.html

 

Best Regards

Phoenix Capital Research 

 


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/kilQQFdWBZU/story01.htm Phoenix Capital Research

PTC finds funds for repairs to cart paths, roads

No tax increase necessary as new revenue boosts city’s bottom line

Peachtree City’s financial planners have figured out a way to plug the needed $1.5 million in road and cart path funding into the budget for future fiscal years without needing a commensurate property tax increase

read more

via The Citizen http://www.thecitizen.com/articles/12-25-2013/ptc-finds-funds-repairs-cart-paths-roads

2014-15 school calendar: Start early, end early

Those with school-age children wanting to get a jump planning vacations for the next two years can forge ahead with those plans. The Fayette County Board of Education last week approved the school calendar for 2014 with school starting Aug. 7, 2014, and ending May 22, 2015.

School system officials had more than 1,000 people respond to the two calendars previously posted on the website. Superintendent Jody Barrow said the best features of both proposed calendars were combined.

Effective for the next two school years, the 180-day calendar has school beginning on Thursday, Aug. 7.

read more

via The Citizen http://www.thecitizen.com/articles/12-25-2013/2014-15-school-calendar-start-early-end-early

Fayette’s delayed stormwater bills mailed last week

Unincorporated property owners will be getting their stormwater bills this year after all. Originally set to bill in June, they were mailed last week.

The process had been on hold since the summer because of the hope that the countywide core infrastructure sales tax would be approved in November, but it failed at the polls. County commissioners had pledged that if the tax was approved, they would stop collecting the annual stormwater fees for four years.

read more

via The Citizen http://www.thecitizen.com/articles/12-25-2013/fayette%E2%80%99s-delayed-stormwater-bills-mailed-last-week

Getting the right fit for Christmas

Fayette County deputy and Sandy Creek High School School Resource Officer Manny Rojas joined Sheriff Barry Babb and a host of deputies in treating 30 local children to the “Shop with the Sheriff” outing held Dec. 21 at the Walmart store in Fayetteville. Here Deputy Rojas checks a potential gift for size on the young man soon to be wearing the gift. Photo/Ben Nelms.

via The Citizen http://www.thecitizen.com/articles/12-25-2013/getting-right-fit-christmas

Cabin fever was setting in… needed a break from the family madness. Gym all to myself, Christmas pump coming up!

@hooper_fit

Cabin fever was setting in… needed a break from the family madness. Gym all to myself, Christmas pump coming up!

LIKES: 9  COMMENTS:2

tags#merrysweatfest,#gymjunkie,#gymlife,#fitfam,#selfie,#fitlife,#lululemon,#addiction,#christmas,#girlswithmuscle,

»WEBSTAGRAM

from @hooper_fit RSS | Webstagram http://web.stagram.com/p/619018679879204689_508185510
via IFTTT

3 Things To Ponder Over Christmas

Submitted by Lance Roberts of STA Wealth Management,

 


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/gWFad6Om1f0/story01.htm Tyler Durden

F’ville Councilman Walt White retires after 25 years

It has been 25 years since Fayetteville City Councilman Walt White was sworn in for the first time. One of two of the longest-serving council members in Fayette County, White declined to run this time around and will be ending his quarter-century on the council at the end of December.

Looking back over the years, White served during the time when Fayetteville was being transformed from a more rural town into the suburban city that exists today.

read more

via The Citizen http://www.thecitizen.com/articles/12-25-2013/f%E2%80%99ville-councilman-walt-white-retires-after-25-years

Workers we have seen on high

These employees from Fayette County’s public works department installed lighting on the historic Fayette County Courthouse in downtown Fayetteville last week. From their high (and precarious) perch they got an up-close look at the facility’s iconic clock tower. Photo/John Munford.

via The Citizen http://www.thecitizen.com/articles/12-24-2013/workers-we-have-seen-high