Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas shopping guide (slightly outdated)

In December 1958, a Gallup Poll asked "If you could have your choice, what one present would you most like to have for Christmas?"  About 14% didn't know, said that there was nothing, or didn't answer.  About 7% named some kind of general improvement in their living standards ("lots of money," "a job"), and about 6% said a new house or apartment. Other popular choices: 

New car                                       14%
Clothing                                      11%
Large appliances (e. g., a stove)              8%
Electronics                                    7%
Furniture, home furnishings                    6%
Sporting/Hobby equipment                       4%
Jewelery                                       2%
Small appliances (e. g., sewing machine)       2%
Vacation, trip                                 2%

What struck me was how practical most people were.  Even most of the things I've counted as sporting/hobby equipment might have some practical value--the group includes 27 people who said "tools," compared to two who said golf clubs.  "Jewelery" includes 24 who wanted a watch, compared to only two who wanted a bracelet, and one who wanted pearls.  Of course, there were a few dreamers:  one person want an airplane. 

People were also remarkably centered on their homes.  No one mentioned anything related to dining out or entertainment, except for five who said "a good meal."

This question, or similar ones, have been asked a few times since then, but I haven't looked at them in enough detail to compare them. 

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