Key Findings

  • Americans are predicted to spend $16.2 billion on holiday decorations in 2021
  • On average, Americans spend seven hours decorating their home for the holidays
  • In New Hampshire, people spend the longest on holiday decorations—17 hours
  • People in Stamford, CT spend 21 hours sprucing up their homes for the holiday season, more than any other metropolitan area
  • Men spend 52% more time decorating their homes than women
  • Gen X holiday decoration efforts last an average of nine hours, longer than any other generation

In America, we love decorating our homes for the holidays. So much so, we’re about to spend $63 each and $16.2 billion as a nation on holiday decorations in 2021—the biggest amount in 15 years.

In an attempt to create a holiday atmosphere and brighten up the home for our families ( and, let’s be honest, impress the neighbors), many Americans are going all out on their holiday decorations, whether it’s Kwanzaa, Chanukah, or of course, Christmas. 

A Culture of Competition

Some neighborhoods in the U.S., like Dyker Heights in Brooklyn or Peacock Lane in Portland, have been cultivating the reputation for exuberant holiday lights for years; and they’re not letting up. ABC’s seasonal reality show “Christmas Light Fight”, where families across the country compete for the title of the best-decorated home, has been going for eight seasons (and is back for its 9th this year).

An average American, on the other hand, spends about seven hours decorating their home for the holidays, according to the American Time Use Survey.

Outside the famous holiday light streets, where do Americans spend the most time getting their homes ready for the holidays? In which states and cities do people make the most effort to decorate their homes, inside and out?

New Hampshire Knows How to Decorate: Top States by Holiday Decoration Effort

Among the states, it wasn’t much of a contest, because people in the state of New Hampshire spend an average of 17 hours decorating their home for the holidays—by far more than any other state.

People in the closest pursuant state, Iowa, put just shy of 12 hours into sprucing up their dwellings for the holiday season. In four other states folks spend between 10 and 11 hours.

  • Minnesota (10 hours, 48 minutes)
  • Virginia (10 hours, 33 minutes)
  • Vermont (10 hours, 27minutes)
  • Connecticut (10 hours, 12 minutes)

With eight hours and 23 minutes apiece, the Midwestern states of Illinois and Wisconsin complete the top 10.

The figures above refer to the total time spent on cleaning and decorating the home, both inside and outside. It’s worth noting that when we look at the time spent decorating inside the home on its own, New Hampshire still leads with nine hours and 48 minutes, with Iowa and Virginia close behind. 

However, when it comes to decorating outside the home (e.g., putting up Christmas lights), Connecticut takes the top spot. In the Nutmeg State, people spend an average of seven hours and 36 minutes putting up exterior decorations—18 minutes more than in New Hampshire.

It’s a Connecticut Christmas: America’s Holiday Decoration Capitals

Among American metropolitan areas, one emerges as the clear winner in terms of time spent decorating home for the holidays.

In Hartford-West Hartford, CT, people spend 21 hours 20 minutes on decoration, of which 20 hours goes on decorating the home’s exterior. 

Those in Cedar Rapids-Iowa City, IA clock in their holiday prep time at 18 hours, but a lion’s share of that time 17.5 hours is spent decorating indoors. 

Two other Midwestern metro areas crack the top 10, this time in Wisconsin : Appleton-Oshkosh-Neenah, WI (11 hours) and Milwaukee-Racine-Waukesha, WI (10 hours 48 minutes).

Washington-Baltimore-Northern Virginia, DC-MD-VA-WV – the metropolitan area with one of America’s streets most famous for holiday lights, 34th Street in Baltimore – has people putting in nine hours and 36 minutes on making their homes holiday-ready.

Texas and Florida may not get snow and cold weather for the holidays, but they sure have plenty of holiday spirit. People living around the Sunshine State and the Lone Star State put enough work in their holiday decor to land them in our top 15.

Everybody Does Their Part: Time Spent Decorating by Demographic

Throughout the year, it’s women who report still doing most of their housework, but the situation appears to shift around holidays. Men report spending 55% more time than women on sprucing their homes up for the holiday season. Between decorating the interior and the exterior of their homes, men put in about seven hours 48 minutes, compared to women’s five hours 12 minutes. 

Across generations, members of Gen X are the most dedicated holiday decorators in the nation, clocking in at exactly nine hours they put in during the holiday season.

Millennials (i.e., those aged between 25 and 40) spend eight hours 12 minutes; that’s just six minutes more than their frequent rivals Baby Boomers (55+), whose total tally for holiday decorations is at eight hours and six minutes.

Members of the youngest generation—Gen Z or “Zoomers”—tend to put in six hours 48 minutes into prepping their homes for the holiday season. This is likely due to the fact that Gen Z Americans are more likely to live at home with their parents, where they share the responsibility for home decor with their parents.

Sources and Methodology

The data was taken from the American Time Use Survey, as available on IPUMS, for the years 2016-2020. 

Time spent on holiday decorations was deemed as the time recorded under “Interior Arrangement, Decoration” and “Exterior Improvements and Decoration” for the month of December, where most of the decorating activities take place. Time estimates for metropolitan areas were from the data that American Time Use Survey details for 70 of the biggest metropolitan areas in the United States.

Image Credits

Header Photo by Steven Van Elk on Unsplash  

Second Photo by Wonderlane on Unsplash

Third Photo by Lynda Hinton on Unsplash