Statistically speaking

The Christmas (and Hanukkah) season has long been regarded as a morale booster among American citizens. But American consumers rarely consider the people who are behind the magic — namely firefighters, department store employees, and the U.S. Postal Service. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the men and women who make the holiday season possible:

Number of people treated in hospital emergency rooms for injuries related to holiday lights, decorations, and Christmas trees, annually: 10,800

Number of Christmas trees that cause structure fires in homes, annually: 360

Number of letters, packages, and cards the U.S. Postal Service delivered between Thanksgiving and Christmas in 2006: 20 billion

The gross earnings of Christmas tree farmers in 2006: $512 million

Increase in department store employees from November to December 2006: 40,600

Probability of having a white Christmas in Pittsburgh: 33 percent

Sources: U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, NFPA Christmas Tree Fires Report January 2005, Cornell University