Portrait Of Friends In Festive Jumpers At Christmas Party

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NEW YORK — This holiday season is sure to be a big one, as new data reveals that Americans who are celebrating this winter will be busy — traveling to over 10 gatherings this year.

That’s according to a survey of 2,000 adults who celebrate a winter holiday, which reveals that most Americans are celebrating Christmas Day (70%), Christmas Eve (65%), and Thanksgiving (62%). They’ll also celebrate each holiday an average of two separate times. Others are celebrating New Year’s Eve (33%), Kwanzaa (32%), New Year’s Day (30%), and Friendsgiving (30%). 

Among the survey respondents, the data shows Americans celebrate New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day two times each, Friendsgiving twice, and Kwanzaa three times. This brings the total number of American holiday celebrations to over 10 each year.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Motel 6, the survey aimed to uncover how Americans are celebrating the upcoming holiday season — whether it be away from home, with family, or for some much-needed R&R. 

Results also show that more than four in five (84%) of respondents plan to travel for at least some holidays this year. In fact, over half (52%) are traveling more than last year and only 10 percent of respondents aren’t planning to travel at all this season. This may be because nearly nine in 10 (85%) say the joy of traveling to be with friends and family during the holidays outweighs the challenges of travel.

Infographic on a survey about which winter holidays people will celebrate.

Respondents are planning to get to their holiday destinations by plane (63%), train (53%), driving (48%), walking (41%), or rideshares such as Uber or taxi (39%). 

When it comes to lodging, most respondents are staying with either their siblings (51%) or at their parents’ house (51%). Almost two in five (39%) are planning to stay in a hotel with others, and 26 percent are staying in one alone.

Additionally, six in 10 plan to take their furry friends along for their holiday journey this year. That’s up from 22 percent in a 2022 survey that polled the same demographic.

The excitement of a busy holiday season and family gatherings can sometimes cause social batteries to run out, which may be why the average American looks forward to alone time just four hours into a holiday, while nearly one in five (19%) says it only takes between one to two hours.

While over half (55%) are planning to celebrate the holidays on the day itself, 55 percent are also looking forward to the days leading up to the holiday and even a few days after (49%). 

Of those who are choosing to celebrate on a different day, the most common reasons for this are to accommodate everyone’s schedules (52%), save money (48%), celebrate with both sides of the family (47%), and even to celebrate with friends first and then with family (39%).

“The number of holiday occasions seems to be higher than ever before, so it’s no surprise Americans are planning to hit the road more than last year for their holiday celebrations,” says spokesperson Julie Arrowsmith, President and CEO of Motel 6 and Studio 6, in a statement. “And despite the hustle, bustle, and travel of the holiday season, it’s always memorable to spend time and make new memories with loved ones near and far.”

This year, more than four in five (83%) respondents say the current economic climate will impact how they celebrate the holidays. For many, this means reducing the number of gifts they’re giving (65%), changing their approach to gifting (56%), and finding more affordable lodging (55%).

However, that doesn’t mean respondents aren’t looking forward to gifts. This year, they’re hoping to receive electronics (66%), experiences like concerts or sporting events (57%), clothing and accessories (56%), and even cash or money (47%).

In fact, 66 percent of respondents would appreciate a cash gift now more than they did when they were a child. If given $500 cash or a check as a holiday gift, many respondents would use it for an experience (59%). 

“The holidays are meant to prioritize time together, so don’t let travel, costs or logistics get in the way of your gatherings,” adds Arrowsmith, “Opting for budget-friendly lodging is a great way to keep expenses minimal so that travelers can focus on time with friends and family and worry less about travel costs.”

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 general population Americans who celebrate a winter holiday was commissioned by Motel 6 between September 25 and September 27, 2023. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

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