Interesting numbers

A glance at the calendar shows that there’s about a week left until Christmas, and that means the race is on for all of those last-minute items that we always find that we need.

If you’re like most area residents, you’ve likely set a budget for your holiday spending. And, if you’re like most area residents, it’s likely that you will spend at least a little bit more than you originally intended.

According to the National Retail Federation, that average spending total is expected to reach $967 per person. That number, the NRF said, is up about 3.4 percent over last year and up 20 percent during the past two years.

Residents in our area are not too off from the average, according to WalletHub, the Washington, D.C.-based personal finance website. Pittsburgh is ranked 165 in WalletHub’s listing of 570 cities across the United States, with a projected average expenditure of $816, which is not too far behind Columbus, which ranks 128th with an average number of $898.

That number puts the Tri-State Area significantly above communities in the region. Akron, for instance, stands at 515th, with average spending of $409 person.

Canton checks in at 543rd, with average spending of $323 per person, and Youngstown settles in at 546th, with average spending of $306 per person.

Cleveland is No. 561 at $247 per person.

The listing covers a wide range, with Naperville, Ill., having the largest average at $2,381 per person, and Flint, Mich., the lowest at $69 per person.

Those are interesting numbers to consider as you check that list one final time before Christmas Eve.

¯ With Christmas right round the corner, New Year’s Eve is not that far off. And if you’re already starting to think about how you will welcome 2018, WalletHub offers some interesting numbers.

It should come as no surprise that New York City is ranked as the best city out of the 100 studied to celebrate New Year’s Eve. The rankings were compiled using a formula that included 25 indicators, including the average price of a ticket to a New Year’s Eve party to the average precipitation and temperature forecast.

Again, our region rates OK. Pittsburgh is 28th on the list, Columbus 48th and Cleveland 51st.

At the bottom of the list is North Las Vegas.

If you’re not planning to go out on Dec. 31, you are not alone — the numbers show that 49 percent of Americans plan to celebrate New Year’s Eve at home and 18 percent plan to celebrate at the home of a friend. And if you have no plans to celebrate, you’re among 23 percent of Americans. None of that should be surprising, considering that New Year’s Eve (at 41 percent) is the least favorite of the four top holidays, finishing behind Christmas (78 percent), Thanksgiving (74 percent) and Independence Day (47 percent)

The totals include WalletHub projections as well as numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Safety Council, the National Insurance Crime Bureau, CBS Interactive, Dow Jones and Co., the Times Square District Management Association,, Brandman University, the University of Scranton and other reports.

As you would expect, there’s an awful lot of sparkling wine consumed on Dec. 31 — 360 million glasses, in fact. That number can lead to some bad consequences — the average blood-alcohol content for drivers stopped on New Year’s Eve is 0.094, which is the highest number of any night of the year.

And, while 67 percent of Americans say they will make a New Year’s resolution, 61 percent say they will say a prayer on New Year’s Eve.

The thought here is that after all we have gone through in the last 365 days, that number will be higher this year.

(Gallabrese, a resident of Steubenville, is executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)