The Most Popular American Holiday

According to the Office of Personnel Management, the United States has a total of ten federal holidays. But which holiday among them is the most popular? Our research staff digs into the data to compile a popularity ranking of the American holidays. Our model uses Google search data and an aggregate of popular indicators. The findings below are neither academic nor scientific. 


#1 Christmas

Christmas is the world’s most popular holiday. This is also true for the United States where the holiday ranks no. 1 in our popularity index. Not only Christmas trounces other U.S. holidays in Google Search Trends, it also dominates every other measure that we have. According to the National Retail Federation, two thirds of all American consumers make their non-essential purchases during the holiday season. Also, over a billion Christmas cards are sent each year in the U.S. This does not include the tens of millions of e-cards. However, the true messages of Christmas aren't all lost as charitable giving peaks during the holiday season and churches are packed for Christmas Eve masses and services. Interestingly, Christmas is most popular in the Midwest and Bible Belt states. 

#2 Independence Day

Americans are known for their patriotism and deep love for their country. This is also reflected in our data as Independence Day (or Fourth of July) narrowly beats out Thanksgiving for the second spot in our popularity index. Other patriot holidays like Memorial Day also perform well in our rankings. On Independence Day, beaches and parks are packed with families enjoying a picnic or barbecue while waiting for the fireworks. Flag displaying and patriotic music are popular. According to the National Retail Federation, most Americans spend the holiday attending a celebratory event. Also, over 200 million pounds of firework are consumed annually on the Fourth of July. 

#10 Columbus Day

There are important holidays and then there are the other holidays. Columbus Day is one of the other holidays. With American view of Christopher Columbus being negatively revised in recent years, this holiday no longer carries anything of significance. Not surprisingly, it ranks dead last in everything we have looked into. Students and federal workers probably enjoy the day off, but that is really it. Other Hallmark holidays like Presidents Day have already surpassed Columbus Day in term of consumption. One should not be surprised if it will be purged from the list of federal holidays in the near future. 

Full Rankings

1. Christmas
2. Independence Day
3. Thanksgiving
4. New Year's Day
5. Memorial Day 
6. Veterans Day
7. Labor Day
8. Presidents Day
9. Martin Luther King Jr. Day
10. Columbus Day

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