2021 Holiday Trends and Tips From Associations

Americans are shopping, traveling, and getting together this holiday season. Associations have gathered data on the season’s trends—what to expect, and what to protect. Hint: Santa’s team is ready to fly—and so are a lot of Americans.

The holidays are here, and since associations always have a close eye on trends, it’s no surprise that many of them are sharing research and insights about the holidays and how to glide through them safely, while also making the most of them. Here are some wide-ranging observations.

Holiday Gifts and Travel

Americans who had to cancel getaways and get-togethers last year because of the pandemic are making up for lost time this holiday season, according to AAA. More than 109 million people—an almost 34 percent increase from 2020—will travel 50 miles or more as they hit the road, board airplanes, or take other transportation out of town between December 23 and January 2. That dramatic bounce back—27.7 million more people traveling—will bring this year’s numbers to 92 percent of 2019 levels. In addition, airlines will see a 184 percent increase from last year.

In the season of giving, most older adults plan to buy gifts for friends and family this year, according to AARP’s newest poll. More than eight-in-10 adults aged 50 and older plan to shop for gifts for a holiday or other sorts of observance. Children (74 percent) and grandchildren (53 percent) are their top gift recipients, followed by friends, siblings, other relatives, and parents.

Healthful Hints for Humans—and Pets

Here’s a nice morsel in a season famous for excess: The National Confectioners Association notes that not only are chocolate and cocoa products some of the tastiest holiday treats—they may also play a special role in the diet. Some types of dark chocolate and cocoa contain antioxidants called flavanols, which studies suggest may promote heart health.

While some chocolate may be good for humans, chocolate is not good for pets. The International Association of Fire Fighters recommends keeping chocolate, and these other holiday staples, away from pets: yeasted bread, grapes, onions, eggnog, nutmeg, holly, mistletoe, Christmas tree water, and tinsel.

A season filled with sweet treats is a good time to remember to take care of your teeth. The American Dental Association has some tips too:

  • Have a routine. Brush your teeth two times a day, for two minutes, and make sure to use a fluoride toothpaste that has earned the ADA Seal of Acceptance.
  • Choose carrots. Instead of reaching for another candy cane, take a cue from Rudolph and eat carrots.
  • Don’t forget the dentist! The holidays can be a busy time, but that doesn’t mean you can forget about your teeth. If you are due for a teeth cleaning or need work done, remember to visit your dentist soon.

Rudolph Is Cleared for Takeoff

This just in from the North Pole: Santa’s reindeer have been approved for their Christmas Eve flight, following a health checkup from Santa’s veterinarian. That sound you heard was a sigh of relief from children all around the world—and their parents.

Dr. José Arce, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association, visited the North Pole earlier this month to ensure that Santa’s team of nine reindeer were up-to-date on their vaccinations and paperwork, free of illness and injury, and healthy enough to make their annual trek around the globe. Remember to put out carrots and apple slices for the hardworking team!

The holidays always manage to endure, and it definitely seems like it’s time to celebrate with loved ones near and far. Here’s to a happy, safe, and joyous season.

(portarefortuna/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Lisa Boylan

By Lisa Boylan

Lisa Boylan is a senior editor of Associations Now. MORE

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