The Grinchiest Cities in the U.S. [2023]

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FinanceBuzz looked at more than a dozen factors to determine which of America’s biggest cities have the most and least Christmas cheer this holiday season.
Updated Dec. 7, 2023
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While 88% of Americans* celebrate the Christmas holiday, not everyone is happy about it. Between cold temperatures, early sunsets, and holiday shopping stress, there are plenty of people who feel a bit Grinchy this time of year.

So which cities across the country are the Grinchiest of all? And which cities are overflowing with Christmas cheer? Our team analyzed 50 of the biggest U.S. cities and evaluated them across nearly two dozen metrics to help measure the spirit of the season.

In this article

Key findings

  • San Antonio is the Grinchiest city in the U.S.
  • Minneapolis is the U.S. city with the most holiday spirit.
  • Oklahoma City, Phoenix, Houston, Memphis, and Las Vegas, have the fewest holiday events and festivals among major cities in the U.S.
  • Miami locals volunteer the least of any major city. Miami residents also donate to charity the least.

The Grinchiest cities in the U.S. this holiday season

A red and green map of the U.S. highlighting the "Grinchiest" cities in the country.

1. San Antonio, TX

  • Number of holiday events and festivals per 100K: 44.6
  • Number of holiday markets per 100K: 2.9
  • Percentage of the population that donates to charity annually: 43.1%
    • Holiday score: 32.7/100

On a per capita basis, the number of holiday events available to San Antonio residents is among the lowest in the country. It has just 45 events for every 100,000 residents. That’s over 75% less than the national average, which is 185 events per 100,000 people.

2. Jacksonville, FL

  • Number of holiday events and festivals per 100K: 41.4
  • Number of holiday markets per 100K: 1.6
  • Percentage of the population that donates to charity annually: 48.0%
    • Holiday score: 33.7/100

Jacksonville has even fewer holiday events per capita than San Antonio, and fewer holiday markets. But higher rates of charitable giving and volunteering keep it from being named the Grinchiest city of all.

3. San Diego, CA

  • Number of holiday events and festivals per 100K: 80.9
  • Number of holiday markets per 100K: 1.3
  • Percentage of the population that donates to charity annually: 53.5%
    • Holiday score: 34.8/100

San Diego’s Google searches are a big part of why it’s among the Grinchiest in the country. San Diegans’ search volume for positive terms such as “Christmas party,” “Christmas festival,” and “Christmas dinner” is among the lowest in the country.

4. Oklahoma City, OK

  • Number of holiday events and festivals per 100K: 20.3
  • Number of holiday markets per 100K: 0.6
  • Percentage of the population that donates to charity annually: 50.7%
    • Holiday score: 35.2/100

No city has fewer holiday events per capita than Oklahoma City, and only Las Vegas and Memphis have fewer holiday markets relative to population size.

5. Louisville, KY

  • Number of holiday events and festivals per 100K: 56.9
  • Number of holiday markets per 100K: 0.8
  • Percentage of the population that donates to charity annually: 64.6%
    • Holiday score: 35.4/100

Despite the fact that nearly two-thirds of the population donate to charity, the low number of food banks and homeless shelters in Louisville are big reasons why the city ranks so high on our Grinchiest cities list this year.

6. Virginia Beach, VA

  • Number of holiday events and festivals per 100K: 112.2
  • Number of holiday markets per 100K: 2.7
  • Percentage of the population that donates to charity annually: 52.1%
    • Holiday score: 36.3/100

Holiday “jeer” lands Virginia Beach in our top ten, as the city’s search volume for “I hate Christmas” is the second-highest in the nation. Virginia Beach also ranks first in search volume for “bah humbug.”

7. Los Angeles, CA

  • Number of holiday events and festivals per 100K: 67.6
  • Number of holiday markets per 100K: 2.3
  • Percentage of the population that donates to charity annually: 47.2%
    • Holiday score: 36.4/100

The City of Angels is not so angelic when it comes to volunteering. Less than a quarter of Angelinos — just 24.1% — volunteer their time annually to help other people. That is one of the five lowest rates in the country.

8. Chicago, IL

  • Number of holiday events and festivals per 100K: 68.5
  • Number of holiday markets per 100K: 2.3
  • Percentage of the population that donates to charity annually: 55.7%
    • Holiday score: 36.5/100

Chicago has the second-fewest toy stores relative to population size, at just 3.3 stores for every 100,000 people. It also has the fewest shopping centers and malls per capita, at 4.3 per 100,000.

9. New York, NY

  • Number of holiday events and festivals per 100K: 55.4
  • Number of holiday markets per 100K: 1.6
  • Percentage of the population that donates to charity annually: 49.4%
    • Holiday score: 36.8/100

Finding a fresh Christmas tree in the Big Apple can be tough. NYC has the lowest rate of tree lots and farms per capita of any city in the country, at just 0.3 per 100,000 people. The city also has fewer holiday decoration shops than any other city — just 0.6 shops per 100,000 people.

10. Memphis, TN

  • Number of holiday events and festivals per 100K: 37.2
  • Number of holiday markets per 100K: 0.3
  • Percentage of the population that donates to charity annually: 55.6%
    • Holiday score: 36.9/100

Memphis is tied with Las Vegas as the city with the fewest holiday markets per capita, at just 0.3 per 100,000 people.

The jolliest cities in the U.S. this holiday season

A red and green map of the U.S. highlighting the jolliest cities in the country.

1. Minneapolis, MN

  • Number of holiday events and festivals per 100K: 139.9
  • Number of holiday markets per 100K: 3.1
  • Percentage of the population that donates to charity annually: 62.1%
    • Holiday score: 71.2/100

Nearly half of Minneapolis residents, over 46%, volunteer annually. That’s the highest rate of any city in the country. Minneapolis is also in the top-five for the number of food banks per 100,000 people (9.0).

2. Hartford, CT

  • Number of holiday events and festivals per 100K: 179.5
  • Number of holiday markets per 100K: 13.9
  • Percentage of the population that donates to charity annually: 43.8%
    • Holiday score: 67.0/100

Hartford has one of the highest rates of holiday events and festivals in the country, as well as a high number of holiday markets and skating rinks. All of these factors help make Hartford the second-jolliest city in America.

3. Riverside, CA

  • Number of holiday events and festivals per 100K: 933.5
  • Number of holiday markets per 100K: 3.4
  • Percentage of the population that donates to charity annually: 39.9%
    • Holiday score: 61.7/100

No city boasts more holiday events and festivals relative to population size than Riverside, California. With more than 900 events per 100,000 people, Riverside is comfortably ahead of every other city in this regard.

Riverside’s closest competitor, Buffalo, New York, comes in second, with around 600 events per 100,000 people.

4. Atlanta, GA

  • Number of holiday events and festivals per 100K: 225.0
  • Number of holiday markets per 100K: 7.0
  • Percentage of the population that donates to charity annually: 50.6%
    • Holiday score: 61.5/100

Atlanta is a Christmas shopper’s paradise. The city boasts more than 30 shopping centers (34.9) and department stores (33.3) per 100,000 people, which lands ATL in the top 10 for both these shopping-related metrics.

5. Pittsburgh, PA

  • Number of holiday events and festivals per 100K: 175.2
  • Number of holiday markets per 100K: 6.0
  • Percentage of the population that donates to charity annually: 60.0%
    • Holiday score: 61.4/100

Pittsburgh has some of the most holiday-centric search histories in the country. The city has a high search volume for terms like “Christmas party” and “Christmas festival.”

6. Orlando, FL

  • Number of holiday events and festivals per 100K: 409.4
  • Number of holiday markets per 100K: 14.0
  • Percentage of the population that donates to charity annually: 37.0%
    • Holiday score: 61.4/100

Despite just 37% of Orlando residents donating to charity (the second-lowest rate in the country), the city still has enough holiday festivals and events (409) and holiday markets (14) per 100,000 people to rank as one of the jolliest cities in the U.S.

7. Buffalo, NY

  • Number of holiday events and festivals per 100K: 593.4
  • Number of holiday markets per 100K: 27.0
  • Percentage of the population that donates to charity annually: 74.1%
    • Holiday score: 60.9/100

No city is more generous than Buffalo — nearly three-quarters of residents donate to charity annually. Buffalo also has more holiday markets per capita than any other city on our list.

8. Providence, RI

  • Number of holiday events and festivals per 100K: 73.5
  • Number of holiday markets per 100K: 4.5
  • Percentage of the population that donates to charity annually: 59.3%
    • Holiday score: 60.5/100

Providence ranks in the top five when it comes to its number of skating rinks (39). It also ranks well for its number of holiday decoration shops (9.5) and Christmas tree lots (32.9) per 100,000 people.

9. Salt Lake City, UT

  • Number of holiday events and festivals per 100K: 120.9
  • Number of holiday markets per 100K: 5.0
  • Percentage of the population that donates to charity annually: 65.0%
    • Holiday score: 60.3/100

Nearly two out of every three Salt Lake City residents donate to charity, while 45% volunteer their time annually. Both of those rates are among the five highest in the country.

10. Cincinnati, OH

  • Number of holiday events and festivals per 100K: 232.6
  • Number of holiday markets per 100K: 7.3
  • Percentage of the population that donates to charity annually: 60.0%
    • Holiday score: 59.9/100

Cincinnati has a high number of holiday events and festivals relative to its population size, with more than 230 events per 100,000 people. The Queen City also boasts some of the highest concentrations in the country of toy stores (17) and shopping centers (35) per 100,000 people.

Cities with the most and least number of holiday events and festival

While every major U.S. city has holiday events and festivals, some places have more than others.

A graphic listing the cities in the U.S. with the most and least holiday events and festivals per 100,000 people.


Riverside, California easily outpaces every other city in the country, with more than 900 holiday celebrations per 100,000 citizens. That is over 33% more than the second-place city of Buffalo.

On the flip side, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma has just 20 events per 100,000 people scheduled, which is the lowest rate in the country.

Cities where people donate to charity the most and least

One way that some people celebrate the holiday season is by donating to charity.

A graphic showing the cities where residents donate the most and least to charity, compared to the other U.S. cities we studied.

Residents of Buffalo, New York are most likely to make a monetary donation to help others, as almost 75% of people living there give money to charity every year. Baltimore is second, as nearly 70% of people living there donate annually.

Miami residents are the least likely in the country to donate — just 37% of residents do so.

Tips for saving this holiday season

The holiday season doesn’t have to drain your wallet or your Christmas spirit. Here are some ways to shop smart and save this season:

  • Reduce your holiday debt. Switching credit cards is one way to manage your high-interest debt. The longest balance transfer credit cards offer 0% introductory APR on qualifying purchases for up to 21 months.
  • Save while you spend. There are plenty of tools out there that can help you find coupon codes or earn rewards. Capital One Shopping1 is one option that can help you save money online. 

Methodology

FinanceBuzz collected data on 50 of America's biggest cities.

Data for five major categories related to the Christmas holiday were collected for each city. Those categories were communal celebrations and decorations, holiday shopping, holiday season of giving, holiday cheer, and holiday “jeer.” Each of those categories was created using individual data points, listed below. Each data point was indexed using a 0 to 5 scale. Those scores were then weighted and added together to create a score of 0 to 20 for each category, then added together to give each city an overall score on a 0 to 100 scale. The lowest-scoring cities were deemed to be the "Grinchiest."

For individual data points, a weight of 1.00 is standard, with weights above 1.00 having a larger impact on a category’s score and those below 1.00 having a lesser impact. The weights and sources for the individual metrics used in each category are as follows:

Communal celebrations and decor:

  • The number of holiday events and festivals per 100,000 people.
    • Source: Eventbrite
    • Weight: 1.25
  • The total number of ice skating rinks.
    • Source: YellowPages.com
    • Weight: 0.75
  • The number of holiday decoration shops per 100,000 people.
    • Source: YellowPages.com
    • Weight: 1.00
  • The number of Christmas tree farms/lots/shops per 100,000 people.
    • Source: YellowPages.com
    • Weight: 1.00

Holiday shopping:

  • The number of holiday markets per 100,000 people.
    • Source: Eventbrite
    • Weight: 1.50
  • The number of toy stores per 100,000 people.
    • Source: YellowPages.com
    • Weight: 0.50
  • The number of department stores per 100,000 people.
    • Source: YellowPages.com
    • Weight: 1.00
  • The number of shopping centers and malls per 100,000 people.
    • Source: YellowPages.com
    • Weight: 0.50
  • Google Shopping score for "wrapping paper" over the last five years.
    • Source: Google Trends
    • Weight: 0.50
  • Google Shopping score for "Christmas cards" over the last five years.
    • Source: Google Trends
    • Weight: 0.50

Holiday season of giving:

  • The number of food banks per 100,000 people.
    • Source: Eventbrite
    • Weight: 0.75
  • The total number of homeless shelters.
    • Source: YellowPages.com
    • Weight: 0.50
  • The percentage of the population that volunteers annually.
    • Source: AmeriCorps' most recent comprehensive "Volunteering in America" report
    • Weight: 1.50
  • The percentage of the population that donates at least $25 to charity annually.
    • Source: AmeriCorps' most recent comprehensive "Volunteering in America" report
    • Weight: 1.25

Holiday cheer:

  • Google Trends score for "Christmas party" over the last five years.
    • Source: Google Trends
    • Weight: 0.67
  • Google Trends score for "Christmas lights" over the last five years.
    • Source: Google Trends
    • Weight: 0.67
  • Google Trends score for "Christmas concert" over the last five years.
    • Source: Google Trends
    • Weight: 0.67
  • Google Trends score for "Christmas festival" over the last five years.
    • Source: Google Trends
    • Weight: 0.67
  • Google Trends score for "Christmas dinner" over the last five years.
    • Source: Google Trends
    • Weight: 0.67
  • Google Trends score for "I love Christmas" over the last five years.
    • Source: Google Trends
    • Weight: 0.67

Holiday “jeer”:

  • Google Trends score for "bah humbug" over the last five years.
    • Source: Google Trends
    • Weight: 0.80
  • Google Trends score for "I hate Christmas" over the last five years.
    • Source: Google Trends
    • Weight: 0.80
  • Google Trends score for "Christmas sucks" over the last five years.
    • Source: Google Trends
    • Weight: 0.80
  • Google Trends score for "Christmas anxiety" over the last five years.
    • Source: Google Trends
    • Weight: 0.80
  • Google Trends score for "Christmas is bad" over the last five years.
    • Source: Google Trends
    • Weight: 0.80

In all cases where population was used to create a “per 100,000 people” calculation, population data came from the United States Census Bureau.

Complete factor scores and overall rankings for all 50 cities

City Communal celebrations and decor score Holiday shopping score Holiday season of giving score Holiday cheer score Holiday jeer score Overall city score

(Higher means better)

Atlanta, GA

16.5

13.3

9.3

10.5

11.8

61.5

Austin, TX

3.9

4.6

4.3

9.1

15.2

37.1

Baltimore, MD

12.9

12.3

13.1

10.7

10.8

59.7

Birmingham, AL

7.2

8.7

8.9

12.6

11.2

48.7

Boston, MA

11.6

10.1

10.3

10.2

11.3

53.5

Buffalo, NY

17.0

13.6

9.1

10.9

10.3

60.9

Charlotte, NC

6.3

4.5

7.1

12.0

12.0

41.9

Chicago, IL

5.8

4.0

6.0

9.5

11.2

36.5

Cincinnati, OH

14.0

13.5

11.1

12.0

9.2

59.9

Cleveland, OH

14.8

10.5

9.1

13.4

6.7

54.6

Columbus, OH

6.3

4.8

6.8

9.5

12.3

39.8

Dallas, TX

8.9

4.0

6.7

10.4

13.2

43.2

Denver, CO

9.5

8.3

7.7

9.4

14.5

49.3

Detroit, MI

11.6

6.3

7.3

8.6

12.2

46.1

Hartford, CT

19.3

17.6

9.6

10.7

9.9

67.0

Houston, TX

3.0

3.8

6.9

9.6

14.4

37.8

Indianapolis, IN

4.9

5.7

12.1

10.9

12.0

45.6

Jacksonville, FL

1.6

2.9

4.8

10.3

13.9

33.7

Kansas City, MO

6.4

6.9

11.2

10.1

9.9

44.5

Las Vegas, NV

4.0

10.9

2.3

7.0

15.9

40.1

Los Angeles, CA

5.1

3.4

5.7

8.9

13.4

36.4

Louisville, KY

2.2

5.8

8.7

10.0

8.6

35.4

Memphis, TN

1.7

3.4

8.2

8.4

15.3

36.9

Miami, FL

9.1

11.9

2.0

6.4

18.8

48.1

Milwaukee, WI

10.5

6.6

14.0

11.9

10.6

53.6

Minneapolis, MN

16.7

12.2

15.7

12.2

14.5

71.2

Nashville, TN

4.1

5.7

9.3

14.2

9.5

42.8

New Orleans, LA

4.7

6.5

2.7

13.1

14.1

41.1

New York, NY

5.1

2.8

5.9

7.5

15.7

36.8

Oklahoma City, OK

3.1

3.0

5.4

10.2

13.4

35.2

Orlando, FL

14.3

16.1

3.4

13.0

14.6

61.4

Philadelphia, PA

11.1

5.5

8.4

9.9

7.7

42.7

Phoenix, AZ

3.5

3.7

7.2

9.3

15.7

39.4

Pittsburgh, PA

13.2

12.6

12.5

15.0

8.2

61.4

Portland, OR

9.3

6.5

13.2

9.6

11.6

50.3

Providence, RI

15.3

11.1

10.7

12.3

11.0

60.5

Raleigh, NC

8.4

7.3

10.2

11.7

12.8

50.3

Richmond, VA

10.9

13.6

4.4

10.4

9.1

48.4

Riverside, CA

20.0

11.5

8.0

8.9

13.4

61.7

Sacramento, CA

10.5

4.4

6.1

8.0

13.2

42.2

Salt Lake City, UT

12.2

11.2

13.1

14.2

9.6

60.3

San Antonio, TX

1.8

3.2

3.2

9.7

14.8

32.7

San Diego, CA

3.7

3.9

5.3

8.4

13.6

34.8

San Francisco, CA

8.9

6.1

7.6

6.2

17.0

45.8

San Jose, CA

9.6

2.7

8.4

6.2

17.0

44.0

Seattle, WA

11.1

7.2

11.7

8.8

14.4

53.2

St. Louis, MO

14.2

12.1

9.3

11.1

12.4

59.2

Tampa, FL

12.0

8.8

6.1

11.9

14.5

53.2

Virginia Beach, VA

6.1

6.6

6.9

10.2

6.5

36.3

Washington, DC

11.0

8.6

9.4

10.1

14.1

53.3

Average

12.9

5.7

7.6

10.6

11.7

48.5

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Author Details

Josh Koebert Josh Koebert is an experienced content marketer that loves exploring how personal finance overlaps with topics such as sports, food, pop culture, and more. His work has been featured on sites such as CNN, ESPN, Business Insider, and Lifehacker.

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