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Who Gave the Most This Holiday Season? The Top 10 Cities, Ranked by Generosity.

BY: Andrew Goodwin | Dec 23, 2015

generousUS jpgThe holiday season is generally associated with feelings of cheer, goodwill, and cookie cravings. But there’s also a lot of anxiety about getting all of the shopping done in time. And based on how much shopping Groupon customers did on the last weekend before Christmas, they’re clearly more than familiar with the season’s many emotions.

Sure, a lot of people waited until the last minute to head to the Groupon gift shop, but they were still really, really generous with what they chose to give. After crunching the numbers on how many Groupons were purchased as gifts, we’ve determined the 10 most generous cities in the country. Read on to see if your hometown made the cut.

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#10: Harrisburg, PA

Harrisburg has many claims to fame: state capital and the world’s longest stone masonry arch railroad bridge among them. Guess Santa will be flying over that bridge a lot to deliver all the Groupon gifts purchased in the Keystone State’s most generous city.

Where they get their holiday spirit: Harrisburg is just down the road from Hershey. Chocolate releases endorphins. You do the sweet, sweet math.

#9: Columbus, OH

The Ohio State Buckeyes don’t just throw perfect spirals. They also throw Groupons wrapped in big scarlet-and-grey bows. Despite their more than respectable showing—and delicious chocolates—Columbus can only claim to be Ohio’s second-most generous city. (More on this later, obviously.)

Where they get their holiday spirit: It’s hard not to be in a good mood when your football team are the reigning national champs. Plus, broke college kids are definitely shopping last minute.

#8: Tucson, AZ

If Tucsonans have any generosity left in them, maybe they could all go in on a bicycle for Santa? Multiple mountain ranges make Tucson pretty hard to navigate by sleigh, but St. Nick could definitely deliver some holiday cheer on the 700 miles of bike paths around town.

Where they get their holiday spirit: Without snow to mark the season, buying lots (and lots) of gifts is the next best way to spread holiday cheer.

#7: Hartford, CT

Mark Twain lived in Hartford for 17 years, but wound up leaving after people kept offering to paint his fence for free. More than 100 years later, the city’s still populated by astonishingly generous characters.

Where they get their holiday spirit: English lit class? Perhaps undergrads are reading Twain’s “The Stolen White Elephant”—a short story about the legend that begat the white elephant gifting tradition—at the many colleges around town.

#6: Rochester, NY

Did you know it’s illegal to throw a snowball in Rochester? Perhaps that’s why everyone here seems to be throwing Groupons at each other, instead.

Where they get their holiday spirit: They outlawed snowball-throwing. Consideration for others is clearly part of the civic fabric here.

#5: Cincinnati, OH

Five U.S. Presidents have come from The Queen City, including the one with the mustache. While it’s not quite as good as giving someone an entire country, a Groupon for a massage or a nice dinner still makes a great stocking stuffer.

Where they get their holiday spirit: Cincinnati’s not far the Bourbon Trail. Maybe there was a lot of drunk shopping going on.

#4: Albany, NY

Despite being the state capital, Albany is only the sixth largest city in New York. But when it comes to generosity, their holiday spirit shines brighter than even the most lit-up Manhattan skyscraper.

Where they get their holiday spirit: Upstate New York gets more snow than almost any other region in the nation. Cyber-shopping is undoubtedly more appealing than trying to drive in whiteout traffic jams.

#3: Madison, WI

Though it’s known as The City of Four Lakes, there are actually five lakes in Madison. That’s no surprise; generosity and modesty tend to go hand in hand.

Where they get their holiday spirit: Perhaps they were trying to outdo their neighbors to the north, Green Bay, who we named America’s most pampered city in 2014.   

#2: Colorado Springs, CO

Colorado Springs is known for taking in most anyone and anything, from Nikola Tesla’s electrical experiments to the cast and crew of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. It would seem there’s always room at this inn.

Where they get their holiday spirit: From all those John Denver songs, of course.

#1: Albuquerque, NM

We’re not even surprised. After all, New Mexico was at the top of our gifting-est states last year, and we ranked ABQ as the nation’s friendliest city earlier in 2015. Don’t get comfortable, though, Albuquerque. We’re all expecting big, big things from you in the new year.

Where they get their holiday spirit: From knowing what at least one of those UFOs dotting the Southwestern skies is—Santa and his sleigh.

So, what were people gifting?

Surprisingly, the types of things you can’t wrap up in a box. Experiences, whether relaxing or thrilling, seemed to be at the top of everyone’s list this year. Here are the top five gifts people purchased over the pre-Christmas weekend, all of which make great experiences to give friends and family any time of year.

  1. Flying lessons
  2. Wine and beer tastings
  3. Cooking classes
  4. Massages
  5. High-speed driving experiences

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