Researchers measure holiday spirit

Armen Hareyan's picture
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The holidays just wouldn't be the same without the decorations. From a single wreath or child's picture of Santa taped to a window, to displays so elaborate that they can almost be seen from outer space, the festive season seems to spur the need to express the holiday spirit to our neighbors in addition to our closest kin. But neighborhoods also vary in the vigor of their holiday displays, as anyone who tours the streets of their town or city can attest.

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Scientists at Binghamton University, State University of New York, have decided to measure the holiday spirit. A simple scoring system was developed that ranged from zero (no decorations whatsoever) to four (representing different categories of decorations). A high score does not require wealth; even the humble residents of a trailer can score a four if they have the holiday spirit. A special category was even created for the kind of "over the top" display.

Armed with clipboards and pencils, volunteers spread throughout the Binghamton, NY, community city to score the houses on randomly assigned streets during a five-day period, December 16-20. Then they converged on the Cyber Caf

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