Most Americans Don’t Take a Break During the Holidays

Holiday Vacation Statistics

Americans work more, take fewer vacations, work longer days and retire later than most industrialized nations. According to a new survey from, more than 1 in 4 or 27% of Americans didn’t take a day off during the 2019 holidays.

The result from this survey is almost the same as the poll Small Business Trends carried out in December 2019. We asked our readers, “What best describes your holiday vacation plans?” and to date, 25% of them responded, “Who has time for vacations.”

For small business owners, the holiday season is the most profitable time for their company. So, taking a vacation during this time of year may not be practical. As the survey points out, the perfect holiday vacation time differs for everyone.

The one thing people can agree on is vacations are important. Whether you take a couple of days off or more, the benefits of relaxing, rebooting and clearing your mind do wonders for productivity and creativity, not to mention your well-being.

The Survey

The survey for this report was carried out online with three separate audiences made up of 1,001 adults in the U.S. in December 2019. Using the Google Surveys platform, the responses take into consideration gender, age, and region. This is to match the estimate of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey regarding the demographics of the national internet population.

Holiday Vacation Statistics

The first holiday vacation statistics in the survey looks at how many days the respondents took off from work during the holiday season.

Besides the 27.3% that didn’t take any time off, 16.7% said only 1 – 2 days, followed by 9.7% with 3 – 4 days. Another 10% took 5 – 7 days off and a mere 5.9% managed to get anywhere between 8 – 14 days. As to those lucky enough to get more than 15 days, the number goes down all the way to 1.9%.

Holiday Vacation Statistics

Even though more than a quarter don’t take a break, there is a range of dates Americans will take off for the holidays. As a small business, you can also give your staff days off throughout the holidays without hampering your operations.

As the data shows, it doesn’t have to be for two weeks. A couple of days can do wonders to keep the company morale up and your employees happy. And the next question addresses this very point, which is, “How satisfied are you with the amount of vacation provided by your employer during the holiday season?”

Vacation Time and Productivity

In the survey, 64% of American workers are either very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with their vacation time. And only 5.1% and 8.8% say they are slightly and very dissatisfied respectively. So, does this affect productivity during the holiday season?

Holiday Vacation Statistics

Slightly more than a third (33.7%) say there is no change in their level of productivity. Another 4.9% and 7.2% said they were slightly and much more productive respectively. Not surprisingly 14.2% reported they were slightly less productive and 10.8% followed with much less productive.


One of the goals of a vacation is to take a break from your work. But increasingly people are working even while they are on their break. You can thank your smartphone and digital technology for that.

Whether you are a small business owner taking a vacation or giving your staff a break, make sure to really take time off. After all, if everyone that goes on vacation comes back rejuvenated, they will be more productive, inspired and ready to work.


Michael Guta Michael Guta is the Assistant Editor at Small Business Trends and has been with the team for 9 years. He currently manages its East African editorial team. Michael brings with him many years of content experience in the digital ecosystem covering a wide range of industries. He holds a B.S. in Information Communication Technology, with an emphasis in Technology Management.