Grinchiest States and Holiday Behaviors in the US

Grinchiest States and Holiday Behaviors in the US

“You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch. You’re as charming as an eel.” Do you find yourself chanting along to the song? Do you too have garlic in your soul? If your heart turns a little “Grinchy” during the holidays, you’re not alone. Whether you’re hissing at Hallmark movies or dissing the red and green decor, you might fall into the category of Grinchy Americans.

We conducted a study to determine the Grinchy sentiment in the US by state, generation, gender, and more. Compiling these data points, we were able to create a “Grinch meter” to determine the scroogiest of them all. Although the general feeling is cheer, there were certainly some “bah-humbugs” in the bunch. 

Key findings:

Oklahoma was the Grinchiest state scoring 2.11/5.00

Americans feel the Grinchiest about caroling by 96.3%

The most festive state is a tie between Missouri and South Carolina, with a 4.00/5.00 score

Grinchiest States

Which states are bringing in good cheer and which ones are steering clear? We looked across the country to determine the Grinchiest states by general sentiment, participation in holiday activities, and more. The bad Santas of the country just might surprise you!

Oklahoma, a state famous for its oil production, is fit for a bag of coal this year. Having the worst score on the Grinch meter (2.11/5.00), Oklahoma comes in first place for being the Grinchiest state in the US. Honestly, it’s an impressive feat considering the events like Winterfest in Tulsa and the light displays put on by the townships. Despite the effort, the public isn’t buying it. To make matters worse, only a little over half the population in OK said that they regularly buy presents for the holidays. Oklahomans said, “Holiday who-be what-ee?”

Second place for the sour-pusses goes to the Centennial State! They might be nicknamed “Colorful Colorado” but it most certainly does not refer to their lights display. Colorado scored a 2.29/5.00 on the Grinch-o-meter earning it the title of second Grinchiest state in the nation. One out of every fourth Coloradan said that they would never dress up for the holidays. Mr. Scrooge’s nightgown it is, we suppose!

Well, well, well, if it isn’t the grouchy state of Arkansas. In a previous study, Arkansas ranked #1 stingiest state for Thanksgiving meals, spending -93% less than the national average. As it turns out, the next holiday in the line-up is no different. Ranking ever so slightly above Colorado, Arkansas earns third most Grinchy state with a score of 2.30/5.00. On the plus side, 66% of Arkansans indicated that they do decorate for the holidays. We’ll give them some jolly points for that.

Most festive states

So, who is painting the town red (and green) with holiday cheer this year? The 2023 most festive state goes to….little drummer boy drum roll, please…Missouri and South Carolina! Tying for first place, these two southern states know hospitality and ho-ho-ho. Both states scored a 4.00/5.00, the highest score across the nation, granting them the anti-Grinch gold. Both states scored well into the 4’s on factors like holiday decoration, cookie baking, and gift giving. Missouri and South Carolina prove that the holidays aren’t a sprint, but a merry marathon. 

Heading further north, Illinois proves that the Midwest does it best. Scoring a 3.57/5.00, Illinois ranks number 2 for the most festive US state. A whopping 83% of Illinoisans said they always or almost always decorate for the holidays. With the Great Chicago Light Fight and other festive celebrations, it’s no wonder the Prairie Merry State ranks so high. 

Grinchiest cities across the US

Not all cities are a reflection of their state counterparts. Many metropolitans are the party-poopers for their otherwise cheer-filled states. Looking at a more granular level, we determined which were the top 5 Grinchiest cities across the country.

1. San Antonio

2. Ann Arbor

3. Salt Lake City

4. Milwaukee

5. Baltimore

Texas might be full of Christmas cowboys, but not when it comes to San Antonio, top the charts for the Grinchiest city in the country. A close second is college-town Ann Arbor, Michigan where the bitter cold turns to bitter attitudes. Honorary Grinchiness goes to the other top fives: Salt Lake City, Milwaukee, and Baltimore. We’ll be staying in sweet ole’ South Carolina, thank you very much!

Grinchy behavior

So what constitutes a “Grinch” anyway? To wrap up Hooville haters, we got into the thick of their Grinchy behaviors. Across the nation, Americans agreed that some things weren’t worth the holiday hassle. We’re the most crabby about caroling with an overwhelming majority (96.3%) indicating they feel the most Grinchy about participating in caroling. Fa-la-la-la-nah. 

Eggnog is out! Our second Grinchiest behavior was tossing the ‘nog. Americans negged the egg by 90.9%. Lastly, 84.6% said they preferred Grinchy over jolly when it came to gingerbread houses. In the words of Mr. Grinch himself, “Hate, hate, hate. Double hate. Loathe entirely.” 


We surveyed over 3,000 Americans in November 2023 about their holiday habits and sentiment. The age range was between 18-65 with all participants residing in the United States. Just over half — 52% — were female, 42% were male, 4% identified as trans or non-binary, and 1% listed “other”.

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Author: Gerald Griffin