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TheStreet Open House

6 Holiday Traditions Fading Into Obscurity

Stocks in this article: DIS M JCP TGT WMT KSS

BOSTON ( MainStreet) -- Like a faded candy cane lawn decoration, a flaking glass ornament or an old Tickle-Me-Elmo with a corroded battery at its core, some holiday favorites are increasingly forgotten with each passing season.

This isn't terribly surprising considering how seldom holiday sentiment spreads to the inanimate objects of holiday shoppers' fickle affections. Annual spending on Christmas decorations jumped from $55 per person in 2004 to an estimated $68 this year, according to the National Retail Federation. When the percentage of shoppers buying ornaments, garlands and other bits of seasonal decor fell from 71.2% in 2007 to just 64.4% in 2009, it seemed to shock retailers and retail observers that shoppers would actually hang on to decorations and use them more than once.

Sometimes, however, the bloom just falls from the poinsettia as the culture shifts its gaze to newer, prettier things. ABC (DIS) found this out the hard way last year when the halting and didactic dialogue, mid-20th Century animation and overlong run time of A Charlie Brown Christmas not only came in behind an episode of Glee and lost more than 800,000 viewers in its second half-hour, but dropped more than 30% of its audience from the year before.

Even the holidays themselves don't have as much juice as they once did. Roughly 91% of Americans told the NRF they'd be celebrating winter holidays this year, down from 93.6% in 2008. Of those revelers, 90.5% are celebrating Christmas. That may seem like a lot, but it's a more than six percentage point downtick from the 96.1% of holiday observers who celebrated Christmas in 2004.

Even holiday shopping mainstays are feeling the encroaching humbuggery. Department stores such as Macy's (M) and J.C. Penney (JCP) have seen the nearly 62% of all holiday shoppers who visited their decked halls in 2006 drop to 57% this year. Their low-priced competitors fare little better as the 77% of holiday shoppers who visited Target (TGT), Wal-Mart (WMT), Kohl's (KSS) and other discount stores in 2004 has dwindled to 66% as window displays and garland-ensconced floorspace lose ground to living room laptop and tablet screens or smartphone-aided commuter shopping.

With so much of seasons past slipping into nostalgia, we went digging through the attic and found five former holiday fixtures being slowly relegated to oblivion. Once considered staples on par with the tree and dinner with all the trimmings, they're becoming as forgotten as last night's eggnog:

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