‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘Happy Holidays’?

Christmas Day has passed, but we aren’t even half way through the 12 Days of Christmas.

So I don’t feel that I am too far behind the curve in getting to an interesting study on how Americans celebrate Christmas.

A survey by the Public Religion Research Institute found that 96% of Americans celebrate Christmas (89% celebrate only Christmas).

83% of Americans say they usually watch a Christmas movie like “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

66% say they usually attend a church service on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

According to a release: “Roughly equal numbers say they read “Twas the Night Before Christmas” (43%), the famous Santa Clause poem, as read the biblical story about the birth of Jesus (40%) as part of their traditional Christmas celebrations.”

On the contentious question of whether people should be wished Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays, respondents were nearly divided.

49% prefer Merry Christmas. 44% like Happy Holidays.

The Institute breaks down the “greeting” findings further:

A majority of white evangelical Protestants (69%) and white mainline Protestants (57%) support stores using “merry Christmas.” A majority of Catholics (55%), however, support stores using more generic greetings like “happy holidays.”

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of Republicans also support saying “merry Christmas” as opposed to more generic greetings. In contrast, nearly 6-in-10 (58%) Democrats say stores and businesses should be using “happy holidays” or “season’s greetings” out of respect for people of different faiths.

A majority of Americans living in the Midwest (56%) and the South (54%), and a plurality (49%) of those living in the West say stores and businesses should greet customers with “Merry Christmas,” while nearly 6-in-10 (58%) Americans living in the Northeast say businesses should use more generic greetings.