Poll: Americans split over "Merry Christmas" v. "Happy Holidays"

Or, how about just “Season’s Greetings”?

From Religion News Service via Huffington:

While more than nine out of 10 Americans say they plan to celebrate Christmas this year, they are divided on whether businesses should use messages like “Season’s Greetings” rather than “Merry Christmas,” according to a new poll.

The latest PRRI/RNS Religion News Poll, released Thursday (Dec. 16), found Americans are split, 44 percent in favor and 49 opposed, on whether retailers should use generic holiday greetings out of respect for people of different faiths.

The so-called “War on Christmas” has been a rallying cry for conservatives in recent years as they resist attempts to remove nativity scenes from town squares, Christmas carols from public schools and the words “Merry Christmas” from sales flyers.

The poll found a significant number of people engaging in secularized celebrations of Christmas, with Americans more likely to watch Christmas movies like It’s A Wonderful Life (83 percent) than attend religious services on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day (66 percent).

The holiday season is also slightly interreligious: One in 10 Americans say members of their families also celebrate another December holiday, such as Hanukkah or Kwanzaa.

Researchers said the range of ways that Americans celebrate Christmas could explain why the holy day is taking on a less religious feel.

Check out the rest. And Merry Christmas!


  1. From a language usage standpoint, using any one word exclusively (holiday or Christmas) sounds awful. I remember a Food Network special a few years back in which the host was making a “holiday” meal. Over the course of the hour, he used the word “holiday” over 100 times, never mentioning any specific holiday. It was very annoying – at least for a writer-ly type like me.

  2. Deacon John M. Bresnahan says:

    I don’t know who this outfit polled (trolls under bridges,maybe) but Rasmussen is one of the most reliable pollsters in America. And according to his latest poll on this topic almost 70% of Americans prefer that stores say “Merry Christmas” and only 24% prefer “Happy Holidays. His report on the internet said that this is consistent with past surveys.
    Since Huffington Post’s reputation is one of whacked out liberalism (while Rasmussen is respected by all sides of the left-right spectrum) one can certainly doubt the integrity of the Post poll and its use for anti-Christmas propaganda.
    Whenever a clerk says to me “Happy Holidays” I always reply with a pleasant smile: “Merry Christmas.” And from the quick huge smiles and the hearty “Yes!! Merry Christmas!!” I almost always receive in reply- one can only wonder at the enforced trashing of Christmas that is being ordered of employees by some big, powerful corporations.
    Yet Christmas is merchandisers most powerful cash cow. Maybe it is time to find ways for Christians to stop playing patsies for their bottom-line lust. (Like hand-craft modest gifts and make donations to charities that feed, clothe, and house the desperately poor around the world–imagine how much food money selfishly spent on a big screen HD-TV could buy for starving children).
    Maybe it is time to stop gorging ourselves to the point of puking over all our goodies (or rioting outside Wal-Marts to make sure we set a rotten example for our kids about what the true meaning of Christmas is–getting this year’s “must” electronic toy at all costs.)

  3. This seems like a ridiculous thing to argue about. Instead of quibbling about word choice, people should reflect on the feeling behind it- whether it’s ‘happy holidays’ or ‘merry christmas’ the basic idea is ‘have a nice time’!

    There are hundreds of real problems in the world. This really isn’t one of them.


  1. The "Merry Christmas" v. "Happy Holidays" debate… http://bit.ly/hzAzqA

  2. RT @CathCharitiesNY: The "Merry Christmas" v. "Happy Holidays" debate… http://bit.ly/hzAzqA

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