New Survey Shows Americans Prefer ‘Happy Holidays’ Over ‘Merry Christmas’

The War on Christmas is over!* We win!**

The Public Religion Research Institute says in a newly-released survey that more Americans than ever before prefer the term “Happy Holidays” to “Merry Christmas”:

(What’s that you say? The question is biased to make people say “Happy Holidays” so they don’t seem disrespectful? Good job, my AP Stats students…)

Nearly half (49%) of Americans agree stores and businesses should greet their customers with “happy holidays” or “season’s greetings” instead of “merry Christmas” out of respect for people of different faiths. However, a substantial minority (43%) disagree. Support for saying “happy holidays” or “season’s greetings” is up slightly since December 2010, when 44% preferred that businesses use less religious greetings.

That said, the survey also revealed the ignorance of our country, with an estimated 49% of Americans saying that the whole story of Christmas — Virgin birth and all — is historically accurate.

Cathy Lynn Grossman has more on the survey here.

*There is no War on Christmas.
**Yeah, we did!

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Art_Vandelay

    I bet if “I don’t give a shit” was an option it would win overwhelmingly.

  • WallofSleep
  • dats3

    Yeah, that’d be my response.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    Along with “I’m too busy to notice things like that.” I wonder how many people, if asked in the parking lot two minutes after checking out could tell you if they heard “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays”?

  • islandbrewer

    Inclusiveness makes baby Jesus cry.

  • GubbaBumpkin

    out of respect for people of different faiths.

    There might be people who prefer it for other reasons as well. For example, there might be people who feel that “Merry Christmas” is a slight to New Year’s Day.
    “Happy Holidays” is more inclusive in all respects.

  • dats3

    Maybe we should just all nod to one another in polite silence during this season. That might help with the noise issue at the mall while at the same time not offending anyone with any particular greeting. *silent nod*

  • AFabulousAtlantanAtheist

    It pains me to know that I share voting privileges with people who sincerely believe the Xtian story around Xmas is historically accurate. If one can forgo evidence in drawing conclusions in one facet of life, I don’t see how it won’t carry over into other aspects of life. Very scary stuff!

  • WallofSleep

    ” If one can forgo evidence in drawing conclusions in one facet of life, I
    don’t see how it won’t carry over into other aspects of life.”

    Just look at the modern GOP. They’ve turned that kind of shit into an art form.

  • LesterBallard

    I have a Christian friend who admitted that he knew Jesus was not born in December. I asked him why it was so important to celebrate a lie. I’m still waiting for an answer.

  • http://www.greatestescapist.com/ Kate / @heyescapist

    I don’t think this is uncommon; a lot of people of faith don’t believe their religious stories are true or handed down from on high. They celebrate/follow/respect the “moral of the story,” if you will, using religion more as a security blanket/tool of comfort than as THE ABSOLUTE WORD OF GOD. These people are usually progressives & not loonies & I’m inclined toward giving them a break because there are way crazier religious folks to focus on.

  • Black Leaf

    Honestly, I don’t give a damn if a store says “Merry Christmas.” I just don’t want them to HAVE to say it.

  • Hat Stealer

    I bet it was the wording of the question. By adding “out of respect for people of different faiths” it makes you sound like an intolerant bigot if you disagree. It would have been better if they just stuck with “do you think stores should say ‘happy holidays’ or ‘merry Christmas.'”

  • Richard Thomas

    ” it makes you sound like an intolerant bigot if you disagree”

    Omit “sound like” and we’re getting closer to the heart of the issue.

  • Armanatar

    [sarcasm]Yeah, but it’s fine to be an intolerant bigot, as long as you don’t sound like one. [/sarcasm]

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

    i congratulate all my fellow victorious veterans in this Glorious War. i lift my glass of xtian baby puree nog in the direction of your Festivus poles.

  • Eliot Parulidae

    Some households prefer Christian baby puree matzo.

  • ZenDruid

    Ave Sol Invictus!

  • LesterBallard

    And the lead story on Fox News today . . .

  • Richard Thomas

    I honestly never got why people were so up in arms about “happy holidays”, like it was some terrible slight. I mean, I know, Jesus, ok fine, but let’s look at the situation: Thanksgiving is at the end of November. People don’t go around at the beginning of the month wishing each other a happy Thanksgiving. They say, if anything, “happy holidayS” (plural emphasized). What’s that? Christmas is bigger because it’s (allegedly) Jesus’s birthday? Ok fine, think of all the people you know who have birthdays at the end of a month. Do you wish them a happy birthday every other time you talk to them that month? It’s really silly, and this is why I just say “have a nice day.”

  • smalltownamy

    And they act like it’s some new thing – like Bing Crosby wasn’t singing “Happy Holidays” decades ago. I always liked the idea of using “happy holidays” to include Thanksgiving, your winter observation of choice, and New Year’s Day.

  • Dave

    I’m OK with companies banning a Festivus-style airing of grievances (although that’s normally a post-dinner thing), but other than that I couldn’t really care less.

  • Amenhotepstein

    I agree with your AP students that it’s a terrible graph. Beyond the leading question, they represent time on the X-axis as going right-to-left, instead of the more conventional left-to-right, so it looks like support is DEcreasing. Also, the two sets of columns are essentially redundant and could be replaced with one (the “Yes, should” set) and a note that ~7% did not respond.

    Don’t even get me STARTED on the colors!

  • Rain

    So Fox News is going to make them prefer Merry Christmas over Happy Holidays by… what. Magic? What the hell do they want. What are they trying to do over there lol.

  • Rain

    People aren’t born Happy Holidays oriented. It’s a choice that they make. Jesus created people Merry Christmas. PEOPLE CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY HOLIDAYS. Therefore it is bad and it should be outlawed.

  • JB

    The Cedar Rapids, Iowa Fox TV station displays Happy Holidays on their roadside electronic display. They must be on leave from the war zone.

  • Soren

    Who gives a damn? It’s the thought that counts.

  • God’s Starship

    It’s just people being nice. I don’t care how people say it, as long as the sentiment is pleasant.

  • phantomreader42

    Not surprising, since christianists are so determined to reduce “Merry Christmas” to a curse they can snarl and spit at people.

  • Félix Desrochers-Guérin

    From Dan Savage’s review of Sarah Palin’s Chrismas book:

    The more they complain about people saying “happy holidays” instead of “merry Christmas,” the fewer people will say “merry Christmas.” This will be held up as proof that the war on Christmas is real. But people like me aren’t replacing “merry Christmas” with “happy holidays” to be “politically correct,” as Palin insists in the introduction to her stupid book, we’re doing it because we don’t want people to think we’re assholes.

    I wonder how many people are put off from saying “Merry Christmas” for precisely this reason.

  • http://roguemedic.com/ Rogue Medic

    Thank you to Fox News for their War on the Constitution.

    Getting people to think about this appears to have changed some minds.

    .