Christmas in America

Christian or Not; Christmas is a time for friends and family.

Whatever the debates are at this moment, one thing is a certainty: Christmas continues to play an important part in the lives of many Americans even now.  One can collate five facts concerning Christmas in the United States and how individuals celebrate.

1. Christians and Non-Christians Celebrate Christmas

As per a survey by the Pew Research Center, approximately 92 percent of Americans and 96 percent of Christians celebrate Christmas. However, the surprise in the survey is that about 81 percent of non-Christians also celebrate Christmas.

This includes people who identify themselves as having no religion. Approximately 76 percent of Asian-American Buddhists, 73 percent of Hindus and 32 percent of Jews, a large proportion of the latter having non-Jewish spouses, admitted to having a Christmas tree inside their homes. About 51 percent of Americans overall say that they celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday and about 32 percent of respondents identify the occasion as a cultural holiday.

2. It’s “Merry Christmas” over “Happy Holidays”

It was also surveyed that when visiting a store, respondents were asked the greeting they prefer: “Happy holidays” or “Merry Christmas”? To a few, this question was termed a sensitive one. However, about 46 percent of Americans are of the opinion that the greeting does not matter much. About 42 percent chose “Merry Christmas” and 12 percent chose “Happy holidays.”

3. The Controversial Religion and State

Another controversial aspect Christians raised is holiday displays foisted on properties owned by the government. Any occurrence of this kind is invariably followed by an annual scrutiny. When asked if Christian symbols like Nativity scenes should be permitted on government property and if permitted, would they be permitted exclusively by themselves or accompanied by symbols derived from other faiths.

It was found that Americans harbor mixed views concerning this issue. About 44 percent hold the opinion that Christian symbols must be permitted independent of other faiths. Only about 28 percent of respondents replied that Christian symbols must be accompanied by symbols from other faiths. About 20 percent favor no Christian symbols to be present on any government property.

4. Biblical Stories are Historical Events

headerA majority of Americans (about 73 percent) believe that orthodox Christmas stories mirror real historical events. About 73 percent believe that Mary had a virgin birth and about 81 percent hold the belief that he was laid inside a manger. Similar percentages are seen for Wise Men who brought the gifts of gold, myrrh and frankincense to Jesus were real and also the appearance of the Lord to announce Jesus’s birth.

5. Gifts, Family and Friends are Great but Having Less Friends in December is easier on the Wallet

About 85 percent of respondents purchase gifts for family or friends as a part of holiday celebrations. However, mixed feelings exist in this regard. A majority, 83 percent responded that receiving and buying gifts made them happy. However, a significant minority (46 percent) said that gifting stretches their financial abilities.

It is also true that a large proportion (60 percent) expressed the opinion that spending time with people they love is of highest importance- and not receiving expensive gifts.

How do Christmas celebrations vary between different denominations? Find out in our new infographic: What do world religions do during the holiday season?

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