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'Happy Holidays' isn't an attack on Christmas

14 December 2017

"To be sure, while the public's commemoration of Christmas may have less of a religious component now than in the past", Pew said, "the share of Americans who say they celebrate Christmas in some way has hardly budged at all".

In a telephone survey of 1,503 US adults conducted November 28-Dec.

The survey found 55 percent of adult Americans say they celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday, down from 59 percent of Americans in 2013.

Today, 52% of the US public says that a business' choice of holiday greeting does not matter to them, while roughly a third (32%) prefers for stores and businesses to greet customers with "Merry Christmas" during the holidays. "About eight in 10 will gather with family and friends".

Researchers learned further that while 54 percent of 2013's respondents attended religious services Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, barely half (51 percent) plan to do so this year. In all the areas Pew asked about - whether Jesus was born to a virgin mother, if wise men brought Jesus gifts, etc. - the numbers were down from a few years ago. You go to department stores, and they'll say, "Happy New Year" and they'll say other things.

Overall, the study found that almost a third are bothered "some" by the decline in religion's role in Christmas, however the other two-thirds is either not bothered by the trend or believe religion in Christmas is not fading.

Previous year during his presidential campaign, he urged his supporters that one of the things he would restore to the White House is the practice of saying "Merry Christmas", claiming that is a phrase you don't see a lot of anymore. According to Pew Research, this statistic has not changed since the question was asked back in 2013.

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As for the much-ballyhooed "war on Christmas" debate, Pew found the importance to Americans of retail outlets offering "Merry Christmas" welcomes rather than generic "happy holidays" or "season's greetings" has indeed been in long-term decline.

"One of the most striking changes in recent years involves the share of Americans who say they believe the birth of Jesus occurred as depicted in the Bible", the Pew survey said.

Only 57 percent of Americans believe in all four, down from 65 percent in 2014.

When you think of Christmas, is it more likely to conjure up images of a lulling Jesus or a laughing Santa, gift-bearing wise men or bargain-hunting shoppers, a bright star in the East or blinking lights on the house? And there are similar declines in the shares of Americans who believe that Jesus' birth was heralded by an angel of the Lord and that Jesus was laid in a manger as an infant. This decline has been particularly pronounced among white mainline Protestants, 71 per cent of whom believe in the virgin birth for instance, compared to 83 per cent in 2014.

Belief in the biblical account of Christ's birth also has slipped, Pew reports.

And when it comes to expressions of the Christmas story on public land, most Americans agree that items such as Nativity scenes are O.K., especially if paired with other holiday symbols, including Hanukkah displays. The number of Americans who oppose religious displays on public property has grown to 26 percent from 20 percent in the same time period, the study said.

Broken down by political affiliation, three-quarters of Republicans said they accepted all four gospel Nativity elements; fewer than half (47 percent) of Democrats did.

'Happy Holidays' isn't an attack on Christmas