Is Christmas a ‘proper’ special occasion, or is it too commercialised?

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
December 05, 2022, 12:16 PM GMT+0

Around a quarter of people in most Western nations surveyed think Christ’s birth is now marked more because of pressure from commercial entities

Christmas is, as the saying goes, the season of goodwill to all men. But are people prompted to give one another gifts and good cheer by the spirit of the season itself, or because they are being bombarded by companies telling them to express their generosity through the medium of buying things?

A new YouGov International Omnibus survey in 12 countries shows that a large majority of people in each country still tend to think that Christmas is celebrated for the right reasons. We asked more than 13,000 people whether they thought Christmas is celebrated more because it is a ‘proper’ special occasion, or if it was an occasion that people wouldn’t celebrate if it weren’t for pressure from commercial entities like greetings card companies.

Danes are especially likely to say that Christmas is celebrated nationally on its own terms, at 83%. Only 9% see celebrations marking the birth of Christ as too commercialised.

Poles are similarly likely to feel Christmas as an occasion that is still celebrated with regard to its intention (also 83%) rather than because of commercial pressure. Swedes (80%), and British people (73%) come third and fourth, respectively.

In nine of the twelve countries surveyed, around a quarter (22-29%) say they think Christmas is celebrated more because of the pressure businesses exert, with Italians the most likely to feel this way.

See the full results here

Photo: Getty