Christmas: Mainly a day for family, not religion

December 24, 2014, 11:19 AM GMT+0

Most Americans celebrate Christmas primarily as a day for family, rather than a religious occasion

As the country shuts down for Christmas Day, tens of millions of Americans are gathering together with their families to live out their respective family traditions. Christmas trees and gift giving may be nearly universal, but religion is not. Despite its original meaning as a day to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, many Americans don't primarily celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday.

YouGov's research shows that most Americans (53%) personally think that Christmas is a day for family, while just over a third (36%) say that it is first and foremost a religious holiday. Republicans (52%) are the most likely demographic group to say that Christmas is a religious occasion. Only 33% of Democrats say that Christmas is primarily a religious occasion, but under-30s (28%) are the least likely to say that Christmas is primarily a religious holiday.

67% of Americans prefer to use the greeting 'merry Christmas' at this time of year, though 25% do opt for 'happy holidays'. People in the Northeast (37%) are the most likely to prefer happy holidays, though even in this region (which has the highest proportion of non-religious and non-Christian Americans) 57% still think that 'merry Christmas' is the better greeting.

Full poll results can be found here.