Do Americans really think there's a War on Christmas?

Jamie BallardData Journalist
December 11, 2018, 3:00 PM GMT+0

More than four in ten Americans believe Christian holidays are persecuted in the US

The holiday season is upon us, bringing with it a longstanding debate about the “War on Christmas” and the role of Christianity in modern holiday celebrations. More than four in ten (42%) Americans believe that “No other religion has their religious holidays attacked or persecuted to the same extent Christians do.” Only 28% overall disagree with this statement. People who are 55 and older are especially likely (50%) to agree with this, while millennials ages 18 to 34 tend to be split: 34% agree, while 30% disagree.

Similarly, 39% of people believe that “There is a ‘War on Christmas’ happening in the US.” One-third (33%) disagree, and 21% neither agree nor disagree. People who are 55 and older are also more likely (50%) to agree with this statement.

About two-thirds of Americans (64%) say the holiday greeting they prefer to say to others is “Merry Christmas.” A similar number (66%) say this is the greeting they like to recieve. Only 27% say they prefer to greet others with “Happy Holidays,” and only 22% say they prefer to receive this greeting.

When it comes to retail experiences, 45% of Americans say they are more likely to purchase from a business if the business’ seasonal branding is overtly Christian (items say “Merry Christmas,” use nativity scenes and crosses as decoration, etc.). Only 33% say they would be more likely to buy from a retailer whose seasonal branding is overtly secular (items that say “Happy Holidays,” images of snowmen and gift boxes as decoration, etc.).

Though it seems many Americans favor Christian messaging around the holidays, many are also open to other cultures and ideas. About six in ten (62%) agreed with the statement “I like learning about holiday traditions and celebrations from various cultures,” while a similar number (60%) say that they’re “careful to acknowledge that not everyone celebrates Christmas.” Women were more likely to agree with both of these statements - 68% agreed that they like to learn various holiday traditions, and 66% say they’re careful to note that not everyone celebrates Christmas.

See full results here.

Learn more about YouGov Omnibus.

Image: Getty

Explore more data & articles