How do we celebrate Christmas?

Jake GammonHead of Omnibus, US
December 18, 2013, 4:25 PM GMT+0

Anyone who has any access to media will not be shocked to discover it’s the week before Christmas! But how many of us celebrate the holiday and do we all do the same thing on the day itself? What are those movies that make us celebrate the season and what songs do we actually enjoy hearing when we’re out shopping? This is a mini round up of Christmas – for those who celebrate and, importantly, for those for whom December 25th is just another day of the year.

To what extent do we celebrate Christmas?

Nine in ten (90%) people in the US celebrate Christmas to some extent with almost half (48%) stating they celebrate to a large extent and 42% to some extent. Groups more likely to celebrate Christmas than others include those aged 55 and over and those who are married (94%), and those with children (93%). Groups less likely to celebrate Christmas include those who are single (17%) and those educated to a post graduate level (15%).

Looking at those who celebrate Christmas by their religion gives some interesting results. More than one in four (27%) of those who do not have a religious preference state they celebrate Christmas to a large extent with over half (56%) celebrating to a small extent – a total of 83% celebrating Christmas. Additionally, three in four (74%) of those who believe in a non-Christian religion celebrate the holiday to some extent (39% to a large extent, 35% to a small extent).

Do you celebrate Christmas?

What do we do on Christmas day?

Family and friends play a large part in Christmas celebrations with 68% of those who celebrate the day visiting family or friends and 50% having family or friends come to them. As people get older, they tend to be the ones hosting the Christmas celebrations – 53% of those aged 55 or over having people coming to them compared with 46% of those aged 18 to 34.

Age also plays a part in the activities of the day, with 28% of those aged 18 to 34 playing games on Christmas day compared with just 12% of those aged 55 or over. Watching movies at home or the theater also appeals to more young people.

Some activities are ageless, however, and around one in eight people of any age sing carols or songs together on the festive day.

Which of the following do you do on Christmas Day itself, if any?

Over half (55%) of those who do not celebrate Christmas are already aware of what they will do on December 25th, or have a special activity planned. These activities include watching movies at home (21%), visiting family or friends (20%) or eating out (19%).

Workplaces at Christmas

The vast majority (82%) of workplaces across the country so something to celebrate the holiday season. Over half (57%) have a Christmas party or meal. Half (50%) decorate the workplace in some way.

Our personal favorite workplaces are the almost three in ten (29%) who give their staff additional vacation, outside of public holidays. We’re less sure about the one in four (26%) who play Christmas music, however.

Christmas songs and movies

And finally, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without the obligatory Christmas countdowns! Asked their favorite Christmas movies, a range of answers were given from older classics such as Meet Me in St Louis (1944) to modern favorites such as Elf (2003). The top five, however, is mainly comprised of movies from the 1980s with A Christmas Story (1983) hitting second place, the favorite of one in seven of those with a favorite Christmas film, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989) in third and, maintaining an 80s spirit, Home Alone (1990) in fifth place.

The winner is a classic, however – the 1946 film “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Not the most cheerful of Christmas films but surely a reminder of the importance of those we love at this time of year.

Moving on to think about people’s favorite songs of the season and we have a total dominance from the classics section with Silent Night securing the top spot, followed by O Holy Night. White Christmas croons into third place with Jingle Bells hitting fourth. Little Drummer Boy ranks fifth place – a favorite of one in twenty people.

For further information about poll results, and for details about methodology and omnibus services, please email

Find the full results here.

Image: Getty