Christmas 2021: How will Americans celebrate?

Jamie BallardData Journalist
December 18, 2021, 12:15 AM GMT+0

The winter holiday season is here, and YouGov has been asking Americans about their plans, including whether they plan to celebrate, travel, and spend time with family and friends. 

About three-quarters (75%) of Americans say they plan to celebrate Christmas or another winter holiday this year. A majority of each major age group, region, and political party plan to celebrate, with some groups especially likely to say they will. 

Americans who are 65 or older (81%) are more likely than younger Americans to say they’ll be celebrating a winter holiday. Americans under 30 are a different story. While two-thirds (66%) say they will celebrate, one in five (21%) say they will not. 

There are slight partisan differences, as well. Republicans (82%) are more likely than Independents (76%) and Democrats (74%) to say they will celebrate a holiday this season. 

Christmas and the other winter holidays are biggest in the Midwest and the Northeast. One in five people in the South say they will not be celebrating a winter holiday. 

Will Americans travel for the holidays?

In addition to celebrating the season by putting up festive decorations and exchanging gifts, some Americans will mark winter holidays by traveling to see friends and family or going on vacation. But news about the Omicron variant of COVID-19 may have some reconsidering their plans.

Since the start of November, YouGov has run weekly surveys asking Americans about their holiday travel plans. According to each survey in November, between 19% and 22% of Americans said they planned to travel for the holidays. In the survey conducted during the first week of December, just 15% said they planned to travel, though this figure rebounded to 20% the following week — perhaps indicating that some of the initial concerns about the new variant had subsided.

A YouGov survey a year ago found that a similar number of Americans (13%) said they would be traveling for winter holidays. Nearly twice as many (24%) indicated that they normally would be traveling for the holidays but had decided not to do so because of COVID-19.

This year, 72% of Americans say they don’t intend to travel for the holidays, and as of mid-December, 8% say they are unsure.

Whom are Americans celebrating the holiday with? 

Many Americans will be spending the holiday season with loved ones. Two in five (41%) say there will be between one and five people at their holiday celebration, while 29% are expecting between six and 10 people. Another 12% say there will be 11 to 15 people at their holiday celebration and 6% are expecting between 16 and 20 people. Very few (3%) will attend a holiday event with more than 20 people.

Republicans (29%) are about twice as likely as Democrats (15%) to say they will be celebrating with more than 10 people this holiday season. About one-quarter (24%) of Independents will attend a holiday gathering with more than 10 people. 

Related: Have Americans finished their holiday gift shopping?

Methodology: The U.S. News survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 6,000 U.S. adult citizens interviewed online between November 3, 2021 and December 12, 2021. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the 2018 American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, as well as 2016 and 2020 Presidential votes (or non-votes). Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all U.S. citizens. 

Image: Getty

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