‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘Happy Holidays’? Pew Poll Finds Most People Don’t Care

Religious conservatives and one cable news network in particular make a great deal out of the supposed “War on Christmas™,” especially when large retail chains greet customers with phrases like — Gasp! — “Happy Holidays” instead of the traditional “Merry Christmas.”

The Pew Research Center decided to put the controversy to the test and ask Americans how they prefer stores greet them during the holiday season. The survey, conducted last December, asked respondents whether they prefer “Merry Christmas,” or “less religious terms such as ‘Happy Holidays’ and ‘Season’s Greetings,'” or “it doesn’t matter.”

When the question was posed as a choice solely between “Merry Christmas” and the more secular phraseology, 57% chose “Merry Christmas,” 27% chose less religious terms, and 15% volunteered that it doesn’t matter to them.

Adding in the “it doesn’t matter” option, however resulted in a much different picture:

  • 46% of respondents say “It doesn’t matter.”
  • 42% of respondents prefer “Merry Christmas.”
  • 12% of respondents prefer less religious terms.
  • And then, of course, there is the partisan split in answers. According to Pew, Republicans “strong” prefer the Christmas greeting (63% said so, even when “it doesn’t matter” was included as an option). Among Democrats, 55% said “it doesn’t matter and 28% prefer “Merry Christmas.”

    Read the results here.

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