5 Attitudes Americans Hold About Christmas

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Christmas is coming, like it or not. Here's a look at how Americans feel about the holiday.

Ready or not, here comes Christmas.

Whether you’re worried about wishing someone “Happy Holidays,” “Seasons Greetings” or “Merry Christmas,” or wishing the whole thing would go away, the celebration likely affects you, says the Pew Research Center.

The nonpartisan think tank that studies issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world released five facts about Christmas in America by looking at polls and analyses and other research.

1. It’s religious, and it’s not

More than 9 in 10 Americans and nearly all who identify as Christian celebrate Christmas in America, a Pew Research Center survey found. What surprised researchers, though, is that more than 8 in 10 Americans who identify as non-Christian also celebrate Christmas. That includes about 1 in 4 Buddhists and Hindus and 1 in 3 Jews, who acknowledged having Christmas trees in their homes. Overall, about half of Americans say they celebrate Christmas as more of a religious holiday, while nearly 1 in 3 say it is more of a cultural holiday, Pew reported.

2. Say it as you like

Nearly half of American shoppers say they don’t care if they’re greeted with “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays,” Pew found. While 4 in 10 prefer “Merry Christmas,” only 1 in 10 prefer “Happy Holidays.”

3. Put the holiday on public display

Americans are split on what’s appropriate for Christmas holiday displays on public property, Pew researchers found. Just more than 4 in 10 say it’s OK, regardless of whether other faiths are represented, too. Nearly 1 in 3 say Christian displays should be permitted only with symbols from other religions. Only 2 in 10 would ban Christian symbols on government property.

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4. We believe the reason for the season

Most Americans largely believe the Christmas accounts are historically accurate, say researchers. More than 7 in 10 say Jesus was born to a virgin; 8 in 10 believe he laid in a manger; nearly 3 in 4 say wise men, guided by a star, brought Jesus gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh; and that same number agree an angel of the Lord appeared to shepherds to announce Jesus’ birth.

5. It’s a time for gifts, but …

Nearly 9 in 10 Americans buy Christmas gifts for family or friends, Pew says, but we have mixed attitudes about the purchases. About 8 in 10 say gift giving and receiving make them feel generous and joyful, but nearly half say it makes them feel stretched financially and more than 1 in 3 feel stressed out about them.

What’s your attitude toward Christmas? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

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