Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays? New polling shows Americans are pretty much split down the middle on which greeting is most appropriate this time of year.
"Half the country (is) saying we should... call it Christmas and say Merry Christmas and kind of hang on to the explicitly Christian part of the holiday, and half the country (is) saying 'Well, even if most of us are Christians, we should kind of have our rhetoric match the changing reality, out of respect for pluralism, out of respect. It's okay, we'll say happy holidays,'" said Robert Jones, CEO of Public Religious Research Institute.
His team also broke it down along political lines:
- 66 percent of Democrats say "Happy Holidays" is better.
- 67 percent of Republicans say stores should greet customers with "Merry Christmas."
- 48 percent of Independents agree with Republicans.
Nearly early 90 percent of Americans say they're celebrating Christmas this year, but not everyone sees it as a religious holiday.
"About 40 percent of the country says it's a very religious holiday for them. Another 30 percent of the country says it's a somewhat religious holiday and then about a third of the country says they celebrate it but it's not really a religious holiday for them," said Jones.
And when you break it down along political divides? "Yeah, you know, Republicans are twice as likely as Democrats to say that the holiday is a very religious holiday for them," Jones said.
Jones explained the divides we see along greetings at Christmas time are reflective of the overall divides the nation is facing after a bitter election season.
That doesn't mean, however, that families are cancelling their plans to celebrate the season together.
"Very, very few Americans -- only 5 percent -- said they were actually changing their plans to avoid the uncle that they knew they would have a fight with," Jones told CBN News.
Social media is a slightly different story.
"It turns out more than 1 in 10 Americans say they had blocked or unfriended a close friend or family member over the election. When we look underneath that the real split is over gender and partisanship so even though 13 percent of Americans say they did this, 30 percent of Democratic women say they have blocked or unfriended someone," Jones said. Ouch!
The word "holiday" is derived from "holy day" and the Christmas holiday marks the holy day when Christ was born.
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