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Just Stop Saying 'Happy Holidays' Already. Americans Overwhelmingly Prefer Merry Christmas


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Image Credit: Wikimedia CC/Nick-D

It's that time of year again: pine needles in the carpet, sugar cookies breeding like rabbits, crowded stores, running out of tape after those crowded stores close, and cities covered in bright lights and blanketed in holiday cheer.

But it's also when debates rage over the appropriate greeting for the season. The argument over saying “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” is a time-honored tradition that spans the country...and the internet. If you've ever wondered which season's greeting is most popular in the U.S., wonder no more.

According to a Marist poll commissioned by the Knights of Columbus, Americans prefer saying “Merry Christmas” by a 20-point margin. In an article at CNS News, Knights CEO Carl Anderson is quoted as saying:

"The vast majority of Americans celebrate Christmas and prefer 'Merry Christmas' to a generic greeting.

Celebrating Christmas is a reminder that Christ came into the world out of love for us and to teach us to love one another."

An article at FiveThirtyEight, based on 2010 data from Public Religion Research Institute breaks down the preference by geographic location.

Image Credit: FiveThirtyEight

The Marist poll also finds that 79% of Americans “strongly or very strongly identify the birth of Jesus with the meaning of Christmas,” and 63% “think the meaning of Christmas is strongly or very strongly linked with attending church services.”

But, FiveThirtyEight notes:

There is no orchestrated war against saying “Merry Christmas,” but it is important to recognize that Christmas can be a potent symbol that reflects intergroup tensions and signals exclusion to some Americans.

So, go ahead — say “Merry Christmas!” and tell anyone that anyone who might argue that most of America agrees with you. Oh, and wish them a Happy New Year, too.

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