The debate over saying “Happy Holidays” versus “Merry Christmas” is seemingly never ending.
While some prefer the former — along with its equally benign counterpart “Seasons Greetings” — others argue that the latter is more pertinent and pointed and that people should simply say it to avoid being so politically correct.
So where, statistically, does the nation fall on this issue? Well, it’s actually quite complicated and it depends on how the question is asked, but the latest poll on the subject might actually surprise those who are wedded to “Merry Christmas.”
The Public Religion Research Institute released new survey results today, which indicate that more Americans are actually more supportive of the benign and general “Happy Holidays” than the definitive “Merry Christmas” greeting.
According to the research, 49 percent of Americans believe that stores and businesses should use the more general phraseology to be respectful of peoples’ diverse faiths, whereas 43 percent disagree with this sentiment.
An additional eight percent didn’t know or refused to answer the question.
Respondents were asked, “Do you think stores and businesses should greet their customers with ‘Happy Holidays’ or ‘Seasons Greetings’ instead of ‘Merry Christmas’ out of respect for people of different faiths, or not.”
Support for “happy holidays” is up five percentage points when compared to 2010, when 44 percent of respondents answered the same way. In that year, 49 percent expressed more support for the traditional “merry Christmas” greeting.
Past polls have found that changing the wording of the question has an impact on the results. The Pew Research Center explained this phenomenon last year when it asked for Americans’ preferences on the “Happy Holidays” vs. “Merry Christmas” debate:
When the question is presented as a choice between “Merry Christmas” and the less religious terms, 57% pick “Merry Christmas” and 27% select the less religious terms. (In this instance, even without “it doesn’t matter” presented as an option, 15% volunteer that they don’t have a preference.)
But when “it doesn’t matter” is added as an option, it draws roughly the same amount of support as “Merry Christmas”; 42% say they prefer “Merry Christmas,” 12% prefer the less religious terms and 46% say it doesn’t matter. There has been almost no change since 2005, when we asked the same question.
So, there you have it. It’s complicated. We thought we’d ask you where you stand on the issue as well, so take the poll, below:
Featured image via ShutterStock.com