Do you believe in the virgin birth? Is Christmas observed as a religious — or a secular — holiday for you and your family?
These are just two of the questions that the Pew Research Center asked respondents in its new study “Celebrating Christmas and the Holidays, Then and Now.”
Overall, nine-in-10 percent of Americans plan to celebrate Christmas this year, but the holiday holds both secular and religious meaning, depending on whom you’re talking to.
Pew found that 51 percent of respondents celebrate Christmas for religious reasons, with 32 percent viewing it as more of a cultural holiday.
When it comes to the virgin birth, which is the centerpiece of the Christmas story and the Christian faith, the vast majority of Americans believe that it unfolded.
When asked, “Do you believe that Jesus Christ was born to a virgin, or don’t you believe this?” 73 percent answered affirmatively (estimated to be more than 229 million people), with 19 percent saying they don’t believe it.
Americans were also asked which Christmas activities they plan to partake in and whether or not they did so as children. While 79 percent of U.S. adults plan to put up a Christmas tree, only 16 percent plan to go caroling.
And 54 percent of respondents plan to attend religious service on Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.
Here is a chart showing some of these activities:
The poll included 2.001 U.S. adults aged 18 and older and was conducted between Dec. 3-8, 2013.
Read the entire study here.
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