Poll: Americans say religious aspects of Christmas emphasized less than in the past

Poll: Americans say religious aspects of Christmas emphasized less than in the past
According to a new Pew Research Center survey, 56 percent of respondents said the religious parts of celebrating Christmas are less prominent now than in the past, while another 30 percent said there hasn’t been a change. (2015 file photo/Jean Christophe Magnenet/AFP/Getty Images)

Americans say the religious aspects of celebrating Christmas are declining and are emphasized less now than in the past, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

What did the survey find?

According to the survey, 56 percent of respondents said the religious parts of celebrating Christmas are less prominent now than in the past, while 12 percent said they are emphasized more. Another 30 percent said there hasn’t been a change.

Most say religious parts of Christmas are now emphasized less, but relatively few are bothered by it

Most Americans said they celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday, including 46 percent who said it is more of a religious holiday than a cultural holiday and 9 percent who said they will celebrate Christmas as both a religious and a cultural holiday. Thirty-three percent said they celebrate Christmas as more of a cultural holiday.

A slim majority — 51 percent — said they will attend a church service for Christmas, while 45 percent said they will not.

The vast majority of Americans said they will gather with family and friends for the holiday.

Half of Americans plan to attend church on Christmas

A majority of Americans still believe that the biblical Christmas story reflects events that actually took place, although Pew noted this majority is declining.

Declining majority of Americans believe biblical Christmas story reflects historical events

The poll also found that a majority believes that Christian displays like nativity scenes should be permitted on government property during the Christmas season, either on their own or accompanied by symbols of other faiths. Another 26 percent said the displays should not be permitted on government property.

Fewer now say Christian displays should be allowed on government property without representation from other religions

‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘Happy Holidays’?

Over half of Americans say a business’ choice of seasonal greetings doesn’t matter to them, 32 percent said stores should greet customers by saying “Merry Christmas” and 15 percent said “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings.”

About half say it ‘doesn’t matter’ how stores greet customers for holidays