A large minority of Americans believe that there is a “War on Christmas” taking place in the United States, with Baby Boomers being the most likely to believe that the Christian holiday is under attack.
According to a recent poll conducted by YouGov, 42 percent of Americans agree with the statement that “No other religion has their religious holidays attacked or persecuted to the same extent Christians do.” By contrast, 28 percent of respondents disagreed with the statement.
“People who are 55 and older are especially likely (50%) to agree with this, while millennials ages 18 to 34 tend to be split: 34% agree, while 30% disagree,” noted YouGov.
When asked outright if there is a “War on Christmas” taking place in the United States, 39 percent of respondents agreed, 33 percent disagreed, and 21 percent neither agreed nor disagreed.
Critics of the “War on Christmas” narrative include the liberal group Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which labeled the concept “bogus.”
“Do you want a cookie for saying ‘Merry Christmas’? Christianity is still not under attack if some people would rather say, ‘Happy Holidays,’” noted Americans United in a 2016 piece.
“The ironic part of this ‘War on Christmas’ debacle is that so many Religious Right folks swear they’re being victimized by a country where a growing number of people are adopting a secular outlook, while insisting that there’s only one proper way to celebrate Christmas – their way.”
The YouGov poll also found that nearly two-thirds of Americans (64 percent) preferred to say “Merry Christmas” over “Happy Holidays.” This preference for overt religious messages also influenced shopping.
“When it comes to retail experiences, 45% of Americans say they are more likely to purchase from a business if the business’ seasonal branding is overtly Christian (items say ‘Merry Christmas,’ use nativity scenes and crosses as decoration, etc.),” continued YouGov.
“Only 33% say they would be more likely to buy from a retailer whose seasonal branding is overtly secular (items that say ‘Happy Holidays,’ images of snowmen and gift boxes as decoration, etc.).”
Findings for the poll came from online survey data conducted on Dec. 5-6 and based off of a sample of 1,268 U.S. adults, aged 18 and above.
Over the past several years, many have argued that there has been a “War on Christmas” in America, pointing to a range of examples from manger scenes being removed from public property to businesses using “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”
The socially conservative group the American Family Association annually releases a “Naughty or Nice” list of retailers, their placement being determined by the extent to which they recognize Christmas in their signage and ads.
“There are secular forces in our country that hate Christmas because the word itself is a reminder of Jesus Christ,” stated AFA President Tim Wildmon. “They want to eradicate anything that reminds Americans of Christianity. That is why it is important to remind both governments and corporations to keep the word Christmas alive. AFA wants to keep Christ in Christmas and Christmas in America."
On the "Naughty" list this year are Nordstrom, Old Navy, Best Buy and Family Dollar, among others.
On the "Nice" list are Walmart, JCPenney, Michael’s, TJ Maxx and Zappos.com, among others.
“A decade ago, some stores routinely used the word ‘holiday’ to remain ‘politically correct.’ But we know that Americans want to hear greetings of ‘Merry Christmas!’ in their favorite stores," said Wildmon. "It’s been gratifying to see the list become a success and see that some stores have taken this message to heart.”