The Public Religion Research Institute just released some interesting data about the ongoing "merry Christmas" vs. "happy holidays" debate known in some circles as the war on Christmas. A few of the greeting-related highlights of their poll included the following:
- 47% of Americans believe businesses should greet customers with "happy holidays" or "season's greetings" instead of "merry Christmas" out of respect for those of us who are not Christians; 46% reject this.
- People between the ages of 18 and 29 were more likely to prefer inclusive greetings; those 65 and over preferred "merry Christmas."
- Republicans preferred "merry Christmas;" Democrats preferred "happy holidays."
Nothing too shocking there, although I was somewhat surprised to see that only 58% of those without any religious affiliation (e.g., the "nones") preferred a more inclusive greeting over "merry Christmas." Then again, I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. After all, I have long suspected that the vast majority of atheists living in the U.S. celebrate Christmas. And why not? 89% of those polled said that they were celebrating Christmas, and an increasing number said they were treating it as a secular holiday. There is no reason atheists cannot celebrate Christmas if they wish to do so (and there is no reason they should celebrate Christmas if they would prefer not to do so).
Only 4% of those surveyed reported that they are not celebrating any holidays in December. I suppose I'll claim them as my people and start referring to myself as a 4-percenter. Maybe I'll get a "4%" tattoo and go around flashing 4 fingers at people like a gang sign. I'm only kidding, of course. It wouldn't make much sense to take pride in not celebrating something I don't enjoy.