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Christmas 2.0, 2019

Christmas, 2019
Christmas 2.0

According to recent polls, 9 out of every 10 Americans celebrate Christmas, including 8 out of 10 non-Christians, with most viewing it as a cultural holiday rather than a religious occasion. Though the role of religion in Christmas celebrations is declining, two-thirds (66%) of Americans believe that Jesus was born to a virgin, 57% of all adults still believe that the biblical elements of the Christmas story reflect actual historic events, including an angel appearing to shepherds to announce the birth of Jesus, and that three wise men were guided by a star to the manger where Jesus was born. As the religions of the U.S. landscape has become more diverse, and with 20% of adults becoming unaffiliated with any organization of worship, the percentage of people in the U.S. celebrating Christmas has remained virtually unchanged.

Roughly 90% of all people who celebrate Christmas will gather with family and friends and buy gifts this Christmas, and 18% of parents whose children do not believe in Santa choose to pretend to get a visit from St. Nick.

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According to the Statista Research Department, Christmas is by far the most popular holiday, racking up votes of 46% of the population as number one, with 19% preferring Thanksgiving and 9% Halloween. Other holidays fall  far behind. 79% say that they plan to put up a tree this Christmas. This is down significantly from the years ending the 20th century when 92% adults remember having a tree as a child. According to earth911.com, real trees are economically and ecologically favored over artificial trees in that though more expensive, the investment in purchasing a U.S. based product vs. a foreign product (artificial trees are mostly made in China), the carbon-neutral nature of their production, and the ease of recycling of real trees, makes them America’s clear choice for holiday adornment. Other holiday traditions remembered from childhood don’t fare so well. 81% of those surveyed said their families typically sent holiday cards during their childhoods, while only 65 percent said they planned to do so this year, and only 16 % said they would go caroling (compared with 36 percent who said they caroled during their childhood).*

According to according to Britain’s top coach and psychoanalyst Steve McKeown, putting up Christmas decorations early can improve your mood, “In a world full of stress and anxiety, people like to associate with things that make them happy, and Christmas decorations evoke strong feelings of childhood.”

“More generally speaking,” considers Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholar Matt Killingsworth, “...if we used the holiday season as an excuse to routinely spend more time sharing meals, playing games and connecting with our friends and family, our happiness on a typical day  might begin to look a lot like Christmas.”

Enjoy a singularly wonderful holiday!

* Pew Foundation Study