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Examining how Americans celebrate the Christmas holiday

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How Americans celebrate the Christmas holiday is the subject of an extensive 17 page report that was just released by the Pew Research Center and seen on their website: http://pewforum.org/2013/12/18/celebrating-christmas-and-the-holidays-then-and-now.htm

“Nearly nine-in ten Americans (86%) say they plan to gather with extended family or friends on Christmas or Christmas Eve this year. This type of gathering is common among all demographic and religious groups in the population. Similar shares of those who celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday and those who see it as more of a cultural holiday say they will gather with family and friends on Christmas (89% and 88%, respectively). And even among those who say they do not personally celebrate Christmas, half (51%) say they nonetheless will get together with family or friends on Christmas or Christmas Eve.

“Gathering with family and friends on Christmas was also a common experience for most people when they were growing up. Nine-in-ten Americans (91%) say they were typically gathered with extended family and friends when they were children." Celebrating Christmas and the Holidays, Then and Now, Pew Research Center, 2013, p. 5.

This report states that when asked about the nature of the Christmas holiday “Half of Americans say they see Christmas as a religious holiday, while 32% say that, for them, personally, it is more of a cultural holiday.” (Above citation, p.3)

“Slightly more than half of the public (54%) says that they plan to attend religious services on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day this year. By comparison, about one-third of the public (36%) says that they attend religious services in a typical week. Three-quarters (73%) of people who say Christmas is more of a religious holiday plan to attend religious services either on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day . . . . Women are somewhat more likely than men to say they will attend Christmas services this year (58% vs. 50%), and parents who are currently raising minor children in their household say they will attend Christmas services at higher rates than non-parents (59% vs. 51%). A majority of adults age 30 and older say they plan to attend religious services this Christmas, compared with 46% of adults under 30.” (Above citation, p.4)

“Roughly seven-in-ten Americans say they typically attended Christmas religious services when they were growing up. Younger adults are less likely than older adults to have grown up doing this. Roughly three-quarters of adults age 50 and older say they grew up attending Christmas services, compared with two-thirds of those in their 30s and 40s and 62% of those under age 30.” (Above citation, p. 5)

“When asked to describe, in their own words, what they most look forward to about Christmas and the holiday season, seven-in-ten Americans (69%), including large majorities across a variety of religious groups, cite spending time with family and friends. Smaller numbers say they look forwards to the religious elements of Christmas (11%), to people being happy and joyful (7%), to the Christmas spirit (4%), to Christmas music, decorations and entertainment (4%), and to exchanging gifts (4%). Roughly one-in-twenty Americans (4%) say there is nothing about Christmas or the holidays they look forward to, except perhaps the end of the season.” (Above citation, p.11)

While I know that as many different people read the results of this poll they will get many different interpretations of how Americans celebrate the Christmas holiday, however as I read it, I am glad to see that half of Americans still see the religious/Christian nature of the holiday and they are going to Christian worship services to celebrate it.

I wish all the readers of my articles a Very Merry Christmas and hope they will have a good time celebrating the time when God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to come to earth and become born as a baby in the first stage of completing God’s plan for the spiritual redemption of mankind.

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