Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays? Most People Don’t Care

Morning Consult Illustration

Most people, regardless of their religious affiliation, aren’t bothered by companies explicitly acknowledging the Christmas holiday or businesses that stay neutral, according to a recent Morning Consult poll.

Sixty-six percent of U.S. adults polled said it’s appropriate for store employees to say “Merry Christmas” to customers, compared to 8 percent who think it’s inappropriate. That’s similar to the 61 percent who said it’s appropriate for staff to wish shoppers “Happy Holidays,” while 13 percent said such well wishes are inappropriate.

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When it comes to advertisements, 66 percent of respondents said its appropriate for companies to use “Merry Christmas,” and 61 percent said the same about “Happy Holidays.” Slightly more people said it was inappropriate for companies to advertise with “Happy Holidays” versus “Merry Christmas” — 12 percent and 8 percent, respectively.

Among respondents who identify with a religion, 72 percent of Christians and 61 percent of non-Christians said it’s appropriate for associates to wish customers a “Merry Christmas.” Sixty-two percent of Christians said it’s appropriate to say “Happy Holidays” to customers, compared with 60 percent of non-Christians.

When it comes to where respondents choose to shop, stores and businesses advertising with “Merry Christmas” do not overwhelmingly affect customer shopping habits, suggesting that debate over whether there’s a war on Christmas isn’t translating into significant revenue gains or losses for retailers. Thirty-nine percent of people polled said Christmas-facing advertising would have no impact on their choice of retailer, including 31 percent of Christians and 49 percent of non-Christians.

This poll was conducted among 1,605 adults from Dec. 1 through Dec. 2. Is has a margin of error of 2 percentage points. Toplines are available here and crosstabs are available here.

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