Americans overwhelmingly support allowing public Christmas displays at least if they are part of a display that includes symbols of other faiths and holiday traditions, a 2005 Pew Research survey found. More than eight-in-ten (83%) say that displays of Christmas symbols such as nativity scenes and Christmas trees should be allowed on government property, while 11% say that such displays should not be allowed. There is much less support, however, if Christmas symbols are displayed alone on public property: Fewer than half (44%) of Americans say such Christmas-only displays should be allowed, while 27% say that Christmas symbols should only be allowed if Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and other symbols are also displayed, and 12% say it does not matter or express no opinion. White evangelical Protestants are nearly unanimous in their support of public Christmas displays, with 95% saying Christmas symbols should be allowed on government property. Furthermore, a large majority (59%) of evangelicals would allow such displays even if Christmas symbols are unaccompanied by symbols of other traditions. White mainline Protestants (83%) and Catholics (91%) also overwhelmingly support allowing Christmas displays, though fewer among these groups (49% of mainline Protestants and 44% of Catholics) support displaying Christmas symbols in isolation. More than six-in-ten seculars (63%) are comfortable with public Christmas displays, although only one-in-four (27%) says they are acceptable if displayed alone. Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.