Given the option of saying they prefer that stores and businesses greet customers by saying “Merry Christmas,” use non-religious terms such as “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings,” or that the choice of greeting really does not matter to them, a plurality (45%) choose this last alternative. Only 42% say they prefer “Merry Christmas,” while 12% prefer less religious terminology. Most striking is the age difference in preferences for holiday greetings. Only among those ages 65 and over, does a majority (64%) opt for “Merry Christmas.” That preference declines across younger age groups with only 28% of those under age 30 opting for the Christmas greeting while roughly six-in-ten say the choice of greeting doesn’t matter to them. Several other groups stand out for their strong preference for the Christmas greeting. Even when explicitly offered the opportunity to say this issue doesn’t matter, majorities of white evangelical Protestants (73%) and Catholics (53%) say they prefer “Merry Christmas.” Read More

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