Americans by 2:1 Margin Prefer "Merry Christmas" to "Happy Holidays"

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Nearly two-thirds prefer traditional religious greeting

K of C-Marist Poll Finds Most Americans Prefer Merry Christmas

A new survey finds Americans by a wide margin prefer the traditional “Merry Christmas” greeting to the non-specific “Happy Holidays.”

This Knights of Columbus-Marist Poll found that nearly two-thirds of adults nationally – 64% – think people should say, “Merry Christmas,” while less than one-third – 31% – believe the appropriate greeting is “Happy Holidays.” Four percent are unsure. The proportion that prefers “Merry Christmas” increased slightly this year. Last year, 61% thought “Merry Christmas” was the more appropriate greeting while 35% preferred “Happy Holidays.” Five percent, at that time, were unsure.

“That we prefer ‘Merry Christmas’ by such a wide margin is indicative of the importance that Christmas has in the lives of the great majority of Americans,” said Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. “For that vast majority of Americans who observe Christmas, this day and season are a time for us to celebrate the fact that God exists and is with us. Saying ‘Merry Christmas’ allows us to celebrate that fact with joy, and to share our joy with our loved ones and neighbors.”

The meaning of Christmas has long been important to the Knights of Columbus. For more than five decades, the Knights have been at the forefront of the campaign to “Keep Christ in Christmas,” producing PSAs with the “Keep Christ in Christmas” message since the 1980s. Last year the radio and television PSA spots reached almost 75 million people. The PSAs can be accessed at  

This Knights of Columbus-Marist Poll surveyed 1,026 adults and was conducted November 8th through November 10th, 2011 and has a margin of error within +/- 3 percentage points.