Once President-elect Trump vowed to end the war on Christmas and stated that we’re going to say “Merry Christmas” again, a nationwide silent cheer went up as Americans across the country felt the weight of the religious suppression that permeates and fuels political correctness lifted in a very real way.

Americans who felt, almost physically felt, that iron wall lift are mostly Christians and people who identify as Republicans or conservatives.

This religious and political affiliation analysis is backed up by a recent study by PRRI.

PRRI reports:

As the country becomes more diverse and less religiously affiliated, Americans are divided over whether it is more appropriate for stores and businesses to greet customers with “Happy Holidays” or “Seasons Greetings” instead of “Merry Christmas” out of respect for people of different religious faiths: 47% say they should, while 46% say they should not.

Attitudes on this question are largely unchanged over the last six years. This issue sharply divides the public by political affiliation, religious affiliation, and age.

Democrats are more than twice as likely as Republicans to say that stores should use more general greetings such as “Happy Holidays” (66% vs. 28%, respectively). Two-thirds (67%) of Republicans say stores and businesses should greet their customers with “Merry Christmas.” Political independents are about evenly divided with 44% preferring “Happy Holidays” and 48% preferring “Merry Christmas.”

There are stark religious divides as well. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of white evangelical Protestants and close to six in ten (58%) Catholics say stores should say “Merry Christmas” to greet customers. White mainline Protestants are closely divided over whether stores should say “Happy Holidays” (46%) or “Merry Christmas” (48%). A majority of non-white Protestants (56%) and religiously unaffiliated Americans (58%) say stores should say “Happy Holidays” out of respect for people of different faiths.

The generation gap is perhaps the most telling.

PRRI continues:

Two-thirds (67%) of young adults (age 18-29), compared to only 38% of seniors (age 65 and older), say it is better for businesses to greet customers with “Happy Holidays” as opposed to “Merry Christmas.” A majority (54%) of seniors say stores should greet patrons with “Merry Christmas” during the holiday season.

I would be interested in seeing a regional breakdown, as well.  Having moved five years ago from Massachusetts, I have experienced the most glaring cultural differences between New England and the South during the Christmas season.

In Massachusetts, I worked in Boston but lived in a smallish, mostly blue collar town.  In Boston, it was “Happy Holidays” . . . if one dared recognize that there even was a December holiday (or reason to be happy).  Out in my town, it was the general sense that “Merry Christmas” was preferred, but I had to say it first, and the person to whom I said it would look around nervously, blush, and then finally, with a sense of strong defiance or of quiet camaraderie, say “Merry Christmas” back.

In Florida, it was I who was a bit self-conscious at first in saying what I’d always said, “Merry Christmas.”  In Massachusetts it eventually felt like a political statement, a political act of defiance, and I brought that feeling of near-combativeness and of defensiveness with me to Florida.

But here in Florida (I don’t live down in blue Florida), “Merry Christmas” just means “Merry Christmas.”  No one is posturing or making a statement or expressing some secret wish for the first time or shyly admitting that they aren’t all that politically correct in their heart of hearts.  It’s just a warm, heartfelt greeting that one gives and receives with gratitude for the reason for the season.


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