Survey Finds Small Majority Prefers 'Happy Holidays' To 'Merry Christmas'

Do you hope it will be a "Merry Christmas?"

Or would you rather someone have a "Happy Holiday?"

Every December, people passionately disagree over which term is appropriate to use. So the Public Religion Research Institute decided to put it to test.

Their findings, which were released Tuesday, indicate a changing preference among Americans, with a substantial generational and political divide.

According to the PRRI/RNS (Religion News Service) survey, 49 percent believe that stores and businesses should use "happy holidays" or another more inclusive term such as "season's greetings" instead of "merry Christmas" out of respect for people of different faiths. Forty-three percent disagreed.

These numbers are flip-flopped from 2010, when 49 percent surveyed preferred "merry Christmas" to "happy holidays." Forty-three percent surveyed back then opted for "happy holidays."

The study found that when broken down by age, 66 percent of those between 18-29 favored "happy holidays," a view shared by only 39 percent of adults over the age of 65.

Republicans surveyed largely want to see businesses and stores tell customers to have a "merry Christmas," while Democrats prefer that shoppers have a "happy holiday." The contrast found by the survey: 61 percent of Republicans favor "merry Christmas"; almost the same amount of Democrats (58 percent) disagree.

The survey was conducted between Dec. 4-12. The 1,056 adults surveyed were randomly selected. For more on the study, click on link on the side of the page.