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Category: Holidays / Topics: Christmas Holidays Holiday Season Statistics Trends

Christmas or christmas?

by Dan Seagren

Posted: December 21, 2019

What kind of holiday is it?…

Dave Granlund

According to the latest Pew Research Center survey, nine out of every 10 Americans celebrate Christmas, but only half of those view it as a religious holiday. Christians didn’t begin celebrating Christ’s birth until the third century A.D. Today, Christmas is one of the most important Christian holidays but only 39 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds surveyed said they considered Christmas a religious occasion, compared with 66 percent of those 65 and older. Yet 96 percent of Christians who celebrate Christmas, only two-thirds of them view it as a religious holiday.

Some Traditions: The hanging of Advent wreaths, Christmas stockings, candy canes, special foods and the creation of Nativity scenes. Traditionally, people decorate their homes with bright, colorful lights and a Christmas tree. Christmas is also celebrated by Villages and Cities with parades and special events and some businesses operate the year around for Christmas. And there are holly jolly towns that love to spread Christmas cheer no matter what season it is. There is Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day on December 26. The latter has a long history of traditions but basically it is a day off work to rest, shop, enjoy leftovers and gifts given in Boxes.

Not only children but adults enjoy the traditions of Santa Claus also known as Father Christmas, St. Nicholas and Kris Kringle. Santa can be found in person in mercantile establishments and visualized elsewhere including riding in a sleigh pulled by reindeer from the North Pole earthward where he lands on roofs, slides down chimneys to place gifts under Christmas Trees when everyone is asleep. Oh the joy experienced by the little ones especially when adored by their loved ones. But this too is changing gradually among families.

Recent research shows that young people are helping drive the increase of the religiously unaffiliated population of the United States. Only 39 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds surveyed said they considered Christmas a religious occasion compared with 66 percent of those 65 and older. One-third of those polled under the age of 30 said they were unaffiliated with any religion does raise a question. Could Santa and/or Christmas eventually fade away someday? If the Baby Jesus, Christmas exhibits, gift giving, family reunions, Santa and related profiteering languish, could there be a renaissance by those deeply in love with Christmas? If so, would this occur with those 18-29 year-olds, those over 65 or with those between 30 and 64??

Dan Seagren is an active retiree whose writings reflect his life as a Pastor, author of several books, and service as a Chaplain in a Covenant Retirement Community.

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Posted: December 21, 2019

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