WASHINGTON, Dec. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Nine-in-ten Americans say they celebrate Christmas, and three-quarters say they believe in the virgin birth of Jesus, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. But only about half see Christmas mostly as a religious holiday, while one-third view it as more of a cultural holiday. Virtually all Christians (96%) celebrate Christmas, and two-thirds see it as a religious holiday. Fully eight-in-ten non-Christians also celebrate Christmas, but most view it as a cultural holiday rather than a religious occasion.
The way Americans celebrate Christmas present is rooted in Christmases past. Fully 86% of U.S. adults say they intend to gather with family and friends on Christmas this year, and an identical number say they plan to buy gifts for friends and family. Roughly nine-in-ten adults say these activities typically were part of their holiday celebrations when growing up.
But fewer Americans say they will send Christmas or holiday cards this year than say their families typically did this when they were children. The share of people who plan to go caroling this year also is lower than the share who says they typically did so as children. And while about seven-in-ten Americans say they typically attended Christmas Eve or Christmas Day religious services when they were children, 54% say they plan to attend Christmas services this year.
The survey also finds significant generational differences in the way Americans plan to celebrate Christmas this year, with younger adults less likely than older adults to incorporate religious elements into their celebrations. Adults under age 30 are far less likely than older Americans to say they see Christmas as more of a religious than a cultural holiday. They are also less likely to attend Christmas religious services and to believe in the virgin birth.
These are among the key findings of a Pew Research survey conducted Dec. 3-8, 2013, among a representative sample of 2,001 adults nationwide.
Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. It does not take policy positions. Its Religion & Public Life Project seeks to promote a deeper understanding of issues at the intersection of religion and public affairs.
SOURCE Pew Research Center