StrategyOne Annual North 'Poll'

Dec 14, 2009, 18:27 ET from StrategyOne

WASHINGTON, Dec. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A recent survey by StrategyOne looking at how America celebrates Christmas has revealed the following:

  • Americans' Christmas trees are more likely to come from a factory and not a forest.
  • Increasingly, families are celebrating the two days of Christmas.
  • Angels narrowly lead stars as America's most popular tree topper.
  • When Americans want to bring holiday cheer to their homes, the majority do it with multi-colored lights.
  • While A Christmas Story has made it to the top of America's must-watch movie list this Christmas, every generation has its own favorite Christmas classics.

Artificial versus Real

Preference for a real tree seems to have eroded over time, according to the North "Poll." Of those planning to put up a Christmas tree (87%), over half (55%) plan to use an artificial tree, 24% will put up the real thing and 8% will get both.

The Northeast appears to be the only region where the real tree is within striking distance of the artificial tree. People living in the Northeast (39%) are less likely to use an artificial tree than people living in other regions of the United States such as the South (59%), Midwest (65%) and West (49%) where over half will use an artificial tree.

The two days of Christmas

For 1 in 4 American households, Christmas is now marked by Christmas Eve and Christmas Day present opening.

Today, 53% of Americans open presents on Christmas Day, 12% open presents on Christmas Eve and 28% do both. According to a Gallup Poll from 1950[1], this is an 18 point decline in the number of Americans opening presents on Christmas Eve. While the number of Americans who open gifts on Christmas Day has remained consistent (52% in 1950 and 53% in 2009), the number of people opening gifts on both days has risen 25 points, from just 3% in 1950.

Angel or star?

Although it is very close, more Americans prefer an angel (44%) on their tree over a star (38%). But, 18-34 year olds (45%) and Hispanics (56%) prefer stars to angels (37% and 30%, respectively).

When we examine the data by income, those households earning over $100,000 per annum, are more likely to have an angel (52%) than a star (27%) on their tree.

Multi-colored versus white lights

When it comes to decorating for the holidays, multi-colored lights (56%) are generally more popular than white lights (33%). However, there is a clear income dimension to white light decorating, starting at $75,000 household income.

Affluent Americans with a household income over $75,000 per annum are significantly more likely to decorate with white lights (50%) versus multi-colored lights (40%). In the $100,000 or more household income group, 50% prefer to decorate with white lights versus multicolored lights (44%).

Every generation has a favorite

When asked what movies or programs they "make a point to watch EVERY Christmas season," the most popular across all generations was A Christmas Story (38%) followed closely by A Charlie Brown Christmas (35%) and the animated version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas (34%).

There is a clearly a generational divide between the young and old. Boomers, 35-44 years old, are most likely to watch A Christmas Story (49%), Charlie Brown (50%) and the Grinch (49%), whereas the 65+ age group are most likely to watch It's a Wonderful Life (42%) and Miracle on 34th St. (42%). Among the youngest generation surveyed, 18-34 year olds, only 16% make a point to watch It's a Wonderful Life and 15% watch Miracle on 34th St.

Will It's a Wonderful Life and Miracle on 34th St. lose their dominance as a younger generation embraces A Christmas Story, Charlie Brown and the Grinch?

About the Survey

StrategyOne conducted a nationally representative telephone survey December 4-7, 2009 among 1,000 adults to assess consumers' opinions about Christmas decorations and traditions.

About StrategyOne

StrategyOne,, is a full-service strategic consulting firm that employs opinion research and advanced media analysis tools to craft evidence based communications strategies for clients. With offices in New York, Washington, London, Paris, Chicago, Silicon Valley and Atlanta, we offer our services on a global scale and with a global perspective.

[1] Gallup Poll [December, 1950] "In your family do you open presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?" 30% Christmas Eve, 52% Christmas Day, 3% Both, 8% No set time. Survey based on personal interviews with a national adult sample of 1,500.

SOURCE StrategyOne