'Merry Christmas' vs. 'Happy holidays' - New York News

'Merry Christmas' vs. 'Happy holidays'

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

It's the time of year when you hear it everywhere you go: "Merry Christmas" and "Happy holidays." What do you prefer to say: the more religious "Merry Christmas" or the more inclusive "Happy holidays" greeting this time of year?

A new poll by the Public Religion Research Institute shows nearly half of Americans prefer to say "Happy holidays" or "Season's Greetings" instead of "Merry Christmas" out of respect for people of different faiths. That is up from past years.

Your political affiliation may influence your choice: 61 percent of Republicans prefer "Merry Christmas" while 58 percent of Democrats like to say "Happy holidays" instead.

Another study this one from Pew Research found for many Americans Christmas has lost its religious meaning. Instead the holiday is seen just as a time to visit family and exchange gifts. Only half of the people polled said they consider Christmas a religious holiday, even though more than half of those same people consider themselves believers.

It seems how you feel about the meaning of Christmas depends on your age. The research found people 65 and older were more likely to consider Christmas religious while only 40 percent of adults under the age of 30 do.

Fewer of us are sending Christmas cards and fewer than that plan on caroling this year, childhood traditions that grownups are practices less and less. If you're not sure what to do try this:  The next time you see someone, tell them "Merry Christmas" and "Happy holidays."

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