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December 21, 2009
By Jodie Allen, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
Sharing the view of the majority of U.S. News readers (judging by the "Are the Holidays Too Secular?" vote when I checked it recently), about half of Americans (52 percent) say they are bothered at least to some degree by the commercialization of Christmas. This, according to a 2005 Pew Research Center poll, includes 26 percent who say that they are bothered by it a lot.
But most Americans, whatever their preferences for holiday celebrations and public displays thereof, are not highly concerned about the matter. When given the option of hearing "Merry Christmas" or a less religious greeting—like "Happy Holidays"—in stores and businesses, Americans do choose Merry Christmas by a 60 percent-to-23 percent margin. But when specifically given "doesn't matter" as an option, a 45 percent-plurality express no preference for how they are greeted during the holiday season—42 percent want Merry Christmas and 12 percent prefer the less religious greeting.