Substituting “Merry Christmas” with “Happy Holidays” in a public context: Is it inclusive or exclusive? Whether it was a xenophobic or anti-Semitic conspiracy theory or a kitchen-table debate, the topic has been going around for so many decades that it is unclear who, if anyone, is actually waging the “war” for or against Christmas anymore.
But if anyone was going to win this war, it’s probably retailers.
The National Retail Federation reports that consumer spending on gifts, food, decorations, and other holiday items has been trending upward for several years. And the National Christmas Tree Association reported a 20% increase in real tree purchases in 2018 compared to 2017. Fake tree purchases went up too. Meanwhile, some reports signaled a drop in Americans’ charitable giving in 2018.
So business built around Christmas doesn’t appear wounded. But what of its spirit?
Pew Research Center reported that 9 in 10 Americans say they celebrate Christmas, though less than half celebrate it as a religious holiday (Millennials were least likely). And according to another Pew survey, the percentage of Americans who identify as Christian has trended downward, while “those who describe their religious identity as atheist, agnostic or ‘nothing in particular’” has risen.
And all the while, Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” is the top holiday song year after year on Spotify.
Is Christmas something said, something given, or something felt?
If more people enjoy Christmas, but not the Nativity, is traditional Christmas threatened? Or is it just another thing we can all blame Millennials for?
See you on the battlefield.