Happy Holidays! Christmas Is America’s Favorite Holiday

    NEW YORK , N.Y. – October 12, 2011 – Americans often gather with family or friends for holidays, taking part in rituals and traditions as diverse as eating special dishes, watching a football game, gift giving or reciting meaningful prayers and songs. Holidays occur throughout the year but Americans don’t look forward to each with the same amount of anticipation. When asked to think about all the holidays that occur during the calendar year and say which one is their favorite, Christmas came out on top for U.S. adults, followed by the uniquely American holiday of Thanksgiving. Third on the list is Halloween.

    These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,462 adults surveyed online between September 12 and 19, 2011.

    Rounding out the top five favorite holiday list is another patriotic day as Fourth of July comes in at number 4, followed by the Christian celebration of Easter at number 5. The second half of the top ten list is dominated by non-religious holidays with New Year’s at number 6 and the bookends of summerm Memorial Day and Labor Day, at 7 and 8 respectively. And, the number 9 most popular mention when Americans were asked to name their favorite holiday is a different day for everyone as many people responded with my birthday! Tied for number ten on the list are Valentine’s Day and the Jewish celebration of Hannukah – the only non-Christian religious holiday to make the top 10 list for Americans.

    Favorites for Different Groups

    It seems American preferences do not vary too much in terms of favorite holidays – the top two favorites for every generation as well as both men and women are Christmas (1) and Thanksgiving (2). However, the third favorite holiday does vary somewhat: younger adults, Echo Boomers aged 18-34 and Gen X aged 35-46, both have Halloween as their third favorite, as do women. Older adults-Baby Boomers aged 47-65 and Matures aged 66 and older-as well as men – rank the American Independence, or Fourth of July, as their third favorite holiday.

    So What?

    There are many holidays – religious, secular, personal and patriotic – that occur during the calendar year. While all Americans may not observe each one, everyone has at least a few days that they look forward to. And, even if a particular holiday is not one that you personally celebrate, those days can be good times to visit with family or friends, possibly have a day off from work, and maybe even learn about someone else’s traditions. Happy holidays!

     

    TABLE 1

    FAVORITE HOLIDAY

    Thinking of all the holidays that occur during the calendar year, which one would you say is your favorite?

    Unprompted Responses

    Base: All adults

     

    2011

    Christmas

    1

    Thanksgiving

    2

    Halloween

    3

    Fourth of July

    4

    Easter

    5

    New Years

    6

    Memorial Day

    7

    Labor Day

    8

    My Birthday

    9

    Valentine’s Day

    =10

    Hannukah

    =10

     

    TABLE 2

    TOP 5 HOLIDAYS AMONG VARIOUS GROUPS

    Thinking of all the holidays that occur during the calendar year, which one would you say is your favorite?

    Base: All adults

    Generation

    Gender

    Echo Boomers (18-34)

    Gen X (35-46)

    Baby Boomers (47-65)

    Matures (66+)

    Male

    Female

    Christmas

    Christmas

    Christmas

    Christmas

    Christmas

    Christmas

    Thanksgiving

    Thanksgiving

    Thanksgiving

    Thanksgiving

    Thanksgiving

    Thanksgiving

    Halloween

    Halloween

    Fourth of July

    Fourth of July

    Fourth of July

    Halloween

    Fourth of July

    Fourth of July

    Halloween

    Easter

    Halloween

    Easter

    Easter

    Easter

    New Years

    Halloween

    New Years

    Fourth of July

     

    Methodology

    This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between September 12 and 19, 2011 among 2,462 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

    All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words margin of error as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

    Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

    These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

    The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

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    Q955

    The Harris Poll® #107, October 12, 2011

    By Samantha Braverman, Sr. Project Researcher