Poll: More Americans in Holiday Spirit Now than in 2010

Ice skaters glide around the rink beneath Christmas lights at Rockeller Plaza December 4, 2001 in New York City. New York is in full holiday swing as the city attempts to recover from the September 11th World Trade Center attacks. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Mario Tama/Getty Images

A poll surveying the nation’s views of the holiday season finds Americans say the Christmas holidays are more fun now than in the past.

According to the NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll, 58 percent say the holiday season is more fun than stressful this year, compared to 38 percent who say they experience more stress.

Marist Poll observes this outcome is “a turnaround” from 2010 when 59 percent of Americans said the Christmas holidays are more stressful and 38 percent said they are more enjoyable.

In tapping into preferred holiday greetings, the survey finds 56 percent of Americans believe people should say, “Merry Christmas,” while 31 percent say their preferred greeting is “Happy Holidays.”

When Christmas decorating is the topic, 71 percent of Americans say it is more fun than stressful, while 23 percent say the opposite.

According to the poll, 55 percent of Americans will decorate an artificial Christmas tree, 21 percent will have a real one, and 22 percent will not have a Christmas tree at all.

Results of the poll indicate that 82 percent of Americans view the Christmas tree as a secular symbol, while 13 percent perceive it as a religious symbol.

The survey notes that 64 percent of Americans with annual incomes of $50,000 or greater are more likely to perceive the holiday season as fun than stress-inducing. Nevertheless, 49 percent of those earning less than $50,000 per year are still in the holiday spirit, compared to 44 percent who view this time of year as stressful.

Among the things Americans dislike most about the holidays, crowds ranked first in the survey (33 percent), followed by choosing the right gift (16 percent), then gaining weight (13 percent).

Having to spend time with certain relatives and credit card debt both come in at 11 percent on the list of disliked holiday items. Marist Poll notes that in its 2012 survey about the holiday season, 18 percent of poll respondents indicated credit card debt was problematic for them.

When the topic is holiday shopping, 71 percent of Americans say they plan to make at least some of their purchases online, a significant jump since 2014 when only 19 percent of shoppers said they purchased most of their holiday gifts online.

According to the poll, 49 percent of Americans feel confident their personal family finances will continue to be as they are in the coming year, while 37 percent expect them to improve and only 14 percent believe they will be worse.

The entire survey of 1,075 adults was conducted November 28-December 4 via landline and mobile phones. Results are statistically significant within plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.

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