By Aaron Earls
While some public school officials may be wary of wishing students a “Merry Christmas,” a new survey finds Americans are as supportive as ever.
The latest Rasmussen poll found 76% of Americans say schools should celebrate Christmas. Around 1 in 7 (16%) disapprove and 8% aren’t sure.
African Americans (86%) are more likely to support public schools celebrating Christmas than whites (74%).
Rasmussen also found that Americans are likely to side with Jesus over Santa, when forced to choose between the two symbols of Christmas.
Two-thirds of Americans (68%) say Christmas should be focused more on Christ than Mr. Claus, while 16% want to emphasize Santa and 15% are undecided.
In 2018, Lifeway Research found a similar percentage of Americans (65%) say, “Christmas should be more about Jesus.”
That was down, however, from 2014 when 79% said the same.
Similar numbers disagreed in 2014 and 2018 (18% and 19% respectively), but the percentage who said they were unsure jumped from 3% to 16%.
“Saying Christmas should be more about Jesus is a little like saying Thanksgiving should be more about giving thanks. It’s in the name of the holiday,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of Lifeway Research.
“Yet it appears there is less cultural expectation for celebrations of the Christmas holiday to include the religious aspect.”
Recent Pew Research studies have found a similar trend.
In 2017, 9 in 10 Americans say they celebrate Christmas, but fewer than half (46%) say they see it as a religious holiday—down 5 percentage points from 2014.
From 2014 to 2017, fewer Americans said they planned to attend church as part of their seasonal celebrations (54% to 51%) and believed Christian symbols like nativity scenes should be allowed on government property if unaccompanied by other symbols (44% to 37%).
AARON EARLS (@WardrobeDoor) is online editor of Facts & Trends.