Today, the number of Americans celebrating Christmas now exceeds 90%. At the same time, however, the number of self described atheists has drastically risen. So is Christmas becoming more of a cultural holiday than it is a religious one?
According to a poll by the Pew Research Center, 70.6% of Americans identify as Christian and 90.1% say they celebrate Christmas. Americans who are unaffiliated, agnostic, or atheist make up 29.9% of the population. This means that more and more non-religious people are beginning to celebrate the traditionally Christian holiday. The reason for this is simple. Since the founding of The United States, a majority of people have identified as Christian in faith, and because of that, Christmas was officially declared a national holiday in 1870. That means that almost every store and school across the nation is shut down, leading some people to celebrate the holiday because of the bandwagon effect. Foreigners immigrating to the United States say that they begin to celebrate that holiday for the same reason atheists do, which is not because of religion at all, but because they simply like the idea of giving and receiving gifts.
“They should be able to do whatever they want.” Said Maisie Kissinger, a student at Perkiomen Valley High School.
The country is divided on whether it is acceptable for non-Christians to celebrate Christmas.
Jenna Cortez says, “It is not ok, they don’t believe in Jesus and it’s his birthday.” This has been the main argument used by Fox News. They claim that people who just celebrate the holiday for the gift giving are not honoring it’s true purpose and therefore should not be celebrating it at all.
Bella Gallo, a 9th grader, had a similar view on the topic, “If they’re just doing it for the gifts, then no” they should not be able to celebrate christmas.
As of 2016, 51% of Americans still believe that Christmas is more of a religious holiday than the 32% who think it is more of a cultural event. And 65.5% of Americans believe all four elements of the original Christmas story. That means that not even every Christian believes in the original tale of Jesus.
“They should not be able to [Celebrate Christmas]” Said Lauren Gwilliam, a member of the Perkiomen Valley Soccer Team.
Although the majority of the nation still believes Christmas should still be strictly for Christians, the number of people who are beginning to celebrate the holiday for the cultural aspect still goes up.
Whatever the case may be, 83% of America says they find the Holidays to be a Joyful Time.