Twice as many say Merry Christmas as say Happy Holidays

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Twice as many say Merry Christmas as say Happy Holidays

Few say Season's Greetings

TORONTO DECEMBER 18th, 2014 - In a random sampling of public opinion taken by the Forum Poll™ among 1001 Torontonians 18 years of age and older, 6-in-10 use the seasonal greeting "Merry Christmas" most often (60%), compared to just 3-in-10 who use "Happy Holidays" (29%). Just one twentieth say "Season's Greetings" (5%). Saying Merry Christmas is most common among the oldest (72%), those in mid income groups ($60K to $100K - 67%), in Scarborough (69%), the least educated (70%), those who voted for Doug Ford in the recent mayoral election (71%) and PC voters provincially (75%). Those least likely to say Merry Christmas include residents of the downtown (48% Merry Christmas, 40% Happy Holidays), the best educated (post grad - 49%) and Olivia Chow voters (41%). Those who do not celebrate Christmas are most likely to say Happy Holidays (54%) and less likely to say Merry Christmas (20%). These non-celebrants are also more likely to say Season's Greetings (10%) than others.

More celebrate Christmas than say it

As many as more than 8-in-10 celebrate Christmas in Toronto (86%), despite the fact fewer will say Merry Christmas (60%). Just 1-in-7 do not celebrate the holiday. Not celebrating is common to the youngest (18%), the least wealthy (24%), residents of North York and East York (19% each), those with some college (19%), and Chow voters (19%).

Christmas mostly about family, not religion or shopping

Most Torontonians say Christmas is mostly about family (59%), rather than about religion (19%) or shopping and parties (15%). Family is especially important at the holidays to the mid aged (45 to 54 - 66%) and the oldest (64%) and provincial Liberals (64%). Those who see religion at the centre of Christmas are most likely to be the oldest (23%), mid income groups ($40K to $60K - 26%), the least educated (24%), Ford voters (25%) and provincial PC voters (23%). Those who do note celebrate Christmas are equally likely to say it is about family (34%) or shopping and parties (37%). Poorer neighbourhoods and those getting poorer are more likely to say Christmas is about shopping and parties (20% and 22%, respectively).

6-in-10 have not finished Christmas shopping, 2-in-10 haven't started

Just more than a third have finished their Christmas shopping (37%) and 6-in-10 have not started or have not finished (60%), and this is made up of 4-in-10 who have started but not finished (40%) and one fifth who haven't even started (20%). One twentieth of those who celebrate Christmas do no Christmas shopping (4%). Those who have not started shopping tend to be mid aged (35 to 44 - 24%), lower income (less than $40K - 31%), those who use transit most often (25%), te least educated (32%), renters (25%) and in neighbourhoods that are less wealthy (30%) than others or are getting less wealthy (25%).

Almost half will shop online this Christmas

Close to one half of Torontonians who celebrate Christmas will do (or have done) Christmas shopping online (46%), and this is characteristic especially of the youngest (54%), the wealthiest (60%), those who drive to work or school (50%), resident of the downtown (57%) and Etobicoke (51%), university graduates (52%) and post grads (60%), those with children under 18 (50%), Tory (52%) and Chow voters (55%).

"If there is a war on Christmas, Christmas won, and twice as many say Merry Christmas as use the closest secular alternative. The diversity of Toronto is understated in the proportion who celebrate Christmas; it is clear many non-religious people, including non-Christians, celebrate the holiday, if not religiously or with family, at least in shopping and parties," said Forum Research President, Dr. Lorne Bozinoff.

Lorne Bozinoff, Ph.D. is the president and founder of Forum Research. He can be reached at or at (416) 960-9603.