Holiday emphasis continues shift from religious to secular

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas eve and Christmas Day traditionally have the best church attendance of the year, but even those numbers are dropping as Millennials see it more and more of a cultural event and less and less as a Christian holiday.

According to Pew Research, 90 percent of Millennials say they they participate in Christmas, but only four in 10 say they do so mainly as a religious holiday, according to a 2013 holiday.

Older generations, in contrast, are more likely to say they celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday, attend religious services for Christmas and believe Jesus Christ was born of a virgin.

In contrast, 43 percent of Millennials say Christmas is more of a cultural holiday, about the same as a religious holiday.

Baby Boomers, for example, are more than twice as likely to see Christmas as primarily religious (56 percent) than cultural (26 percent).

Half of Millennials said they did not plan to attend religious services on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, compared to 41 percent of Boomers and 35 percent of Silent generation members.

In addition, while a quarter of Millennials say they do not believe Jesus Christ was born to a virgin, about one-in-five or fewer among older generations say the same.

Many of the differences disappear when it comes to the cultural parts of Christmas, with Millennials celebrating at the same or even higher rates than older generations, according to Pew.

About 90 percent of Millennials say they planned to buy gifts for friends or family, higher than the 79 percent of Silent generation and 86 percent of Baby Boomers who said they planned to do so.

Millennials are also at least as likely as their elders to say they planned to attend a gathering with extended family or friends, put up a Christmas tree or go caroling.

The trend doesn't hold true for Christmas cards, however, by only 57 percent of Millennials planning to do so, compared to 76 percent of the Silent generation, 68 percent of Baby Boomers and 65 percent of Generation Xers.

Christmas is the Christian holiday most ingrained in Western civilization, whether or not those who celebrate it acknowledge its roots.

Judging from the numbers, however, those who are tasked with sharing the good news have their work cut out for them.

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