A new survey finds Americans by a wide margin prefer the traditional "Merry Christmas" greeting to the non-specific "Happy Holidays".
The Knights of Columbus-Marist poll found that two-thirds of adults nationally (66 per cent) think people should say, "Merry Christmas," while less than one-third (29 per cent) believe the appropriate greeting is "Happy Holidays".
The proportion that prefers "Merry Christmas" has continued to inch up over the past two years. Last year, 64 per cent thought "Merry Christmas" was the more appropriate greeting while 31 per cent preferred "Happy Holidays". In 2010, the number preferring "Merry Christmas" stood at 61 per cent. Five per cent remain unsure.
"That we prefer 'Merry Christmas' by such a wide margin is indicative of the importance that Christmas has in the lives of the great majority of Americans," said Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight Carl Anderson.
"For that vast majority of Americans who observe Christmas, this day and season are a time for us to celebrate the fact that God exists and is with us.
"Saying 'Merry Christmas' allows us to celebrate that fact with joy and let us share this joy with our loved ones and neighbours."
The Knights of Columbus-Marist poll surveyed 1,246 adults and was conducted from December 4 to December 6.