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In Canada, Christmas traditions change as fewer people see religion as the reason for the season

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

For most Canadians, Christmas is a time for festivities and fun, where they’ll get together with their families for dinner (89%), set up a tree (77%) and hang stockings (57%).

However, a new study from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds that some traditions are changing, and for many, some of the true meaning of Christmas has been lost.

For example, in 1988, 27 per cent of Canadians said this season was primarily a religious celebration. Today, just one-in-ten (10%) say the same. And while more Canadians today say the season is centered around fun and festivities, rather than faith (53%), the number who believe Christmas is equally about secular joy and religious observance has grown as well (from 28% to 34%).

Whatever they may be doing to celebrate this season, Canadians evidently long for the days of old, away from the commercialization that begins earlier and earlier each year. That said, while seven-in-ten (69%) say that Christmas has lost some of its real meaning, nearly the same number (65%) held this view nearly 70 years ago. Evidently, as time goes by, the nostalgia for a more “traditional” Christmas is one thing that doesn’t change.

More Key Findings:

  • Three-quarters of Canadian adults say they are at least a little excited for the holiday season, while one-quarter are not looking forward to it. Notably, lower-income Canadians are more likely to feel negatively about the season
  • Four-in-five Canadians (82%) say that they prefer to call this season “Christmas” while one-in-five (18%) say they would rather it be referred to as the “Holiday Season”. Interestingly, there are no generational differences on this preference
  • The number of Canadians who will attend a religious service for Christmas this year is half of what it was in Angus Reid’s 1995 Christmas survey (26% down from 53%)

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