The PJ Tatler

Bah! Humbug: Only 1 in 5 Kids Believes in Santa Claus

Paul Bedard of The Washington Examiner points us to this recent Pew Poll that reveals an interesting fact about parents today, and how they celebrate Christmas.

Just one in five children believe in Santa Claus. Only seven in ten parents plan to “pretend” that St. Nick will visit their house on Christmas Eve.

There appears to be a strong correlation between Christmas traditions that parents took part in as children and how their families celebrate Christmas today. But there are some exceptions:

The way Americans celebrate Christmas present is rooted in Christmases past. Fully 86% of U.S. adults say they intend to gather with family and friends on Christmas this year, and an identical number say they plan to buy gifts for friends and family. Roughly nine-in-ten adults say these activities typically were part of their holiday celebrations when they were growing up.

But fewer Americans say they will send Christmas or holiday cards this year than say their families typically did this when they were children. The share of people who plan to go caroling this year also is lower than the share who say they typically did so as children. And while about seven-in-ten Americans say they typically attended Christmas Eve or Christmas Day religious services when they were children, 54% say they plan to attend Christmas services this year.

Other key findings of the survey:

Among the religiously unaffiliated, 87% say they celebrate Christmas, including 68% who view Christmas as more of a cultural holiday.

Roughly eight-in-ten Americans (79%) say they plan to put up a Christmas tree this year. By comparison, 92% say they typically put up a Christmas tree when they were children.

Nearly six-in-ten Americans say they plan to give homemade gifts this holiday season, such as baked goods or crafts. There is a big gender gap on this question; two-thirds of women (65%) plan to give homemade gifts, compared with 51% of men.

Those who celebrate Christmas as more of a religious event are much more apt than those who view it as a cultural occasion to say they will attend religious services this Christmas (73% vs. 30%) and to believe in the virgin birth (91% vs. 50%). But on other measures, the differences in the ways the two groups will mark the holidays are much smaller. Roughly nine-in-ten in both groups will gather with family and friends and buy gifts this Christmas, and identical shares of each group will pretend to get a visit from Santa Claus on Christmas Eve (33% each).

In general, you could say that Americans today may see Christmas as a less magical time than they did when they were children. They also see it as a more secular holiday, but still a time to gather with friends and family.

I suppose it doesn’t matter how the rest of us celebrate Christmas. All that matters is that you and yours have a happy and safe holiday season.