Abacus Data's 1st Annual – Celebrating Christmas Survey

As Christmas quickly approaches, we thought it would be fun to ask Canadians their thoughts on Christmas.  The results reported below are from a national survey conducted from December 2 to 4, 2011.

Here’s a quick Q&A about the survey.  The full tabs are available below.

Do Canadians  say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” when greeting people this time of year?

When asked which greeting they are most likely to use when they greet someone this time of year, three in four Canadians we surveyed said they would likely say “Merry Christmas” as opposed to “Happy Holidays” (17%) or Seasons Greetings (3%).

Is Christmas a secular or religious holiday for most Canadians who celebrate it?

Of those who said they celebrate Christmas, 40% said they celebrate it as a religious holiday while 52% said they celebrate it as a secular holiday.

Do they decorate their house and when is it appropriate to do so?

84% of Canadians who celebrate Christmas will decorate their house this year.  Most Canadians (63%) believed that December 1st is the day most appropriate to start putting up Christmas decorations and turning on the Christmas lights.  The next most popular days were December 15 (16%) and November 15 (14%).  Five percent said we should decorate right after Thanksgiving.

When should Christmas lights be turned off after Christmas?

Canadians are split on this question.  45% believe that lights should be turned off on January 1st while 44% believe it should be January 15th. Five percent want the lights on until February 1st while 3% believe they should burn until spring.

Canadians’ Favourite Christmas carol and movie?

Silent night tops the charts at 32% followed by White Christmas 18%, Drummer Boy (10%) with honourable mention to Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (7%) and We Wish You a Merry Christmas (7%).

Miracle on 34th Street tops the favourite Christmas movie list (19%) followed closely by How the Grinch Stole Christmas (14%), It’s a Wonderful Life (12%), and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (12%).  Die Hard was last on the list with only 4% identifying it as their favourite (and they aren’t all men).

Will Canadians be spending more or less on gifts this holiday season?

Christmas is not immune to the tough economic times.  Only 9% of Canadians surveyed said they would be spending more this holiday season on gifts, compared with 30% who said they would be spending less and 54% who said they would be spending about the same.

Download the tabulations.


From December 2 to 4, 2011, Abacus Data Inc. conducted an online survey among 1,004 randomly selected Canadian adults from an online panel of over 150,000 Canadians.

Since the online survey was not a random, probability based sample, a margin of error could not be calculated.

The margin of error for a survey of 1,004 respondents using a probability sample is  +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.

Results of the survey were statistically weighted by gender, age, region, language, and immigration status using census data from Statistics Canada and by past vote using Elections Canada results from the 2011 General Election. Totals may not add up to 100 due to rounding.

These questions were posed as part of the Abacus monthly Omnibus.