Monday, December 12, 2005

Is there a war on or not?

Thanks, everyone, for your thoughtful responses to my Reader’s Challenge.  I’ve got a few ideas of where to look now to see whether there really is a war on Christmas.

To give you a taste of what’s to come, I’ve done some extremely preliminary looking around and have the following information to offer.  For the moment, I won’t attempt to draw any conclusions.

Step One:  Basic Demographics.  For an excellent study on religious demographics in the United States, check out American Religious Identification Survey 2001 by Ariela Keysar, Barry Kosmin, and Egon Mayer of the City University of New York.  In 2001, the breakdown was as follows:

Christians 76.5% (down from 86.2% in 1990).
Jewish:  1.3%
Muslim:  0.5%
Buddhist:  0.5%
U/U:  0.4
Hindu:  0.3

Step Two:  A First Look at Retailers’ Websites.

Target – searches on their website
39152 match(es) for "christmas"
302 match(es) for "chanukah"
913 match(es) for "hanukkah"
236 match(es) for "ramadan"
286 match(es) for "solstice"
252 match(es) for "kwanzaa

1604 match(es) for "nativity"
177 match(es) for "menorah"

102 match(es) for "seasons greetings"
601 match(es) for "happy holidays"

Walmart – searches on their website
7921 items found for “christmas”
77 items found for “kwanzaa”
203 items found for “chanukah”
203 items found for “hanukkah”
77 items found for “kwanzaa”
19 items found for “ramadan”
68 items found for “solstice”
16 items found for “seasons greetings”
153 items found for “happy holidays”

Step Three.  Basic Internet Searches.

I did some basic googling to see whether people on the Internet are feeling censored.  Here were my results:

“merry Christmas”                        9,400,000
“happy Chanukah”                             89,400
“happy Hanukkah”                           305,000

Christmas                         300,000,000
kwanzaa                             3,470,000
"winter solstice"                        1,870,000
Ramadan                             5,890,000
Hanukkah                             7,070,000
Chanukah                             2,450,000

“seasons greetings”                        1,050,000
“happy holidays”                      18,900,000

Step Four:  A search of a government website:  (I’d write more but my dear doctor-wife is telling me to hurry up!)

City of Atlanta
34 instances of Christmas (many having to do with the City Hall Christmas tree or recycling of Christmas trees after the holidays)
0 of Chanukah
0 of Hanukkah
0 of Ramadan
0 of Kwanzaa
0 of solstice
95 of “happy holidays”

More to come…..


  1. wow. Perhaps you should write an article to submit to the Associated Press on this. I'm sure it would be interesting to see to looks on the hyper-evangelics' faces to find that they are not so censored after all. Even my dad agrees that they are going too far with this one....

  2. WOW, HOw did you get all of this information??? I mean its not like you can just google it...