Is it OK to say 'Merry Christmas'? Most Canadians prefer it to 'Happy Holidays,' poll finds

Canadians utter a hearty “Merry Christmas” as their season’s greeting far more than the culturally neutral “Happy Holidays,” a national public opinion survey says.

And while some respondents who celebrate Christmas said they deliberately avoid the traditional holiday salutation for fear of causing offence, the survey suggests that’s rarely a problem: 92 per cent of respondents who grew up in a non-Christian household said they are not offended by someone sending Christmas greetings.

A full 70 per cent of respondents nationwide said they are more likely to greet someone this time of year by saying “Merry Christmas,” compared to 23 per cent who said they will likely go with “Happy Holidays,” according to a Postmedia-Leger opinion survey examining attitudes on how religion relates to the holiday season.

A minority of the subset of survey respondents who grew up in a Christian household said they deliberately avoid greeting strangers with Merry Christmas for fear of offending them — 29 per cent said they avoided it, and 71 per cent said they didn’t.