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America’s Favorite Holiday Tunes


Nearly half have cut down their holiday shopping lists

West Long Branch, NJ – Nine in ten Americans celebrate Christmas, although far fewer actually attend religious services to mark the event. Americans find the holiday season to be enjoyable more often than not, but nearly half are making cuts to their shopping lists this year due to inflation. The Monmouth (“Mon-muth”) University Poll also asked about the nation’s favorite holiday songs and carols and received a wide range of selections.

While 9 in 10 Americans (89%) celebrate Christmas, less than half that number (42%) usually attend church for a Christmas service. A majority of those aged 55 and older (56%) attend Christmas services compared with 4 in 10 parents under age 55 (40%) and 3 in 10 adults under age 55 who do not have children (31%). Seven years ago, 50% of Americans said they went to church on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.  The poll also finds that “Merry Christmas” is America’s most common holiday greeting, although the number who say it (61%) is down slightly from five years ago (67%). Three in 10 Americans (30%) usually say “Happy Holidays.”

Overall, 41% of Americans find the holiday season to be more enjoyable than the rest of the year while 30% say it is more stressful. Another 27% say the holidays are no different than the rest of the year. These results have been fairly consistent over the past seven years, although “more enjoyable” dipped to 36% last year. Holiday enjoyment correlates with income level, with 3 in 10 who make less than $50,000 a year saying the holiday season is more enjoyable than the rest of the year, compared with nearly half of those who earn more feeling this way.

One-third of the public (33%) enjoys shopping for holiday gifts a great deal or a fair amount while a similar number (36%) do not enjoy this task much or at all. Interestingly, those who earn over $100,000 (45%) are more likely than those who earn less than $50,000 (33%) to say they do not enjoy holiday shopping. Just under half of American adults (46%) report cutting back on their holiday shopping list this year because of high prices, which is a slightly greater number than said the same in 2021 (40%). Those earning less than $50,000 (48%) are only slightly more likely than those earning more than $100,000 (42%) to report cutting back.

“It seems that having enough money to enjoy the holidays doesn’t necessarily mean you also enjoy spending it. Maybe this is because gift-giving expectations are greater among those in higher income levels,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

The poll also asked about the top tunes Americans listen to during the season and finds that just over 4 in 10 can name a favorite Christmas carol or holiday song. In the religious or traditional carol category, Silent Night is the clear leader, with O Holy Night taking the second spot. Carol of the Bells, O Come All Ye Faithful, Joy to the World, Little Drummer Boy, and Mary Did You Know are among the nation’s top 15 traditional carols.

There is less clarity in the nonreligious winter or holiday song category, with nearly two dozen tunes making the list. Of these, All I Want for Christmas, Jingle Bells, and White Christmas take the top spots. Interestingly, All I Want for Christmas is the favorite among those under 55 years old, but White Christmas is the top pick for Americans aged 55 and up. Jingle Bells is the second place finisher in both age groups. Other songs that make the list of holiday favorites include The Christmas Song, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Winter Wonderland, Last Christmas, and Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from December 8 to 12, 2022 with 805 adults in the United States.  The question results in this release have a margin of error of +/- 5.0 percentage points for the full sample. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.


(* Some columns may not add to 100% due to rounding.)

[Q1-11 previously released.]

12.Do you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or none of these holidays? [If YES:Which?]  [Note: Results add to more than 100% because multiple responses were accepted.]

None of these8%7%7%8%4%
(VOL) Don’t know0%1%1%1%1%

13.Which holiday greeting do you usually use at this time of year: Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza, or no holiday greeting at all?

Merry Christmas61%67%
Happy Holidays30%25%
Happy Hanukkah1%<1%
Happy Kwanzaa0%<1%
No holiday greeting at all6%4%
(VOL) Other/depends2%3%
(VOL) Don’t know0%1%

14.Do you usually attend church on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, or don’t you usually attend church as part of Christmas?

Christmas Eve20%24%
Christmas Day11%10%
(VOL) Depends/Both11%16%
Don’t usually attend church46%43%
(VOL) Don’t know1%1%
Do not celebrate Christmas11%6%

15.Do you find the holiday season generally more enjoyable or more stressful than the rest of the year, or is it no different?

More enjoyable41%36%41%44%
More stressful30%29%29%27%
No different27%32%27%23%
(VOL) Both2%2%3%5%
(VOL) Don’t know1%0%0%0%

16A.How much do you enjoy shopping for holiday gifts – a great deal, a fair amount, some, not too much, or not at all?

Great deal15%18%
Fair amount18%20%
Not too much19%17%
Not at all17%19%
(VOL) Don’t know1%1%
(VOL) Do not shop/celebrate8%4%

16B.Have you cut back your shopping list this year because of high prices, or are you purchasing the same amount of gifts as usual? [If CUT BACK:  Have you cut back by a lot or just a little?]

Cut back, a lot27%19%
Cut back, a little19%21%
Same as usual42%48%
(VOL) Don’t know2%2%
(VOL) Do not shop/celebrate10%10%

17.Holiday songs can be traditional carols and religious songs, or non-religious songs about the holidays or winter in general. Do you have a favorite traditional carol or religious song about Christmas? [If YES: What is it?] [LIST WAS NOT READ]

Silent Night12%
O Come All Ye Faithful2%
O Holy Night6%
O Little Town of Bethlehem1%
Little Drummer Boy2%
Joy to the World2%
Carol of the Bells3%
We Three Kings1%
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel1%
The First Noel1%
Mary, Did You Know2%
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing1%
Messiah / Hallelujah Chorus1%
What Child Is This1%
Away In a Manger 1%
Not sure5%
Do not have a favorite carol58%

18.And do you have a favorite non-religious song about the holidays or winter in general? [If YES: What is it?] [LIST WAS NOT READ]

Jingle Bells4%
Jingle Bell Rock1%
White Christmas3%
Baby It’s Cold Outside1%
All I Want for Christmas is You4%
We Wish You a Merry Christmas1%
Let It Snow1%
Winter Wonderland2%
Silver Bells1%
Santa Claus is Coming to Town1%
The Christmas Song (Chestnuts roasting…)2%
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer2%
Frosty the Snowman1%
Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree1%
Last Christmas2%
I’ll Be Home For Christmas1%
Here Comes Santa Claus1%
Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas1%
Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer2%
Feliz Navidad1%
Blue Christmas1%
Happy Holiday1%
Not sure2%
Do not have a favorite holiday song56%

[Q19-29 held for future release.]


The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from December 8 to 12, 2022 with a probability-based national random sample of 805 adults age 18 and older. This includes 281 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 524 contacted by a live interviewer on a cell phone, in English. Telephone numbers were selected through a mix of random digit dialing and list-based sampling. Landline respondents were selected with a modified Troldahl-Carter youngest adult household screen. Interviewing services were provided by Braun Research, with sample obtained from Dynata (RDD, n=590), Aristotle (list, n=152) and a panel of prior Monmouth poll participants (n=63). Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey design, data weighting and analysis. The full sample is weighted for region, age, education, gender and race based on US Census information (ACS 2018 one-year survey). For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 5.0 percentage points (adjusted for sample design effects). Sampling error can be larger for sub-groups (see table below). In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

26% Republican
43% Independent
31% Democrat
49% Male
51% Female
30% 18-34
33% 35-54
37% 55+
64% White
11% Black
16% Hispanic
  9% Asian/Other
69% No degree
31% 4 year degree

Click on pdf file link below for full methodology and crosstabs by key demographic groups.