Christian Retailing

LifeWay Research shows most Americans enjoy Christmas songs Print Email
Written by Christine D. Johnson   
Thursday, 20 December 2012 03:29 PM America/New_York

iStock_000018285367XSmallChristmas songs are seemingly everywhere during the holiday season—and Americans like to hear them. According to a recent study by LifeWay Research, 70% of Americans enjoy hearing Christmas songs in December and 86% of people believe school choirs and bands should be allowed to perform religious Christmas music.

However, in the November 2012 online survey of nearly 1,200 Americans, one in five Americans (21%) said that Christmas music is “overdone” in December, while 7% find it “annoying.”

LifeWay Research Director Scott McConnell was impressed by the results considering how ubiquitous Christmas music is this time of year.

“When seemingly everyone does something, it is sure to grate on someone’s nerves. But 10 times as many people find Christmas music everywhere enjoyable than find it annoying,” McConnell said.

For those who enjoy Christmas music, religious identification and regular attendance at religious services were defining characteristics. More than eight in 10 (83%) Americans who consider themselves to be a born-again, evangelical or fundamentalist Christian say they find the prevalence of Christmas music enjoyable compared to 59% of those who “never” attend religious services.

When it comes to which type of Christmas music Americans prefer, 67% say they enjoy listening to “both secular and religious Christmas songs.” Eleven percent enjoy only “secular Christmas songs” as opposed to 6% who say they like hearing songs only of a “religious” nature. One in 10 Americans say they prefer not to hear any Christmas music.

Demographically, secular Christmas songs are more popular among Americans age 18-29 and those who never attend religious worship services. Twenty-two percent in that age range are most likely to say they enjoy secular Christmas songs and the least likely (50%) of all age groups to say they enjoy both secular and religious Christmas songs.

Americans who never attend religious services are least likely to (45%) enjoy both types of songs. Nineteen percent of this subgroup say they only enjoy secular Christmas songs in December. Americans 65 and over (81%) are the most likely to say they enjoy both types of Christmas songs, and 76% of Americans who self-identified as born-again, evangelical or fundamentalist also say they enjoy both types.

McConnell said secular traditions and religious observance often overlap for Americans at Christmas, but they appear to be “comfortable with this blend when it comes to Christmas music.”

Americans from the South (65%) are more likely to say religious Christmas music should be allowed as compared to those in the West (57%). Weekly attendees to religious services (76%) and Americans who call themselves a born-again, evangelical or fundamentalist Christian (88%) are also more likely to strongly agree that religious Christmas music should be allowed.

Age plays a factor with nearly three out of four Americans 55 years and over strongly agreeing as compared to 60% of those 30-44. The survey also shows men are less likely than women to strongly agree (57% to 66%). 

The most popular Christmas songs downloaded or sold through were classics, including:

1. “O Come, All Ye Faithful”

2. “Joy To The World! The Lord Is Come”

3. “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”

4. “Angels We Have Heard on High”

5. “Christ Has Come”

6. “Silent Night, Holy Night”

7. “O Holy Night!”

8. “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”

9. “Go, Tell On The Mountain”

10. “The First Noel”

11. “Angels, From the Realms Of Glory”

12. “O Little Town of Bethlehem”

13. “Away in a Manger”

14. “What Child Is This”

15. “Joy to the World (Unspeakable Joy)”