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Christmas Poll: Family Beats Out Celebrating Christ as Most Enjoyable

Retailers are gearing up for the heavy holiday rush of shoppers this final Saturday before Christmas.
( [email protected] ) Dec 22, 2006 06:58 PM EST

Retailers are gearing up for the heavy holiday rush of shoppers this final Saturday before Christmas. It's typically the busiest shopping day of the year, the National Retail Federation reports. But the majority of Americans won't be looking under the tree to enjoy the Christmas season.

A new Gallup poll found what Americans most enjoy about the holiday season is spending time with friends and family – 61 percent of Americans agree. Everything else falls far short of family time.

The second most frequent response with just 13 percent is the holiday spirit and that people seem to be friendlier at this time of year. Following in third is religious observances and the celebration of the birth of Christ. Only 8 percent of Americans listed the religious aspect of Christmas as what they most enjoy.

Time off work, giving gifts, decorations, good food, music, shopping, when it's over, and festivities were listed less frequently, respectively.

When asked what they least enjoy about the holiday season, 28 percent listed the commercialization of the holiday; 18 percent said buying gifts and shopping; and 12 percent said the financial costs associated with it.

Below the top three are crowds, hectic schedules, stress, traffic, winter weather, religious reasons, too much work, traveling, dealing with family, overeating, loneliness, and having to go to work, in that order.

The same poll, however, revealed that up to 55 percent of Americans consider holiday shopping a "joyful experience" that they look forward to rather than a "chore" that they have to put up with. A majority of women (60 percent), compared with half of men, called it a joyful experience.

Results from the survey are based on telephone interviews with 1,003 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Nov. 27-29.