Americans often gather with family or friends for holidays, taking part in rituals and traditions as diverse as eating special dishes, watching a football game, gift giving or reciting meaningful prayers and songs.
Holidays occur throughout the year but Americans don’t look forward to each with the same amount of anticipation.
When asked to think about all the holidays that occur during the calendar year and say which one is their favorite, Christmas came out on top for U.S. adults, followed by the uniquely American holiday of Thanksgiving. Third on the list is Halloween.
These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,462 adults surveyed online between September 12 and 19, 2011 by Harris Interactive.
Rounding out the top five favorite holiday list is another patriotic day as Fourth of July comes in at number 4, followed by the Christian celebration of Easter at number 5. The second half of the top ten list is dominated by non-religious holidays, with New Year’s at 6 and the bookends of summer, Memorial Day and Labor Day, at 7 and 8 respectively. And, the number 9 most popular mention when Americans were asked to name their favorite holiday is a different day for everyone as many people responded with “my birthday”! Tied for number ten on the list is Valentine’s Day and the Jewish celebration of Hannukah—the only non-Christian religious holiday to make the Top 10 list for Americans.
Favorites for Different Groups
It seems American preferences do not vary too much in terms of favorite holidays – the top two favorites for every generation as well as both men and women are Christmas (1) and Thanksgiving (2). However, the third favorite holiday does vary somewhat: younger adults, Echo Boomers aged 18-34 and Gen X aged 35-46, both have Halloween as their third favorite, as do women. Older adults—Baby Boomers aged 47-65 and Matures aged 66 and older—as well as men – rank the American Independence, or Fourth of July, as their third favorite holiday.
There are many holidays – religious, secular, personal and patriotic – that occur during the calendar year. While all Americans may not observe each one, everyone has at least a few days that they look forward to. And, even if a particular holiday is not one that you personally celebrate, those days can be good times to visit with family or friends, possibly have a day off from work, and maybe even learn about someone else’s traditions. Happy holidays!