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Canadians desire traditional — but not necessarily religious — Christmas celebrations: poll

A poll from the Angus Reid Institute recently asked Canadians if and how they celebrate Christmas.
A poll from the Angus Reid Institute recently asked Canadians if and how they celebrate Christmas. Global News / File

Do you feel the holidays have lost some of their traditional charm? According to a new poll, you’re not alone.

The Angus Reid Institute released a survey on Thursday that showed Canadians are increasingly seeing Christmas as a less religious holiday than in years past. There’s also a longing for more traditional celebrations, the poll found.

The results come from an online survey conducted from Dec. 2 to 4 and featuring from a randomized sample of 1,655 Canadian adults who are members of the Angus Reid Forum. The study was self-commissioned and paid for by the Angus Reid Institute.

According to the survey, 69 per cent of Canadians feel Christmas has lost some of its meaning and become too commercialized, while only a quarter of those polled say they will attend a religious service at the holiday, down from more than 50 per cent two decades ago.

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Concerns about commercialism, however, are nothing new. According to the Angus Reid Institute, data from way back in 1953 showed a similar percentage of Canadians felt the holiday had lost its meaning in favour of shopping and spending.

Christmas remains the most popular holiday in Canada, with 92 per cent of survey respondents saying they celebrate the holiday in a religious or secular way. In a distant second place are people who celebrate the winter solstice at 15 per cent, while other religious and cultural holidays like Chinese New Year, Hanukkah, Diwali and Kwanzaa were in the single digits.

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The poll did not specify respondents’ religious beliefs, but Christianity remains Canada’s largest religion. According to 2011 census data, 67 per cent of Canadians adhere to a Christian religion.

The study found more than half (55 per cent) of older Canadians view Christmas as at least partially religious, while younger generations were far less likely to associate it with anything faith-based.

The survey also asked about holiday stress, and the data suggested lower-income Canadians are less likely to look forward to this time of year due to money worries, with about half saying the holidays are too expensive. Anxiety, loneliness and family conflict were also reasons for holiday dread, the poll found.

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On a less serious note, a total of 28 per cent of those polled said they still believe in Santa Claus.

Click to play video 'Dalnavert Museum: A Christmas Carol' Dalnavert Museum: A Christmas Carol
Dalnavert Museum: A Christmas Carol