Twice as Many Americans Make a Tradition of ‘A Christmas Story’ than THE Christmas Story

American Bible Society Asks: Are Americans Prioritizing Scrooge and Ralphie Over Jesus?

According to the results of a survey released today, 94 percent of Americans celebrate Christmas. For most, this will be a time for traditions. Whether it is watching a classic movie, reading a Christmas poem or short story, or opening up the pages of Scripture, traditions will play an integral part of their holiday celebrations.

The new survey commissioned by American Bible Society and conducted online by Harris Interactive in November 2013 among more than 2,000 U.S. adults ages 18+ found that while 30 percent make a tradition of watching the 1983 film A Christmas Story and 28 percent look forward to watching a film or TV version of the Dickens classic A Christmas Carol, just 15 percent say reading the Bible’s account of the birth of Christ is part of their holiday traditions.

"There is nothing wrong with enjoying some of the great Christmas films that have been made over the decades," says American Bible Society Chief Communications Officer Geoffrey Morin. "It is just important that Christians don't make holiday celebrations more about Scrooge and Ralphie than about Jesus."

The survey also found that knowledge of the biblical account of Christmas was lacking. Fewer than half of Americans (42 percent) were able to correctly identify what the Bible says brought Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem for Jesus’ birth—reporting for a census. Worse still, just 28 percent of those ages 18-34 knew the right answer.

"Everything we know about Christmas comes from the pages of the Bible," said Morin. "I hope these survey findings will encourage people to take a step back and consider making the biblical account of Christmas part of their celebrations."

American Bible Society

Headquartered in Manhattan, the 197-year-old American Bible Society exists to make the Bible available to every person in a language and format each can understand and afford, so all people may experience its life-changing message. One of the nation's oldest nonprofit organizations, today's American Bible Society provides resources across a variety of platforms enabling first-time readers and seasoned theologians alike to engage with the best-selling book of all time. For more information, visit

Abbreviated Methodology
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of American Bible Society from Nov. 6 – 8, 2013 among 2,051 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Christy Lynn Wilson at 770.813.0000.

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