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Half of America strips religion from Christmas

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Nine out of 10 Americans do Christmas and three-quarters believe in the biblical account of Jesus' birth — but only a little more than half actually regard the holiday primarily as a religious celebration.

More than one-third say it's more a cultural holiday, a new poll from Pew Research's Religion & Public Life Policy found.

The poll also found that generational differences in how Christmas is celebrated abound. Younger adults generally see the holiday through less religious lens than older Americans. And those under the age of 30 are far less likely to attend a religious service as part of the holiday celebration.

Still, tradition plays a major role in how Americans celebrate the holiday. Eighty-six percent of adults say they will celebrate with friends and families — and the same number say they'll trade gifts. Ninety percent say that's how they celebrated in their growing up years.

But not so many are sending out Christmas cards or greetings — and that's a deviance from what was normal in past generations. Meanwhile, caroling is on the decline, too.

By the numbers: About 74 percent said they attended religious ceremonies during their growing up years to celebrate Christmas. Only 54 percent say they will do so now.

The survey was conducted Dec. 3-8 and included a representative sample of 2,001 adults.

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