Arts & Entertainment

‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘Happy Holidays?' New Jerseyans Don’t Care; Health Tops Residents’ New Year’s Resolutions for 2016

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NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – ‘Tis the season in the Garden State, and as New Jerseyans fit in last-minute holiday shopping, 49 percent do not care how they are greeted by merchants, according to the latest Rutgers-Eagleton Poll.

But about one-third still prefer hearing “Merry Christmas,” while 19 percent want something less religious, like “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings.”

“Almost nine in 10 New Jerseyans celebrate Christmas, but residents without a preference or who want a more generic greeting outnumber those who want ‘Merry Christmas’ by more than 2 to 1,” said Ashley Koning, assistant director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling at Rutgers University. “And though Garden Staters mostly resemble the rest of the country on holiday greeting preferences as we see in national polling, they are slightly less likely than other Americans to choose ‘Merry Christmas’ and are more likely to opt for something less religious.”

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When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, one third of New Jerseyans are procrastinators and have not made a resolution yet. Among those who have, health- and fitness-related promises top the list. Eleven percent mention staying or getting healthy, another 8 percent specify something about losing weight, and 3 percent want to strive for good health, in general. Three percent also hope to quit smoking.

Five percent have made a resolution about money – spending less, as well as saving or making more – while another 5 percent say something about becoming more successful. Other resolutions include becoming a better person (7 percent) and achieving peace and happiness (3 percent).

Results are from a statewide poll of 843 adults contacted by live callers on both landlines and cell phones from Nov. 30 to Dec. 6, 2015. The sample has a margin of error of +/-3.8 percentage points. Interviews were done in English and, when requested, Spanish.

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