Which States Prefer to Say ‘Happy Holidays’ or ‘Merry Christmas’?

Data researchers attempt to put an end to the perennial question of which holiday season phrase is more popular.

12.25.15 6:00 AM ET

The longest-running battle in the goofy, cable-news-concocted “War on Christmas” has been over whether people should say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays.”

Bill O’Reilly made the latter phrase a bugaboo for millions of American viewers who say they take offense at the ubiquity of its holiday-neutral tone—especially when such wording shows up at their favorite corporate retail outlet.

And Donald Trump has made it a campaign promise that when he is president, Americans will only say “Merry Christmas”—none of that secular, liberal “holiday” junk.

But what do average Americans actually prefer to say?

Using geo-tagged Twitter data from across the U.S., data researchers for online artificial Christmas-tree seller Treetopia attempted to determine which holiday greeting is the most popular in each state.

Unsurprisingly, it is the so-called Bible Belt states that overwhelmingly prefer “Merry Christmas,” while highly populated coastal blue states are wont to say “Happy Holidays.”

Where We Always Say ‘Merry Christmas’

Georgia leads the “Merry Christmas” pack with 65.5 percent of users preferring the traditional phrase. Behind the Peach State is, shocker, Alabama (65.1 percent), Kentucky (62.4 percent), South Carolina (61.4 percent), and Louisiana (59.8 percent).

Where We Always Say ‘Merry Christmas’

Conversely, California leads the “holidays” crowd with 68.9 percent preference. Shocker, once again: New York comes second with 68.2 percent, followed by Illinois (67.2 percent), Oregon (66.8 percent), and Massachusetts (66.2 percent).

Interestingly, a slight majority (51.1 percent) of users from Texas, of all places, prefer “Happy Holidays.” Blame Austin, perhaps?