Santa Claus is a nationally recognized American symbol for Christmas. Jesus Christ is an internationally recognized symbol for Christmas, but slowly losing popularity in American culture.
According to a recent poll by Lifeway Research, a Christian-based company, almost three fourths of American adults say Christmas is quote a "primarily" religious holiday. But God is often left out of the equation. According to the survey, family is the reason for the season.
Among a list of 14 things people do at Christmas, giving gifts to family members is the most common, at 89 percent. 47 percent attend church Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, but 38 percent encourage belief in Santa Claus.
Mark Boyd, president of the Central Valley Association of Atheists and Skeptics says he celebrates Christmas every year. "It's a holiday that friends and family can get together and share some good times."
Dale Oquist, senior pastor at Peoples Church in north Fresno believes there is a morality to Christmas that brings people together, but he also believes the declining popularity of Jesus is a scorecard for Christians. "Instead of saying 'Oh no, society's going downhill' who's supposed to be the change agent? Who's supposed to be displaying Jesus and what the love of God is all about ... well that's on us then."
Oquist says if the world is going to see Jesus at Christmas, Christians need to show Jesus to the world, the other eleven months of the year.