Fun with Maps 173&174

Happy Holidays to everyone! If you think I should be saying “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays”, you’re right on time for Map 173! This map covers the all important topic of how to address strangers during the holiday season.


A survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute was turned into this fun map by FiveThirtyEight. Apparently, people in the Midwest are the most likely to wish each other “Merry Christmas”. I was raised Lutheran in Minnesota but nowadays I consider myself more of an agnostic that dislikes organized religion. My family (and my wife’s family) celebrates Christmas and will wish each other “Merry Christmas” without issue. When it comes to greeting strangers and having businesses greet their customers, however, I much prefer “Happy Holidays”. There are a variety of religions in our melting pot of a country and not all of them celebrate Christmas. The most obvious examples are Judaism and Islam. I respect all religions and people’s rights to worship how they please but I put my foot down when they try to impart their beliefs on others (especially myself). That is the number one reason I am a “Happy Holidays” proponent. There are plenty of people (Republicans, Evangelicals, Trump-supporters, anti-P.C speech people, etc.) that would have everyone saying “Merry Christmas”. Those people can certainly say it, and I won’t stop them, but I wish they would respect my opinion like I respect theirs.

As you can see in the map, the Northeast is the most likely region to agree with me, potentially because of higher concentration of non-Christians living in that area. The South, surprisingly, is the second most likely despite how religious that region is traditionally. The study also found that some people in non-religious areas like Oregon also prefer to use “Merry Christmas” because it doesn’t carry the same religious meaning to them, instead having a gift-giving and festive get-together context.

I always hope to hear from my readers and today is no different. What do you prefer to say to strangers during the holidays? Take the poll below.

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Keeping with the holiday theme, what is your favorite holiday movie? I have many but my favorites are Die Hard and Home Alone. Yes, Die Hard is a holiday movie. It takes place during a company Christmas party and is absolutely themed despite being a kick-ass action flick starring Bruce Willis and the late Alan Rickman. Home Alone 2 is also a Christmas movie and was the topic of Map 21.


Well, a survey was conducted by to determine each state’s most popular holiday movie by cross-referencing AMC’s list of Top 20 Christmas Movies with Google Trends data from the past decade. The results were, thankfully, released in map form. Take a look at Map 174.

Map 174.jpg

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and Elf are good movies despite not being my favorites. I haven’ralphiet seen Scrooged in several years but maybe it’s time for a re-watch. Animated classics like FrostyRudolph, The Grinch, and Charlie Brown only won seven states, a surprise to me considering their timelessness. A Christmas Story is the favorite in Utah and while it’s definitely not my favorite I do have a lot of respect for the 1983 throwback to the 1940s. Poor Ralphie can be seen in his hideous pink bunny suit 12 times in a row on TBS (if you have TBS, of course) starting tonight at 7pm CST. It’s super cheesy and I do enjoy it. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen Miracle on 34th Street or It’s A Wonderful Life in their entirety in a single sitting. I know that’s like a crime against film but I’m a busy guy. Yes, I’ve seen A Christmas Story at least 15 times but it’s funny. The two aforementioned classics are sad and I don’t have time for that during the holiday season.


What’s your favorite holiday themed movie? Please let me know in the comments below.



“You don’t really know me yet, but you and me are going to be good friends.” ~Santa that sounded like Dumbledore


Bryan Signature 2







Die Hard Image
Ralphie Image


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