Christmas Is Big. Bigger Than Christianity — And Donald Trump

A cheery Santa Claus painted by Art Thou on a store window in Oakland, CA, 2016. Christmas is bigger than Christianity. Photo by Barbara Newhall

Christmas is big. And so is this cheery Santa Claus painted by a local artist on a holiday store window in our neighborhood. Photo by Barbara Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

Christmas is big — bigger than Christianity. And it’s getting bigger.

Our decades-old World Book Encyclopedia devotes four dutiful pages to Christianity — and nine luscious full-color spreads to Christmas. Copyrighted 1994, our family’s set of books sits on a shelf within reach of our dining room table. There, it was a handy reference in our pre-cell phone days whenever a dinner table conversation veered

The Parrocchia church spires in San Miguel de Allende, where Christmas is big. Photo by Barbara Newhall

The Parrocchia church spires in San Miguel de Allende, where Christmas is important, and so is Christianity. Photo by Barbara Newhall

into a debate over, say, which came first, Hannibal crossing the Alps? Or Alexander crossing the Hellespont?

(Hannibal made his journey in 218 BCE. Alexander began his conquests 116 years earlier, in 334 BCE. But you knew that already, didn’t you?)

Christianity’s Popularity Gap

And now, with the digitization of everything, the popularity gap between the religion and the holiday yawns even wider. A Google search for “Christianity” at this writing produced about 117 million results. It took the Google crawlers exactly 0.58 seconds seconds to come up with that list.

“Christmas” takes Google a whole lot longer to search — .76 seconds. That’s because Christmas scores a blockbuster 1.73 billion results.

Christmas 1.73 billion. Christianity 117 million.

Back in 1994, if the pages of our World Book are any indication, Christmas was a little more than twice as meaningful to seekers of knowledge as Christianity. Today,

Christmas is big in a 1994 World Book Encyclopedia layout for the holiday. Photo by Barbara Newhall

Christmas got a nine-page spread in our 1994 World Book Encyclopedia.

Christmas is big - bigger than Christianity in the 1994 World Book Encyclopdia. Photo by Barbara Newhall

Christianity got much simpler coverage. Photos by Barbara Newhall



Christmas is leaving Christianity in the dust: It’s got 15 times the Internet mentions of Christianity.

To put things into a 2016 popularity contest perspective, my search for “Donald Trump” brought up a 419 million results in 0.73 seconds when I Googled him. For the record, that means that during the third week of Advent, 2016, the media celeb turned pol was a bigger inspiration than Christianity. No surprise.

But, hooray for Christmas. The holiday has got the hotel mogul beat — by a smashing four-to-one margin.

Until he decides to cross the Hellespont.

More Donald stories at “Jesus Was a Loser. Does That Make Trump a Winner?”  More Christmas at “Witnessing to the Light With Tinsel and Rudolph.”



  1. Jim Falconer says:

    Barbara – Maybe the standard for true importance in life is not popularity. After twenty-odd centuries, Jesus is still the one who can transform human lives. We will wait and see what Mr. Trump does to affect human lives. I doubt it will last 20 years, let alone 2000 years.

    Jim Falconer ( the Michigan one )

    • Hi Jim, Yes, At first, I thought you were the Pacific Northwest Jim, and I was surprised to hear an endorsement of Jesus coming from that direction! I totally agree with you that popularity on the Internet says little about one’s worth. And it is indeed striking how one man, born so long ago, endures today, changing everything! A merry, blessed Christmas to you!

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