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A majority of British Columbians and Albertans will send cards, but fewer plan to attend a religious service.

Vancouver, BC – Most residents of British Columbia and Alberta have been busy buying gifts and putting up decorations, but fewer are planning to attend a religious service this holiday season, a new Insights West poll has found.

In the online survey of representative provincial samples, most Western Canadians (93% in British Columbia and 90% in Alberta) say they will celebrate Christmas during the holiday period. However, British Columbians are more likely to observe New Year’s Eve (72%) than Albertans (65%).

This holiday season, about nine-in-ten Western Canadians will buy gifts for friends or family (90% in BC, 89% in AB), and more than seven-in-ten (71% in BC, 75% in AB) will put up a Christmas tree at home as well as lights and decorations (74% in BC, 72% in AB).

About two thirds of Western Canadians will watch Christmas movies (72% in BC, 68% in AB), and play Christmas music in their car or home (72% in BC, 65% in AB). Three-in-five will bake Christmas goodies (60% in BC and AB) and send Christmas or holiday cards (61% in BC, 57% in AB)

Other preferred activities for the season are visiting local outdoor Christmas light displays (54% in BC, 48% in AB), hosting a Christmas dinner or party (44% in BC and AB) and attending a holiday concert, play or show (43% in BC, 38% in AB).

More than a third of Albertans (37%) will attend a religious service during the holiday season, compared to about one-in-four British Columbians (23%). Conversely, British Columbians are more likely to visit a Christmas market (37%) than Albertans (27%).

“While gifts, decorations, cards and music are practically universal across Western Canada, the numbers drop drastically when it comes to religious service attendance,” says Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs, at Insights West. “In fact, British Columbians are almost twice as likely to attend a holiday play than a church or temple.”

Helping others also has a place for Western Canadians during the season, with 49% of British Columbians and 45% of Albertans planning to make a financial donation to charity, and about one-in-six (15% in BC, 13% in AB) volunteering at a charity.

Roughly the same proportion of residents in both provinces (15% in BC and 18% in AB) will take a picture with Santa, while the “ugly Christmas sweater” fad is more popular in British Columbia (14%) than Alberta (6%).

About Insights West:

Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company. It exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary.

About this Release:

Results are based on an online study conducted from December 10 to December 15, 2015, among a representative sample of 803 British Columbian adults and 604 Albertan adults. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.5 percentage points for BC and =/- 4.0 points for Alberta. Click to view the detailed data tabulations for BC and Alberta.

For further information, please contact:

Mario Canseco
Vice President, Public Affairs, Insights West


Photograph: Donnie Ray Jones