The latest Doodle, to mark Boxing Day, from Google shows an isolated house surrounded by snow, with a star-lit sky as the backdrop. Search engine users around the world greeted by an illustration titled 'Tis the season!'.
The US technology giant has created three Doodles to mark Christmas in the past three two days. Yesterday's Christmas Day Doodle showed traffic in a city with a Christmas tree and festive lights.
Christmas Eve's seasonal greeting showed a one-horse open sleigh dragging along two children, with a snowy background and leafless trees. In its message and in what it depicts, the Doodle avoided any mention of the word Christmas.
The banner heralding Christmas Eve was a relatively rare “global” Google Doodle – meaning that unlike many of the pictures to appear on the search engine’s home page (other than the main logo), it was seen by everyone in the world on 24 December in their time zone.
By linking the day to the phrase “Happy holidays”, Google gives a nod to a worldwide debate – how important a part of Christmas is Christianity?
A national survey released in the US last week revealed that the country is split almost perfectly down the middle on whether or not people should great each other with the phrase “Merry Christmas” at this time of year.
Perhaps unsurprisingly there is a demographic divide on the matter, with traditionalist Republicans and particularly evangelical Protestants most likely to agree that stores and businesses should at least use the word “Christmas” in their branding and greetings.
There is also a big divide along generational lines, however: Nearly two-thirds (66 per cent) of young Americans (ages 18-29) support the use of a non-religious greeting.
The survey, from the Public Religion Research Institute, found that more than a quarter of people in the US will celebrate Christmas as an entirely non-religious event this year. It is a growing trend, mirrored by an 18 per cent drop in the number of people who believe in the historical accuracy of the Christmas story in the Bible.