The Secret Society of Happy People Announces What Makes Us Happiest About the Holidays

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Find out the results of the Secret Society of Happy People's What Makes Us Happiest About the Holidays Poll

Seeing friends and family make the holidays happiest.

Seeing Friends and Family is overwhelmingly the happiest part of the holidays securing 69.5% of the votes in the Secret Society of Happy People’s What Makes You Happiest About the Holidays Poll.

“The fact that the happiest thing about the holidays is seeing friends and family isn’t surprising since our relationships are one of the most important factors in determining a person’s happiness,” says Society Founder Pamela Gail Johnson.

The 249 poll respondents could select as many items as applicable for them from a list of 18 options and the Top Ten What Makes Us Happiest About the Holidays are:

Seeing Friends & Family: 69.5%
Festive Atmosphere: 58.2%
Giving Presents: 55.4%
Holiday Music, Movies & Theater: 43.8%
Religious Meanings & Celebrations: 43.4%
Holiday Food, Feasting & Parties: 43.4%
Decorating: 36.9%
People Seem Nicer: 33.3%
Cooking: 31.3%
Time Off Work: 30.5%

The fewest votes went to:

Traveling: 9.2%
Shopping & Holiday Deals: 10.0%
When It’s Finally Over: 13.3%

“The overall responses to the poll reflect that the happiest things about the holidays have to do with the sharing and interactions we have with others,” says Pamela, “Which is also what makes us happy the rest of the year too.”


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Secret Society of Happy People Highlights

Founded: August 1998

Purpose: The Secret Society of Happy People encourages the expression of happiness and discourages parade-raining. Parade-rainers are those people who don't want to hear your happy news. And no, we don't tell people to be happy if they aren't or how to be happy.

Creed:         As a member of the Secret Society of Happy People I will:

Recognize happiness with the same enthusiasm as I do unhappiness,
Encourage others to share their happiness,
Don’t unnecessarily rain on other people’s parades.

Members: Thousands from around the world in more than 34 countries

History: The Society gained international recognition in December 1998 when it challenged Ann Landers for discouraging people from writing happy holiday newsletters to enclose with their holiday cards.

Since then the Society has:

  •     Announced the Happiest Events and Moments of 1998-2011
  •     Identified the Thirty-one Types of Happiness
  •     Declared August and August 8th as Happiness Happens Month & Day

Nineteen governors sent proclamations in 1998

  •     Organized HappyThon, the first online social media event to promote happiness
  •     Organized voting for the Happiest Events, Inventions and Social Changes of the Century
  •     Host Hunt for Happiness Week the 3rd Week of January

     Seven governors sent proclamations in 2006

The Society has been featured in People Magazine, Newsweek and Time, and has been included in stories in Reader’s Digest, Prevention, Ladies Home Journal, Harpers, Yoga Journal, SELF, Redbook, Glamour, and New Age Journal. Founder Pamela Gail Johnson was on Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher.

Hundreds of print and broadcast outlets throughout the world have covered the Society, including CNN, The Associated Press, USA Today, Good Morning America (ABC), The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Dallas Morning News, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and Los Angeles Times. Parade named the Happiest Events, Inventions and Social Changes of the Century as the “Best List of the Century.”

A few websites that have linked to the Society include:, Good Housekeeping,, and USA Hot Site.

The Society has been included in Think You’re the Only One?, 365 Health and Happiness Boosters, Voices of Truth, Every Day’s a Holiday Calendar, Chase’s Calendar of Events, and Trivial Pursuit’s 1990’s Edition includes a question about Admit You’re Happy Day.

Pamela Gail Johnson has been an Luminary in 2009-2012.

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