What's it all about? Why do we celebrate Christmas, anyway? And what are you hoping to get?

Those were the questions Paria Group, a Orem-based marketing research firm, set out to answer this season. The answers just might surprise you. The national survey involved respondents ages 3 to 92.Why do we celebrate? One-fourth of the children age 10 and under do not know why we celebrate Christmas. Two-thirds of all respondents said Christmas is celebrated because of the birth of Jesus Christ. Another 8 percent men-tioned that we celebrate for other religious reasons; 6 percent said because it's tradition, and 5 percent did not know.

What do you want for Christmas? Respondents described a wide variety of gifts they would like, but a fourth said they wanted peace and health more than material things. At the time of the survey (Thanksgiving week) 24 percent did not know what they wanted, while only 8 percent wished for toys. Other items mentioned included compact disc players, cash, cars and clothing. Approximately 7 percent said they just want to be with family.

Better or worse? When asked if this Christmas would be better than last year 40 percent of the respondents said yes while 12 percent are facing a worse year. Reasons why Christmas will be better or worse include the economy, changes in the family, health and whether they will be with family.

Children took a more optimistic approach than adults. Nearly 53 percent of children 10 and under said it would be better, compared with 26 percent of adults ages 61 and older.

Regionally, Westerners are the most optimistic about the holiday, followed by those in the Midwest, the North and the South.