Are you happy this Christmas season? A lot would depend on your definition of happiness, I suppose. If you're relying on what you might get under the tree to make your season bright, a survey indicates you are looking in the wrong place.

Britain's University of Warwick (search) had 57 men and 44 women complete a complex questionnaire and they found that "religious people are happier than those without spirituality in their life."

In other words, if stuff is your reason for the season, when the stuff goes, your happiness disappears with it.

This survey again demonstrates the disconnect between culture and reality. Most media people don't attend church or synagogue, and worship an authority no higher than the economy, politics and their erogenous zones. Real people have different priorities. Most in the media and consumer culture elevate materialism and feelings above spiritual and relational things, while most outside that culture have the opposite priorities.

The director of the British survey, psychologist Stephen Joseph (search), said of the results, "It seems those who celebrate the Christian meaning of Christmas are, on the whole, likely to be happier. The research shows that too much materialism in our lives can be terrible for happiness."

Ponder that as you ponder other things. And save those receipts. Most stores have a return policy? And that's Column One for this week.

What do you think? Send your responses to: afterhours@foxnews.com.

Cal Thomas is America's most widely syndicated op-ed columnist. He joined Fox News Channel in 1997 as a political contributor. His latest book is "What Works: Common Sense Solutions for a Stronger America" is available in bookstores now. Readers may email Cal Thomas at tcaeditors@tribune.com.