Two thousand Brits aged between 21and 38 were polled for the study by the booking website hotels.com.
Thirty-nine per cent of those questioned could not identify the infant born in the manger and slightly fewer, thirty-seven per cent, looked blank at the names Mary and Joseph.
Half did not know that the Angel Gabriel told Mary she was going to be a mother.
Fewer than 10 per cent of those questioned could name the three gifts brought by the wise men of frankincense, gold and myrrh.
Asked how the Nativity story would be brought up to date, 15 per cent would replace the Three Wise Men with Three Wise Women, 10 per cent would have a unicorn instead of a donkey and 10 per cent said Gabriel would appear to Mary via Instagram.
As for other Christmas traditions, 46 per cent said their Christmas dinner would consist of pizza or vegan food instead of turkey.
The study follows news that a Nativity scene was initially banned in a Scottish shopping centre, with bosses saying they wanted to be “religiously neutral”.