Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays? How about Who Cares?

An Editorial

This is my favorite time of year. I love finding presents for people, wrapping them up, and then watching their faces when they see what I got them. I love listening to Christmas carols and putting up and decorating Christmas trees. I love watching Christmas movies and eating Christmas candies. I love re-reading the Biblical tale of Jesus’s birth, the Virgin mother, the shepherds, and the wise men. I love the spirit of the season… celebrating charity, peace, and goodwill.

You know what I don’t love? People who get upset and offended by well-wishers because they didn’t wish them well “correctly”. I am, of course, talking about the “Happy Holidays” vs. “Merry Christmas” debate. I am just sick of it.

You would think that the time of year where we all get together as a family and celebrate peace on earth would be the one time of year we would all set aside our differences and just enjoy the season. But no. I guess some people have to be upset over something at all times or else they will, like, die or something.

This may blow your mind, but I use both terms. Regularly. I use Happy Holidays at the beginning of the holiday season because it is much faster and easier to say that than to laboriously recite “Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and if you celebrate Hanukkah or Kwanzaa have a happy one of those, too”. About a week before Christmas, I will usually switch to Merry Christmas because I am now specifically wishing people a Merry Christmas – that is the big holiday approaching.

Either way, all I am trying to do is spread some seasonal good cheer. No need to be an Ebeneezer Scrooge about it. Why get upset?

I do know and understand why both camps get up in arms… but if you really think about it, neither one makes sense when you look at the facts. The Happy Holidays people worry that saying “Merry Christmas” to non-Christians would be offensive to their sensibilities, because Christmas is a Christian holiday. The Merry Christmas people say that “Happy Holidays” is part of a nationwide War on Christmas, which, in turn, is part of the big liberal conspiracy to ban Christianity.

I’ve already addressed the big liberal conspiracy thing, but more to the point, the so-called War on Christmas is a load of bull. Christmas has never been stronger. It is a huge, integral part of our nation’s culture. Christmas shopping is the #1 time of year for retailers. Our own president was seen Christmas shopping yesterday. Christmas songs are played on radios nonstop this time of year, to the point that it has become sort of a joke, and many, many bands have Christmas albums of their own. Our cable channels are playing Christmas movie marathons. Houses across America put up Christmas lights and Christmas trees. And on this most important holiday, churches are packed. The Daily Telegraph reports that yuletide church attendance is actually on the rise.

So, no “Happy Holidays” does not represent some kind of threat to Christmas. But you know what? Neither is “Merry Christmas” an offense to non-Christians. Millions of Jews, atheists, nonreligious people, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and Scientologists celebrate Christmas. Children of non-Christian parents insist on getting their presents from Santa, dang it! Christmas has become a major holiday in such not-at-all Christian countries as India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, and Taiwan. Those who do things like put up anti-Christmas billboards are basically desperate for attention because they are such a tiny minority, even among atheists. There is no need to start renaming Christmas trees “holiday trees” to be inclusive.

So, let’s just give it a rest already and enjoy the season. Cozy up to the fire, unwrap presents, sing carols, and enjoy time with family. And no matter if people want to wish you a “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays”, just reply with a smile and a “Same to you”.

Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays to all, and to all a good night!

5 Responses to Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays? How about Who Cares?

  1. Aaron Bevan says:

    Enough already. I just say those phrases cuz thats what I learned to say and respond with. I don’t know I said it though. Thanks man. Ab

  2. AuntLeesie says:

    I’ve noticed this more in 2011 than any previous year, and have been “corrected” at least twice. Thank you for your editorial, as (like you) I’m not sure what all the fuss is about. At my husband’s office, there was a big hullaballoo to re-name the office Christmas party a “holiday party” and the Christmas tree a “holiday tree”. Would they refer to a menorah as a “holiday candelabra”, I wonder? And at least one Christian corrected me for saying “happy holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” when I was actually meaning to include New Year’s Eve and Day in my well-wishes for both holidays. Surely to goodness there are more pressing concerns than terminology!

    We all know that Christmas is a holiday honoring the birth of Christ, and for more than a full generation, at least in the US, beginning with Thanksgiving, each year (presuambly) ends with a focus on gratitude for our blessings, generousity towards others, peace and goodwill towards all. Luke 2:14 – “Glory in the highest to God, and on earth peace and to men goodwill.” <–angels singing

  3. Ed Voss says:

    Call me old-fashioned, but it’s “Merry Christmas” for me… That’s the name of the official state AND federal holiday. We can also celebrate “Festivis” for the rest of us, along with Mr. Costanza and Kramer!!!

    Merry Christmas, Robert

  4. iohannkn says:

    Any wish for well for others is fine. It will BE Christmas-time (and Yule-tide and Saturnalia and Hanukkah and whatever) no matter what words you put in your greetings. When it comes to the mid-winter Holiday, why not spread good cheer instead of just taking the Scrooge line on things?

    I once put this question to foreign kids in an ESL class – ‘Does it bother you when Americans say ‘Merry Christmas’ to you?’ Their response was that the question itself was nonsense – if Christmas was a generally-accepted American holiday, it was simply the right way to wish people well.

  5. Pingback: Four Facts about Christmas I bet you didn’t know! « Cat Flag

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