(PHOTO Maya Mead)

PHOTO Maya Mead

It’s Debatable: Happy Holidays v. Merry Christmas

December 7, 2017

It’s more than just Christmas, say Happy Holidays

There are over ten different holidays within the month of December, yet I am only ever told “Merry Christmas”. This leaves out Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe and other holidays that occupy the month along with Christmas but are often forgotten. Unless you know that someone specifically celebrates a holiday the best was to wish them a joyful holiday season by using the phrase “happy holidays”.

America is often called the melting pot of both races and religions, and while it seems as if most people only celebrate Christmas, these other holidays are widely celebrated. According to Rasmussen Reports, approximately three percent of Americans celebrate Hanukkah meaning that about 9,693,000 Americans celebrate the holiday. The use of “Merry Christmas” neglects to include these Americans in the holiday celebrations.

Beyond America each country celebrates the holiday season differently and for different reasons. People in Scandinavian countries honor St. Lucia on December 13 and many girls in Sweden dress up as “Lucia brides” in honor of St. Lucia. In Spain and in the United Kingdom boxing day is celebrated on December 26. Simply saying “Merry Christmas” in these countries would not be enough to include their holiday traditions.

“Happy Holidays” serves as an umbrella term that is meant to include any religion, any race and any holiday. If someone was to go into a crowded room and shout an exclusive celebratory term such as “Merry Christmas” can offend those who do not celebrate Christmas as well as make them feel uncomfortable if they want to go on and talk about the holiday that they celebrate.

In the end “Happy Holidays” is a better term to use when wishing others a happy and safe holiday. It ensures that any holiday is included and everyone can enjoy the holiday season in their own way.

Merry Christmas: the reason for the season

Carolers can be heard singing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”, that is the season after all. Being a holiday that is affiliated with the birth of Jesus Christ often offends those who do not associate themselves with any religious tradition. Many people and business’ now say “Happy Holidays” in order to not offend anyone, but people should not get offended when most Americans celebrate Christmas and it is recognized as a holiday.

A poll taken by the Washington Times says that 90 percent of Americans celebrate Christmas. Among the 90 percent, 96 percent are Christians and 80 percent are non-Christians that celebrate. People that don’t believe in any religious tradition can’t handle being told “Merry Christmas”, however they still celebrate the holiday so they should be able to deal with being told “Merry Christmas”.

If people are worried about hurting someone else’s feelings by saying “Merry Christmas” because they do not follow a religion, Christmas is so much more than that. Christmas is a time to be with families and for kids a time to dream about Santa Clause that gives those who do not view the holiday from a religious perspective things to celebrate. Saying Merry Christmas isn’t much different than someone saying “have a good day” and people don’t get offended by that. Whether it’s saying “Merry Christmas” or “have a good day”, it should just be seen as a simple friendly gesture and that isn’t something to get offended about.

Whether people celebrate Christmas from a religious standpoint or not, “Merry Christmas” is not a phrase that should be offending to anyone. It is simply used as an expression to tell people that you hope they have a good Christmas, however they are celebrating it. Christmas is “the reason for the season”, people should be more respectful of Christmas and not just say Happy Holidays.

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  • Carol A BrothersNov 29, 2019 at 8:57 PM

    I love this article on Christmas not being the only holiday represented in December. I have many, many friends who are not Christian and always try to include them in their holiday greetings as well. This said, I am the newsletter editor for the NTWGS in Dallas, TX, and would LOVE to include this article in my newsletter for December as a reminder to others of why we ALWAYS say Happy Holidays rather than Merry Christmas in our newsletter.

    May I have permission to reprint this article in our newsletter this year? Of course, credit shall remain with the author of this original article.

    Thank you,

    Carol Brothers
    Editor, NTWGS

    Reply
    • Gracie WardaNov 30, 2019 at 10:41 AM

      Carol,
      Of course you may print our article! We appreciate your interest in our story, and we love to reach as many readers as possible. Thank you!

      Reply