Merry Christmas or Happy holidays?

22 Dec

Merry Christmas or Happy holidays? This is debate that flairs up every November-December in America.

On the side of “Happy Holidays” you have people and businesses who are trying to appeal to the greatest number of customers. On the side of those who take offense to “Happy holidays” and prefer “Merry Christmas”, you have Christians who feel that “Happy Holidays” is an attack on their beliefs. Some on the “Merry Christmas” side have even gone so far as to call for a boycott of businesses that say “Happy Holidays” as opposed to “Merry Christmas.” I’m not sure about your locale, but you can often find people driving around with the following “Keep Christ in Christmas” car magnets.

It should come as no surprise that I feel that the “Merry Christmas” crowd is acting like a bunch of angry children. Let’s examine the rationale behind why a person might say “Happy holidays” or “Merry Christmas” :

The idea behind “Happy holidays” is simple. There are several holidays celebrated  in the month of December. Since it is not easy to tell just by looking at someone what their religion is, it is a polite way of saying “I wish you well in whichever of the several holidays you will be observing.” It’s nice, it covers everybody, and doesn’t discriminate.

Now, for the “Merry Christmas” people who take offense to “Happy Holidays” their reasoning is some flavor of the following reasons:

I celebrate Christmas, therefore my holiday is the only holiday that really matters.

This is my country, founded on my religion, and everyone else should bow down to the superiority of MY holiday.

You can have your little Hanukkah, or Solstice, or whatever, but normal people like ME celebrate CHRISTmas!

To say “Happy Holidays” is to spit in the face of that majority’s cultural tradition! It’s an attack on my religious freedom [read as: freedom to oppress, marginalize, and belittle those of different faiths]!”

Now someone who takes offense to “Happy Holidays”  might not hold every aspect of the above self-righteous rage, but their reasoning ultimately stems from one of the above mentioned examples.

When someone takes offense to “Happy Holidays” or any other attempt to include others of differing viewpoints in the seasonal celebrations, they truly are acting like a spoiled child throwing a temper-tantrum. I’m sorry if you feel uncomfortable by the existence of people with differing views. I’m sorry if you can’t stand the thought that your holiday might not be superior to, and deserving deference from, all the other holidays going on during this season.

Grow up.

5 Responses to “Merry Christmas or Happy holidays?”

  1. synapticcohesion December 22, 2011 at 2:58 pm #

    When someone says, “Merry Christmas,” they are not trying to say that their holiday is superior or is the only one that matters. They’re just wishing you a Merry Christmas. It’s the thought that counts, so why not accept it gracefully?

  2. godlesspaladin December 22, 2011 at 3:04 pm #

    And I do just gracefully accept it and will say “Merry Christmas” right back. They’re not the people I’m targeting in this post. I’m aiming at the people who take offense to “Happy Holidays.” Perhaps I should have been more clear on that. I’ll insert and edit.

  3. TheSecretAtheist December 22, 2011 at 3:27 pm #

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Even when I was a Christian I didn’t understand the people who got upset over people wishing them a “happy holidays”. Why should we assume everyone is of the same religion? But then, it was the myriad things I didn’t understand about other Christians and the teachings of my religion that lead me to leave said religion eventually, so whatever. 🙂 Good post!

  4. jonathanstone December 22, 2011 at 4:00 pm #

    Thanks! As a christian, I have never understood the push for Merry Christmas. After all, the word holidays comes from the combination of “holy days.” Just as reverent in my mind. Great post.

  5. Mister_Higgins December 22, 2011 at 9:58 pm #

    Whenever this sort of situation comes about I simply say “Happy Krampusnacht” That usually gives people cause to either believe I meant “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas”. Someone did ask me if that was some sort of Jewish holiday and I just stared at them and explained the glory that is Krampus.

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