Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays: My Two Cents

All around me this time of year, I hear “Merry Christmas!”   “Happy Holidays!” and various greetings of the season.   As everyone knows, lately there has been a backlash against expressing anything that smacks of religion, lest we offend someone.

I call bullshit.  This isn’t about religion; it’s about tolerance.  Despite what people may think, not everyone is a Christian / believes in Jesus / celebrates the same things everyone else does (Festivus, anyone?).   And that’s okay.

I think the “Happy Holidays” thing is about entitlement too.  I never remember anyone saying they were offended by a nativity scene when I was a kid.  If a neighbor set one up and it wasn’t like National Lampoon’s Christmas or didn’t fire snowballs at 500 mph toward your face when you walked by, then no big deal.

It’s not offensive for people to display their own religious symbols, unless they’re doing it in a way that is designed to annoy or provoke someone.  But who does that?

It seems like many people lately:

  •  Have completely lost any semblance of manners or civility.
  •  Think they are owed something whenever there is the slightest deviation from their norm.
  •  Act like two-year-olds when they don’t get their way.

You hear people bitching in the media about children on planes or elsewhere crying as babies sometimes do.  But I ask you:  who is throwing food, attacking people, insisting on businesses accommodating their every request?

Well let me just say, if Santa visited adults, then everyone would need a coal heater from all the lumps they’d get this year.

*Chuckles as he imagines your reaction on Christmas morning to a sockful of clinkers*

Religious beliefs are just that:  BELIEFS.  You choose to have faith in something; it shouldn’t be forced on you.  But people saying “Merry Christmas,” which is also a secular holiday, aren’t pushing their religion on anyone.   At this time of year, the phrase replaces the typical “Have a good day” as a simple pleasantry.

If you don’t like it, just nod and smile politely.  You don’t have to say anything back.  There’s no reason to bully other people into not saying it because you have a low entitlement threshold, Sunshine.

Don’t celebrate Christmas?  That’s fine.  If you want to tell me you’re Jewish and Chanukah is your thing,  I’ll happily amend my greeting to “Oh! Happy Chanukah!”  or “Happy Whatever!”  Once a couple I was talking to said they weren’t Christian, and I said “Happy…er, Thing!”  They thought that was pretty funny.

I don’t really think it’s necessary to attack a complete stranger who is trying to be nice.   People should be able to wish you a merry Christmas without having to worry about offending you.  As a commenter quoted in this article said, if someone takes the time to wish people joy, there’s really nothing to be mad about.

Lighten up.  It’s Christmas/Solstice/Chanukah/etc.!


2 thoughts on “Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays: My Two Cents

  1. I’m with you. Some people just make too big a deal out of things and want to ruin the happiness of others. I’m in the habit of saying Happy Holidays merely because covers Christmas and New Years. I never even thought about the religious implications that much. On Christmas I say Merry Christmas because it’s Christmas.

    You’re right. A lot of people need to just lighten up.

    Journaling Woman at my memoir blog
    starting Saturday 12/17/2011 with a special giveaway!
    Wrote By Rote

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