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Merry Christmas Vs. Happy Holidays: Mom Talk

Does wishing people a happy holiday really water down the meaning of Christmas?

Happy holidays.

Did that offend you? How about if I wished you a merry Christmas instead?

There seems to be a growing number of people who get ticked off if they hear the wrong greeting.

A friend once told me a story about how he, his wife and two daughters were filling up at a gas station. A woman across the pump wished him a merry Christmas. He smiled and replied the same.

Then, she got a little smug and asked, "That's OK for me to say, isn't it, 'merry Christmas?'" My friend laughed as he told me the story.

"Probably the only four Jews in the entire town happened to be in my vehicle at that moment," he said.

He wasn't offended that a Christian woman wished a Jewish man a merry Christmas.

Another example, my girlfriend declined coming to my office's party because I called it a holiday gathering, not specifically Christmas. That offended her. At the time, my agency had about 10 employees. Among us, we celebrated Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and Boxing Day. We also celebrated New Year's.

Wishing someone a happy holiday is not excluding Christmas. It is including all the others. Being angry because someone's greeting isn't good enough is looking a gift horse in the mouth.

This season should be celebrated in our houses of worship, in our homes, and in our hearts. Saying happy holidays instead of merry Christmas is not going to water down the meaning of the holiday — unless you let it.

If some well-intended person or business offers a warm wish or a happy greeting that may not be on target with what you believe, accept it and move on.

There are so many honest-to-goodness issues that deserve our attention this time of year. Getting our undies in a bunch over someone's "happy holidays" is a waste of energy. Wouldn't it be better if we channeled all that angst into feeding the hungry or clothing the poor? Isn't that what this season is truly supposed to be about?

By the way, today is a Jewish holiday.

Happy Hanukkah.

Denise Williams December 22, 2011 at 07:02 AM
Your blog, and the whole controversy just makes me laugh. Everyone is so PC, and so sure of their own political correctness, they manage to offend everyone equally, no matter what they say or to whom they say it. I say, get over yourself, and treat everyone with dignity, respect and tolerance and it doesn't matter what you call the season or what holiday you do or don't celebrate.
Erin Gallagher December 22, 2011 at 03:24 PM
Thanks, Denise. Merry Christmas.
Denise Williams December 22, 2011 at 05:08 PM
Merry Christmas to you, too, Erin.
Jeanne Hall December 22, 2011 at 05:17 PM
I originally wrote this back in 2009, but I think it bears repeating: Once again, it's that time of the year when everyone has some kind of comment to make about "Christmas," "The Holidays," "Winter Festival," "Lights Festival," or whatever. So here's my comment: A few years ago, one of my co-workers was filling an order for a customer. At the end of the transaction he sent her on her way with a cheerful "Happy Holidays!" The customer responded with "Merry Christmas," but it was in an arrogant, mean-spirited, high-handed manner! We Christians pride ourselves with being a peaceful, loving people. However, I see so many so-called "Christians" being mean, forceful, arrogant, & abusive to those who don't share our beliefs, all in the name of "Christian Love." "Christian Love" is not forceful, arrogant, mean or abusive! Is it any wonder why so many non-Christians don't want to deal with us? Look up 1 Corinthians 13 & see what I mean. I conducted an experiment at work last year about this time. I greeted each customer I worked with with "Merry Christmas!" In a nice, pleasant, relaxed, friendly manner. Not cloying or saccharine or phony-sounding, and certainly not "hoity-toity." You'd be amazed at all the big, friendly smiles I got from everyone from doing that! So, yes, say "Merry Christmas," promote saying it, wear those Knights of Columbus "It's O.K. to say 'Merry Christmas' to me" pins, do whatever. But do it in a nice, friendly way!
Joe robin December 23, 2011 at 08:38 AM
I do believe that people have the right to or not to celebrate certain holidays. Dec 25'th is a Christian time for celebrating the birth of Christ. So how does any group decide how we should greet or welcome other Christians. There are many cultural and ethnic celebrations celebrated in the United States and no one challenges their way of celebrating or what they choose to name it. But Christians are always being challenged by the minority groups that are non Christian. If they don't believe and aren't celebrating Christmas why are they worried about what people that are celebrating the birth of Christ choose to call it. As for me and my family we wish all MERRY CHRISTMAS and may God bless you all
roger hawrylicz February 08, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Merry Christmas is the way to go for me as well...after all we are actually celebrating Christs Mass .I am just sooooooo sick and tired of all the pc in our society today.

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