I don't have a problem with saying "Happy Holidays" but people shouldn't make such a federal case out of not saying Merry Christmas. People are so afraid of offending people. If a Jew has a problem with someone wishing him a Merry Christmas by mistake they have a serious problem. We don't mean to offend them we are just wishing them the best. If I know someone is a Jew I won't wish them a Merry Christmas. But mistakes happen.

I do get mad that pc people want to rename the Christmas tree the Holiday tree. That is going way to far. Should we call the Hannachah Manora (sp?) the Holiday manorah? It's a Christmas tree. Period. The End.

Christians have a right to express their religion and there is a threat to keep the "Christianity" part of Christmas out of Christmas.

Anthony Cerminaro

For the last several years, during Advent, I have felt obliged to wage a war on political correctness by studiously avoiding the use of the sappy, vapid phrase "Happy Holidays". I much prefer "Merry Christmas" and, the more traditional "Season's Greetings."

I find it hard to understand how anyone could be offended by being greeted thusly. Many of my friends and colleagues are Jewish, and I am relatively certain that none of them has ever been offended by receiving a hearty "Merry Christmas" greeting from me. Nor am I offended when I am wished a joyous and happy new year when Rosh Hashana rolls around. If someone is wishing for me happiness and blessings, then I am all for it.

As Dave Hoggard puts it:

"My traditional holiday greeting is not intended as an insult or to disparage anyone, I just truly dislike the phrase "Happy Holidays". "Merry Christmas" means something. "Habari Gani?" means something. "Happy Chanukah" means something. "Happy Holidays" means nothing more than "I hold no traditions nor beliefs dear and don't think you should either, but I hope your few days off of work are pleasant."


I personally don't care how I'm greeted during this season, as long as it's not a personal insult. This whole "War on Christmas" is an O'Reilly created canard. I agree with THF that there is an anti-semitic angle to this whole uproar.

Anyway, my take on it is here: http://thegallopingbeaver.blogspot.com/2005/12/central-front-of-war-on-christmas.html

The Happy Feminist

I have actually never met any non-Christian who has actually been offended at being wished a "Merry Christmas." This uproar is about some Christians finding "happy holidays" offensive.

I agree with Anthony that "happy holidays" sounds awfully sterile and phoney. I actually usually say something like "have a nice holiday," which I think is marginally better, in those instances when I don't know the person's preference.


Let's start by asking why you say Happy Holidays or anything else. It is to wish well upon the other person, wish them a season of joy, tell them you hope they are enjoying their seasonal celebrations (a holiday of large religous significance, a religious festival celebration, the beginning of ski season, some much awaited paid-time off, whatever). If you are telling this to someone, it means you just care about them in some way -- as a friend, a customer, a client.

Therefore, you should tailor your comments to them to reflect your knowledge and care for them as an individual. You are wishing them well -- it is not for the purpose of making YOU happy that you wish someone a Merry Christmas. It is because you know that they celebrate Christmas, and you hope their Christmas is, in fact, merry. And if he is celebrating Hanukkah, and you know that, you are indicating to them that you know they will be celebrating something, and hope they enjoy the traditions inherent in their celebration of that festival. You could even be more specific -- I hope you win big in Dreidel! I hope your latkes are delicious! You are wishing them the best in what they hold dear on that occassion. It is about the person to whom you are sending the wishes -- It's Not About You.

Just because someone doesn't mind being wished a Merry Christmas doesn't mean it is the appropriate thing to say when you do know better, or should know better. Tailoring your comment makes it more personal, and a kinder gesture. That said, when you cannot tailor it (you're ordering cards to go out to everyone at once; you don't know the background, or anything else about the recipient of your greeting) you should aspire to be as inclusive as possible. Again, this is because the whole point isn't about sharing YOUR joy, but about acknowledging that of others.

And so yes -- Happy Holidays does take the "Christmas" out of Christmas, as mass-cultural-holiday-season-event, but it broadens the message and makes it inclusive. And while the "phony and sterile" Happy Holidays doesn't quite convey the wishes intended, it is better employed when you don't know what the recipient will be celebrating, if anything.

Do I get angered when wished a Merry Christmas?
Well, it indicates that the well-wisher does not know me very well. It also means that the well-wisher has failed to consider the fact that he doesn't know me very well. And it means that despite that, the well-wisher has followed in HIS traditional way, ascribing his beliefs to me, and expecting me to say "Gee, thanks for passing on to me the joy of a religious occassion which I haven't chosen to celebrate, commemorating an event and a theology in which I don't really believe."

Those who don't want to 'lose' Christmas to the Happy Holidays mall-crowd probably don't want me to just accept their wishes quietly. My acquiesce to such wishes only makes sense if I have acknowledged that the Christmas in it has lost its religous significance!

So maybe I should say, "No, Sorry. See, I don't celebrate Christmas, and I don't follow the teachings of Jesus, or, really, anything in the New Testament, and it's really not my holiday. I appreciate your well wishes, though, and I hope to have a joyous last few weeks of the year. And I hope you do, too."

Sometimes I think that being wished a Merry Christmas is the religious equivalent of women's skis with flowers and pink on them. Sure, the idea is it's something to help me enjoy the season, but I don't want it handed to me based on your assumptions of what I want to hear when you know nothing about me. And if we can make a change for the more-inclusive, then I'm for it. And like gender stereotyping, sometimes the comment fits (Merry Christmas to you, too!). Sometimes it will provoke anger (Ah, the riled feminist retort!). And sometimes, we are too tired, or have grown too accustomed to hearing it, or are just not up to the battle when the words were well intentioned in the first place (Merry Christmas, you say? Um, Thanks.).

Feminist, indeed.

The Happy Feminist

A, your comment reflects my basic philosophy about how to wish people well in an inclusive and polite manner during this season. I touched on these ideas (with less explication) in the second paragraph of my post.
But I am confused by the last comment--"Feminist, indeed." Is this directed at me? And what does it mean? Does it mean that you think that I expressed some sentiment contrary to what you said?


I think it was really just an affirmation - how the ideas on what to say or do on the holidays can touch on the same issues.


Seeing anti-semitism in the current "Merry Christmas Debate" sounds to me like liberals trying "to keep folks riled up". Silly argument.

And for anyone over say, 40, who thinks that the Merry Christmas in Christmas is the same as it used to be 20 or 30 years ago, I suggest you're suffering acute memory loss. Personally I could care less (I'm a cheerful atheist), but you need only go to a library and read some old newspaper clippings to see a definite ground shift against Christianty in society. Huge difference. In many urban areas and blue states Christians are not at all welcome to be openly Christian today.

The Happy Feminist

I think that there are certainly individuals who are prejudiced against certain types of Christians. I think that there are individuals who do not respond graciously to attempts at evangelism. I think that there are sit-com and movie characters who portray conservative Christianity in a negative light. So to that extent, I would agree that there are more negative attitudes towards Christianity than in the past.

I don't think Christians are persecuted, however, and I don't think that retail stores using the term "happy holidays" is an anti-Christian policy.

I am not over 40 but I was around 20 years ago but I'm not sure what you are referring to regarding the differences between now and 20 years ago.


One difference in our town, is that when my husband was a teenager(15 yrs ago) we had a nativity scene on the common. It is gone now. It is hard to find one anywhere.

I think John Gibson is the one most responsible for the Christmas awareness brought abou this year. His book is the "War on Christmas," which I have not read. I have noticed that O'Reilly talks about it a lot, but so does everyone on Fox News. Alot of Christians have gotten together to fight the secularists to allow them to celebrate Christmas publicly.

If any atheist or non Christian has a problem with a little decoration or song that talks about "peace on earth, a savior coming into the world, loving your neighbor, spreading joy, neglecting self to serve others (these are fundamentals of the Christian religion) than you guys are nothing but "Scrooges."

Oh, one more thing about being inclusive to everyone. I am offended whenever I hear the phrase "Oh my God" or the Lord's name in vain. Imagine how ridiculous so many people would consider it if I made a big fuss for society to stop swearing like that in public. I would be laughed off the stage. "You shall not take the name of the Lord you God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain." Exodus 20:7. So mabe all you people who ae trying so hard to be inclusive and not offend anyone will take that inot consideration.

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