Why We Say “Happy Holidays” Instead of “Merry Christmas”
The holidays are upon us and with it comes a favorite of culture warriors across America. The endless debate over who is offended more: Christians who refuse to say, “Happy Holidays”, or those who don’t celebrate Christmas and insist upon stores and governments using what some outspoken Christians deem the generic, less attractive replacement phrase.
I submit that it is a simple matter of manners.
There are so many special days in the months of December and January, each celebrated by a different faith, that it simply makes sense to use the phrase “Happy Holidays” when we wish to send such greetings to others.
If I were a Pagan, I don’t celebrate Christmas, right? However, if I know that someone does celebrate Christmas, I have no problem voicing my wish that theirs is, in fact, “Merry.” This is, afterall, the reason we say any phrase at all, isn’t it? If we are sincerely wishing that someone receive blessings on any special day, then shouldn’t we tailor exactly what we are wishing upon them?
If someone celebrates Kwanzaa, and I know this, I will wish them a “Happy Kwanzaa.” If someone celebrates Yule, I will wish them a “Happy Yule.” If someone celebrates Chanukah, I will wish them a “Happy Chanukah.” However, if I do not know which celebration a person honors, I will continue to say, “Happy Holidays,” as a matter of good manners.
The secular and much used phrase, “Happy Holidays,” is applicable to this train of thought for use in the public sector because we don’t know who the audience of the greeting will be. Who is shopping at the mall? Who is walking through the government building? Who is driving by our homes to check out the lights? We don’t know, of course.
So, if one is committed to the theory that “Jesus is the reason for the season,” and insistent upon using signs and cards that read, “Merry Christmas,” in places where they will be publically viewed, this person or entity is wishing only other Christians the blessings of their season. For a group of people who claim to have charity and love for all in their hearts, this seems to be a contrary idea. But it is any person’s right to wish whatever season’s greeting they choose.
While I’m sure the government’s use of the phrase “Happy Holidays,” is, in fact, spurred by the politcally correct view of the issue, I prefer to think that perhaps, in some small way, it is a sincere wish to us that we all enjoy our special days.
On the same note, when someone wishes me a, “Merry Christmas,” I am not offended. I don’t harbor any ill will toward them for simply wishing me a great day, a happy time, wrapped in love, faith, hope and joy. Why would that offend me?
And the fact that I, or a company, or a business, or a government, wishes someone a “Happy Holiday” shouldn’t offend anyone else, either.
I say, “Happy Holidays,” to you all with a sincere wish that you will enjoy the blessings, hope, love, faith and joy of your chosen faith. May you be blessed!
Hey, whomever makes CANDLES are certainly HAPPY, MERRY AND BLESSED!