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Americans Who Prefer 'Merry Christmas' to 'Happy Holidays' Are Wrong
December 1, 2011 at 10:49 AM

What do you think?

Americans Who Prefer 'Merry Christmas' to 'Happy Holidays' Are Wrong

Posted by Maressa Brown on November 30, 2011

merry christmas sign in windowI suppose in an attempt to spread the opposite of holiday cheer, a Rasmussen report has confirmed for at least the third year in a row that most American adults -- 70 percent! -- prefer stores greet customers with "Merry Christmas" as opposed to "Happy Holidays." Oh, dear. Nothing like some good old-fashioned "U.S.A.!" discrimination to make this time of year even more stressful!

When I read something like this, I can't help but recall my Midwestern suburban childhood, during which I was one of the only -- if not the only -- Jewish kids in school, from kindergarten on up through senior year. Plenty of teachers were happy to have me give a little speech to the class about the eight-day Festival of Lights or to include "The Dreidel Song" in our holiday choir show. But, at the same time, being wished an exclusive "Merry Christmas" (not "Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!" -- there is a distinction) by neighbors and in stores never failed to get on my nerves.

Over the years, despite moving to an area where I'm not a minority at all, not much has changed. No, I'm not being a total Grinch. I appreciate the "Merry Christmas" sentiment! I think, "Why, thank you, I'll certainly have a merry Christmas ... while partaking in my family's typical December 25 tradition of Chinese food and a movie!" But the blatant neglect of different religions and cultures irritates me all the same, on behalf of my fellow Jews, and Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Atheists, agnostics, all of whom are also Americans.

Yes, I get it. We're a tiny, measly group compared to the 76 percent of Americans who identify themselves as Christians (which might explain the almost exact match-up to the percent who prefer "Merry Christmas" over "Happy Holidays"). But that doesn't mean we should be slighted, ignored, or outright disrespected this time of the year.

Regardless of how FOX News types constantly attempt to spin it, saying "Happy Holidays" isn't overly PC, and it doesn't detract from Christmas. It's the most humanitarian, diplomatic, and oh yeah, sensible sentiment to offer a stranger or for retail stores to wish their customers. It's an acknowledgment that not every American celebrates Christmas. That there are those of us out there who celebrate holidays other than Christmas (and even they don't fall in December, there's always New Year's, which I've always figured "Happy Holidays" encompasses). And after all, isn't the message of the holidays "peace on Earth, good will toward men"?

I'm not talking about going to extremes, you know, like asking that a mall/town/store rename their Christmas tree a "holiday tree." (Although if they have a tree, they should also have a menorah and perhaps some secular symbols prominently displayed.) But when it comes to season's greetings in a civil/public place, "Happy Holidays" is certainly the expression for the job.

Where do you fall in this debate?

Replies

  • LindaClement
    December 1, 2011 at 7:18 PM

    I don't really care... but both mottos were pretty new in the Victorian era, partly as a result of postal systems (and greeting cards).

    And, both were used about evenly, along with Season's Greetings.

  • dustinsmom1
    December 1, 2011 at 7:19 PM

     I'm am more often then not not aware of what strangers celebrate, and frankly, if you get pissed that I wished you a Merry Christmas...you have bigger issues. ;)

  • romalove
    December 1, 2011 at 7:22 PM

     

    Quoting dustinsmom1:

     I'm am more often then not not aware of what strangers celebrate, and frankly, if you get pissed that I wished you a Merry Christmas...you have bigger issues. ;)

     Someone who is disgruntled and doesn't like your Merry Christmas may indeed have bigger issues.

    I am curious about you, though.  Why do you think it's more important to wish people who might not celebrate a Merry Christmas than Happy Holidays if you must greet at all?

  • DariaDamnit
    December 1, 2011 at 7:26 PM

    Well, if you want to get technical, why not find out what Native Americans celebrate considering immigrants shoved their way in on land they'd called 'home' before the 'white-man' came?

  • dustinsmom1
    December 1, 2011 at 7:29 PM

     

    Quoting romalove:

     

    Quoting dustinsmom1:

     I'm am more often then not not aware of what strangers celebrate, and frankly, if you get pissed that I wished you a Merry Christmas...you have bigger issues. ;)

     Someone who is disgruntled and doesn't like your Merry Christmas may indeed have bigger issues.

    I am curious about you, though.  Why do you think it's more important to wish people who might not celebrate a Merry Christmas than Happy Holidays if you must greet at all?

     For many reasons, some basic, some silly...I celebrate Christmas, so i wish it, its the Christmas season, so i wish it, also happy holidays comes out garbled and weird when I've tried to say it, doesn't come out sounding genuine..I dislike saying happy happy holidays, its uncomfortable for me..I prefer to say Merry Christmas, because that's what I feel...

  • LovemyQ
    by LovemyQ
    December 1, 2011 at 7:29 PM

    I think the big uproar started because atheists (I believe) thought Merry Christmas was too religious and didn't want that around. It was an attack on Christians - or what Christians felt - not a public service to educate people on other religions. It was a "get rid of Christ in public" thing.

  • romalove
    December 1, 2011 at 7:30 PM

     

    Quoting dustinsmom1:

     

    Quoting romalove:

     

    Quoting dustinsmom1:

     I'm am more often then not not aware of what strangers celebrate, and frankly, if you get pissed that I wished you a Merry Christmas...you have bigger issues. ;)

     Someone who is disgruntled and doesn't like your Merry Christmas may indeed have bigger issues.

    I am curious about you, though.  Why do you think it's more important to wish people who might not celebrate a Merry Christmas than Happy Holidays if you must greet at all?

     For many reasons, some basic, some silly...I celebrate Christmas, so i wish it, its the Christmas season, so i wish it, also happy holidays comes out garbled and weird when I've tried to say it, doesn't come out sounding genuine..I dislike saying happy happy holidays, its uncomfortable for me..I prefer to say Merry Christmas, because that's what I feel...

     Wow....this response makes me feel sad.

    We truly see this issue from completely different sides.  You see greeting other people as about "you", and I see it as about "them".

     

  • dustinsmom1
    December 1, 2011 at 7:31 PM

     

    Quoting DariaDamnit:

    Well, if you want to get technical, why not find out what Native Americans celebrate considering immigrants shoved their way in on land they'd called 'home' before the 'white-man' came?

     OMG really???

    (I'd give you a ginormous eye roll, but the sweet peas aren't working for me today)

  • romalove
    December 1, 2011 at 7:32 PM

     

    Quoting LovemyQ:

    I think the big uproar started because atheists (I believe) thought Merry Christmas was too religious and didn't want that around. It was an attack on Christians - or what Christians felt - not a public service to educate people on other religions. It was a "get rid of Christ in public" thing.

     So the Jews and the Muslims and the Buddhists and the Taoists and the Hindus and everyone else who is disincluded in Christmas and coudl appreciate a nice "Happy Holidays" greeting had nothing to do with people's noticing that "Merry Christmas" was disinclusive?  It was only the evil atheists who want to attack Christians?

    Gosh I'm lucky I'm here to be so educated.

  • dustinsmom1
    December 1, 2011 at 7:33 PM

     

    Quoting romalove:

     

    Quoting dustinsmom1:

     

    Quoting romalove:

     

    Quoting dustinsmom1:

     I'm am more often then not not aware of what strangers celebrate, and frankly, if you get pissed that I wished you a Merry Christmas...you have bigger issues. ;)

     Someone who is disgruntled and doesn't like your Merry Christmas may indeed have bigger issues.

    I am curious about you, though.  Why do you think it's more important to wish people who might not celebrate a Merry Christmas than Happy Holidays if you must greet at all?

     For many reasons, some basic, some silly...I celebrate Christmas, so i wish it, its the Christmas season, so i wish it, also happy holidays comes out garbled and weird when I've tried to say it, doesn't come out sounding genuine..I dislike saying happy happy holidays, its uncomfortable for me..I prefer to say Merry Christmas, because that's what I feel...

     Wow....this response makes me feel sad.

    We truly see this issue from completely different sides.  You see greeting other people as about "you", and I see it as about "them".

     

     Uhm, no, because if I wasn't wshing it to them for them, I would be wishing them a very disingenuous happy holidays, that came out garbled and wrong sounding. I'd rather wish them something genuine and from my heart, from me to them, then something I don't believe or feel.

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