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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

  • katy_kay08
    December 1, 2011 at 10:51 AM

    I say "Happ Holidays" and don't get even remotely offended by Merry Christmas but also don't care if they say "Happy Holidays".  Honestly, I don't care what they say as long as it isn't "here's your effing crap lady"  

  • OneToughMami
    December 1, 2011 at 10:55 AM

    I don't see why people are offended by others saying something nice to them. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas both seem like something nice to say. It's not like they are saying "go fuck yourself" or "I hope you die a painful and long death!"

  • SewingMamaLele
    December 1, 2011 at 10:58 AM

    I say "Merry Christmas", and you say "Happy Hanukkah" and we're both happy and just learned something new about each other.   I hate the generic "happy holidays"... it tries to pretend we're all the same, when we're not.   We celebrate different things, and that's OK!    I say lets celebrate the diversity and use all the holiday-specific greetings when applicable.   I mean, I say "Happy Diwali" to my friends and neighbors during Diwali... if I knew anyone was specifically Jewish I would say "Happy Hanukkah", but since I don't, the default is "Merry Christmas" in my book.

  • romalove
    December 1, 2011 at 11:01 AM

     I continue to think people have this all wrong.

    Giving greetings is not supposed to be a declaration of what is happening with you, but what is happening with who is being greeted.  Do you go around wishing other people Happy Birthday on your birthday because you are celebrating?  How about Happy Anniversary on your special day, do you wish that to others?

    So, in that vein, if I know what a person is celebrating, I wish them to enjoy the holiday they participate in.  That means Jews get Happy Hanukah, Christians get Merry Christmas, and anyone else or someone I don't know about gets a Happy Holidays.

    People are sometimes to bent on clinging to things they feel are important to themselves that they forget what the real meaning of something like a holiday season is.  It's to be kind to each other, no matter what you celebrate, that's the bottom line.

  • katy_kay08
    December 1, 2011 at 11:02 AM

    exactly!

    Quoting romalove:

     I continue to think people have this all wrong.

    Giving greetings is not supposed to be a declaration of what is happening with you, but what is happening with who is being greeted.  Do you go around wishing other people Happy Birthday on your birthday because you are celebrating?  How about Happy Anniversary on your special day, do you wish that to others?

    So, in that vein, if I know what a person is celebrating, I wish them to enjoy the holiday they participate in.  That means Jews get Happy Hanukah, Christians get Merry Christmas, and anyone else or someone I don't know about gets a Happy Holidays.

    People are sometimes to bent on clinging to things they feel are important to themselves that they forget what the real meaning of something like a holiday season is.  It's to be kind to each other, no matter what you celebrate, that's the bottom line.


  • ejsmom4604
    December 1, 2011 at 11:05 AM

    I use this personal rule of thumb. If I personally know the person I am speaking to or greeting, I will use the holiday they celebrate. For instance if it is a family member (hubby's side) or a friend that is Christian, I will say Merry Christmas. If it is my family or one of my Jewish friends I will say Happy Channukah. And for my Pagan friends I will say Blessed Yule. Everyone else will get a Happy Holidays (as will my Athiest, Agnostic, Muslim, Buddhist and all other friends that I may not know the name of their holiday if they have one). 

    If someone wishes me a Merry Christmas, like at a store or in passing, I may return with Happy Channukah or Blessed Yule. And have. I love the "but I don't celebrate that holiday" response. Which I usually return with but I don't celebrate Christmas, but you wished me a merry one anyway. They get it and smile and appreciate it that I'm not making a huge deal and point is usually taken. 

    *Note: I do not celebrate Christmas, but it is celebrated in my home for my hubby and kids. :)

  • ejsmom4604
    December 1, 2011 at 11:07 AM

    I'm laughing because we both basically said the same thing...I just took forever to type it out :)

    Quoting romalove:

     I continue to think people have this all wrong.

    Giving greetings is not supposed to be a declaration of what is happening with you, but what is happening with who is being greeted.  Do you go around wishing other people Happy Birthday on your birthday because you are celebrating?  How about Happy Anniversary on your special day, do you wish that to others?

    So, in that vein, if I know what a person is celebrating, I wish them to enjoy the holiday they participate in.  That means Jews get Happy Hanukah, Christians get Merry Christmas, and anyone else or someone I don't know about gets a Happy Holidays.

    People are sometimes to bent on clinging to things they feel are important to themselves that they forget what the real meaning of something like a holiday season is.  It's to be kind to each other, no matter what you celebrate, that's the bottom line.


  • tscritch
    December 1, 2011 at 11:10 AM

    I think this pretty much sums it up! 

    Quoting romalove:

     I continue to think people have this all wrong.

    Giving greetings is not supposed to be a declaration of what is happening with you, but what is happening with who is being greeted.  Do you go around wishing other people Happy Birthday on your birthday because you are celebrating?  How about Happy Anniversary on your special day, do you wish that to others?

    So, in that vein, if I know what a person is celebrating, I wish them to enjoy the holiday they participate in.  That means Jews get Happy Hanukah, Christians get Merry Christmas, and anyone else or someone I don't know about gets a Happy Holidays.

    People are sometimes to bent on clinging to things they feel are important to themselves that they forget what the real meaning of something like a holiday season is.  It's to be kind to each other, no matter what you celebrate, that's the bottom line.


  • SuperChicken
    December 1, 2011 at 11:12 AM

    I think people can have their own preferences in what they themselves say, but they become morons when they not only get the idea that they can tell other people what they should be saying but have hairy kiniption fits when others don't conform.  

  • GomezMami2908
    December 1, 2011 at 11:14 AM

    I never understood the big deal about this. Just enjoy the season people, jeez. 

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