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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

  • LovemyQ
    by LovemyQ
    December 1, 2011 at 8:04 PM


    Quoting romalove:

     

    Quoting LovemyQ:


    Quoting romalove:

     

    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.

    Relax Roma, we are on the same side. My explanation above is for 'Why are Christians so adamant about keeping Merry Christmas and why do they feel offended when it isn't used?'

    I'm sure other religions have been upset forever about not being included and I do wish others happy holidays or whatever to include them - It is nice to include others and see the smiles. I am not bashing you for being atheistic, but I have seen literature, saw the news, and talked with the local atheist group at the street fairs and yes, that was part of their agenda. If other groups were involved, I hadn't heard from them, I don't recall them launching campaigns like the atheist groups.

    And here is a little secret...I may be atheist too.

     I am usually uncomfortable by atheist groups, in great part because I don't feel there is a reason to have an organization about not wanting to be part of other organizations lol.  I feel it lends weight to arguments that atheism is another form of religion, and I reject that.  And, as you know, when there is an organized group like that, they tend to be a bit radical, and despite my fervor as expressed through posts about keeping religion out of public/governmental life, I am in no way a radical.  :-)

    psssttt.....I promise to keep your secret. 

    LOL, thanks!

  • FromAtoZ
    December 1, 2011 at 8:08 PM

    Have not waded through the replies.

    I say Merry Christmas.  I say Happy Holidays.

    Many places, however, downright forbid their employees to dare to say Merry Christmas.

    Meh.

    It is the Holiday season.  It is also Christmas time.  Seems kind of like common knowledge and common sense.


  • romalove
    December 1, 2011 at 8:08 PM

     

    Quoting DariaDamnit:

     

    Quoting romalove:

     

    Quoting dustinsmom1:

     

     This makes no sense to me.  Why are you wishing people who don't celebrate Christmas to have a Merry Christmas?  How hard is it to say "Happy Holidays" that you say it's "garbled".  I think the key here is that you say it's hard for you because it is disingenuous.  We are closer to the problem.

    If it was about "them" you could say "Happy Holidays" and mean it because you would want that person to have a happy holiday, whatever they are celebrating at this time of year (and I can repost the long list of December holidays for various faiths if you would like me to).  But because it's about insisting that someone else share what is important to "you", you wish them a genuine and heartfelt to you but meaningless to them greeting.

     

    Why should she conform for someone else's comfort and ignore her own? That's not what the holiday is about. By saying 'Merry Christmas' she's not asking someone to conform to accomodate her. So, it  shouldn't be insisted that she conform to accomodate others.
    Just my opinion.

     I cut some trees.

    We disagree on this issue, the issue being "what is a greeting for".  If saying "Merry Christmas" is about showing other people that you celebrate Christmas and hope they enjoy your holiday, then that's fine, that's what you are doing.  I don't see "good tidings" as being about me, but as being about the person I am greeting.  That's why I don't tell others Happy Birthday on my birthday, and why I don't wish my Danish family Happy Fourth of July when I'm celebrating and they are not.  I wish people Merry Christmas when that's what they celebrate, Happy Hannukkah when they are celebrating that, when it was Ramadan I wished my Muslim friends a happy Ramadan, etc.  The greeting and good wishes are for whom I am speaking to, and not for me.

    That this is seen as an issue of having to conform only proves my point about what the greetings are.  It's about the giver and not the receiver.  In my life, it's about the receivers.

  • CatRose15
    Cat
    December 1, 2011 at 8:12 PM

     I have relatives who are Jewish, some who celebrate Kwanzaa, and others who practice Shintoism...  Merry Christmas wasn't popular in my family growing up - except the Aunts who were trying to intentially piss off their brothers wives and make the rest of us feel ackward and uncomfortable.   Happy Holidays doesn't have as many stressful holiday memories associated with it. 

  • Sisteract
    December 1, 2011 at 8:13 PM


    Quoting DariaDamnit:

     


     

     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".

     

     This makes no sense to me.  Why are you wishing people who don't celebrate Christmas to have a Merry Christmas?  How hard is it to say "Happy Holidays" that you say it's "garbled".  I think the key here is that you say it's hard for you because it is disingenuous.  We are closer to the problem.

    If it was about "them" you could say "Happy Holidays" and mean it because you would want that person to have a happy holiday, whatever they are celebrating at this time of year (and I can repost the long list of December holidays for various faiths if you would like me to).  But because it's about insisting that someone else share what is important to "you", you wish them a genuine and heartfelt to you but meaningless to them greeting.

     

    Why should she conform for someone else's comfort and ignore her own? That's not what the holiday is about. By saying 'Merry Christmas' she's not asking someone to conform to accomodate her. So, it  shouldn't be insisted that she conform to accomodate others.
    Just my opinion.

    When you give a gift to a friend, do you normally buy them what you would like to have and ignore your friend's wants, desires, interests? Why or why not?

    If not, and  you make the gift about your friend, apply the same thought process and logic when issuing a greeting. Again, it's about making the receiver happy, joyful etc... not the giver! The giver's comfort, feelings wishes should be secondary-

  • psuedonym
    December 1, 2011 at 8:22 PM

    It's the sentiment behind it not the actual words that count.        I see and celebrate xmas as a secular holiday anyway so the term 'Merry Xmas' has no religious meaning to me at all.

  • LoveMyBoyK
    December 1, 2011 at 8:28 PM
    You maythink that but you are wrong. Atheists are far from the only group disinclined in the greeting who, as their (our, seeing as how I belong to one of those groups) grew in numbers started to realize w
    Our holidays had as much right to be recognized as the one celebrated by the majority religion. If Islam ever becomes the majority faith in this country, I will bet dollars to donuts you will drop the "the majority religion alone deserves priority and recognition" attitude like a scalding hot potato.


    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.


  • DariaDamnit
    December 1, 2011 at 8:33 PM


    Quoting Sisteract:


    Quoting DariaDamnit:



     

     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".

     

     This makes no sense to me.  Why are you wishing people who don't celebrate Christmas to have a Merry Christmas?  How hard is it to say "Happy Holidays" that you say it's "garbled".  I think the key here is that you say it's hard for you because it is disingenuous.  We are closer to the problem.

    If it was about "them" you could say "Happy Holidays" and mean it because you would want that person to have a happy holiday, whatever they are celebrating at this time of year (and I can repost the long list of December holidays for various faiths if you would like me to).  But because it's about insisting that someone else share what is important to "you", you wish them a genuine and heartfelt to you but meaningless to them greeting.

     

    Why should she conform for someone else's comfort and ignore her own? That's not what the holiday is about. By saying 'Merry Christmas' she's not asking someone to conform to accomodate her. So, it  shouldn't be insisted that she conform to accomodate others.
    Just my opinion.

    When you give a gift to a friend, do you normally buy them what you would like to have and ignore your friend's wants, desires, interests? Why or why not?

    If not, and  you make the gift about your friend, apply the same thought process and logic when issuing a greeting. Again, it's about making the receiver happy, joyful etc... not the giver! The giver's comfort, feelings wishes should be secondary-

    Actually, it should be about both parties.
    If you're hosting a party, you want to make your guests feel comfortable. In the same vein, you want to be comfortable with, and for, your guests.
    Make any arguement you want. Christmas/Yule/etc. is about everyone as a whole. Love as a whole. Not separating and dividing according to race, religion, or creed.
    If you  prefer 'Happy Holidays', by all means say it. But, don't expect others to return the same greeting especially if it's a stranger. I don't expect people to tell me 'Merry Christmas' because I'm Christian. Hell, I don't even expect my Wiccan/Pagan/Jewish/Atheist/etc. friends to even remember my religious beliefs.

  • DariaDamnit
    December 1, 2011 at 8:36 PM


    Quoting LoveMyBoyK:

    You maythink that but you are wrong. Atheists are far from the only group disinclined in the greeting who, as their (our, seeing as how I belong to one of those groups) grew in numbers started to realize w
    Our holidays had as much right to be recognized as the one celebrated by the majority religion. If Islam ever becomes the majority faith in this country, I will bet dollars to donuts you will drop the "the majority religion alone deserves priority and recognition" attitude like a scalding hot potato.


    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.


    As far as religious holidays are concerned, what religious holidays do Atheists observe considering Atheists don't believe in Higher Powers (as I'm told)?

  • romalove
    December 1, 2011 at 8:40 PM

     

    Quoting DariaDamnit:

     

    Quoting LoveMyBoyK:

    You maythink that but you are wrong. Atheists are far from the only group disinclined in the greeting who, as their (our, seeing as how I belong to one of those groups) grew in numbers started to realize w
    Our holidays had as much right to be recognized as the one celebrated by the majority religion. If Islam ever becomes the majority faith in this country, I will bet dollars to donuts you will drop the "the majority religion alone deserves priority and recognition" attitude like a scalding hot potato.


    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.


    As far as religious holidays are concerned, what religious holidays do Atheists observe considering Atheists don't believe in Higher Powers (as I'm told)?

     This atheist celebrates lots of holidays, all secularly.  And I wish people Merry Christmas when it is appropriate.

    I disagree with most of your contentions regarding greeting giving, and even party holding.  I don't make myself comfortable when I have guests over, I worry about them. 

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