And so the old argument rears its ugly head every year: Should we say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays”?
My answer: “It depends.”
Some may argue that “Merry Christmas” is insensitive to those who do not celebrate Christmas and/or who are not Christian. That may be so, although there are many people who celebrate the secular aspects of Christmas (tree-trimming, gift-giving, etc.) without celebrating the spiritual aspects (the birth of Christ) of it. I believe it’s perfectly fine to say “Merry Christmas” to these people, as well as to Christians who are commemorating the Savior’s birth.
Then there are other folks who claim that “Happy Holidays,” which is often used as a more inclusive alternative to “Merry Christmas,” is too liberal. In fact, I’ve heard of people wearing shirts that read “Happy Holidays” Is What Liberals Say. I can understand that they are concerned about Christ being removed from the holiday itself (and I personally am concerned about that myself), but I also think that “Happy Holidays” Is What Liberals Say is rather arrogant. Name-calling is never okay, folks.
So, to get back to my answer to the dilemma, “It depends.”
If you know for a fact that a person is of a faith that is not Christian, you should say “Happy Holidays.” If you say “Merry Christmas,” the person may think you are assuming that they are Christian–and it’s rather insensitive to assume that anyone is of a particular faith. It’s the same as seeing someone who appears to be from India and assuming that they are Hindu. (Not all people from India are Hindu, and not everyone who “looks” Indian is from there.) I personally have two good friends who are Jewish, and to them I say either “Happy Holidays” or “Happy Hanukkah” (the latter during the eight days when the holiday is celebrated). They, however, say “Merry Christmas” to me, which is perfectly acceptable, since they know what faith I belong to.
What are your opinions on the “Merry Christmas” vs. “Happy Holidays” debate? Please, no bashing any particular faith.