Merry Christmas! …or happy holidays? I went to Catholic school since Kindergarten, so deciding which to say was never really an issue for me or anyone that I spent a lot of time with. When we left school for what we called Christmas Vacation, there was obviously never an issue with saying “merry Christmas.” I knew that there were all these issues with having employees of public places like stores or coffee shops saying “happy holidays” rather than “merry Christmas,” or the reverse, which has been just as controversial. At the time I didn’t think it was such a big deal if people said “happy holidays” because it seemed more inclusive, so why not? I heard “merry Christmas” more anyway, so it didn’t seem like there was this “war on Christmas” that we always hear about. Well, now that I’m in college and it seems like it’s almost wrong to say “merry Christmas,” it’s more apparent to me how silly saying “happy holidays” can sometimes be. No, not everyone celebrates Christmas as a holy day, but are we going to pretend that the entire nation doesn’t take this holiday to be with family and friends, away from the stresses of their normal routine? Meanwhile, coffee shops will have cups with traditional Christmas colors and an image of Santa Claus, but we can’t say “merry Christmas”? Why do we feel like we have to pretend that December 25th is just like any other day, or perhaps is some unknown and mysterious holiday. Yes, I know people of other faiths and I know people who don’t practice any religion at all, and they too say “Merry Christmas!” Why? Because it is the holiday that is obviously being celebrated. If it were any other holiday that the nation took off for or I didn’t have school for, you better believe I’d be saying “happy (insert holiday here).” In my experience, the people who push for saying “happy holidays” are people who are against Christianity in all aspects or are just afraid to say something politically incorrect. Whether you see Christmas as a religious holiday or not, there’ll always be Santa Clauses in the mall, but for some reason the same workers in the mall will say “happy holidays.” What? Why are we all dancing around the holiday, afraid to acknowledge it? Who could possibly be offended? Why in the world would anyone be offended, and would enough people genuinely be offended that we would have to socially police speech?
I really don’t care how people choose to wish me joy during the Christmas season. However, I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with saying “merry Christmas,” because Christmas is the national holiday for which there is music on the radio, themed movies and family gatherings during this time of year. At the heart of the illogic is this: if people want to claim that Christmas is no longer a religious holiday then it shouldn’t be a big deal to say “merry Christmas.” If these same people don’t want “merry Christmas” to be said because they do believe it’s a religious holiday, then why are they willing to engage in gift exchanges, Christmas trees, Christmas sweaters, coffee cups, and everything else Christmas? The bottom line is this: society should work to be inclusive, but shaming people for saying “merry Christmas” when it is the season is not a worthy battle, and it borders on silliness. Whatever holiday or holy day you are celebrating this time of year or any time of the year, I wish you well. In fact, I wish you well all times of the year. But for this Christmas season, I wish you all a very merry Christmas.