Battle troops continue to mass for the War on Christmas. This morning, FOX News ran a poll showing that viewers favored saying "Merry Christmas" to "Happy Holidays" by a margin of something like 60% to 20% (the remaining 20% apparently opting for "go to hell" instead).
As far as I'm concerned, this is much ado about nothing. There's no reason whatsoever that these two greetings need to be mutually exclusive. What the pro-Christmas partisans fail to realize is that there are several holidays in the "holiday season." In fact, I have always taken "Happy Holidays" as shorthand for "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year's" (and, around this time, a belated "Happy Thanksgiving," too). People who wish you a Merry Christmas in early December seem to be jumping the gun a bit. (If you want to wish me a happy Advent, go right ahead.) Even worse than jumping the gun, the early MCers are merely buying into the retailers' definition of Christmas: it starts the day after Thanksgiving and ends when your bank account is drained.
So, "Happy Holidays" does not even have to include all the so-called holidays of other religions, the members of which are undoubtedly little other than a heretical stain on our righteous Christian nation. It's just a catch-all for several red-blooded American holidays that happen to bunch together at the end of the year. For those of us who don't hate Jews and Kwanzaa-celebrating African Americans, however, "Happy Holidays" has the added bonus of making us inclusive, and tolerant people—or, as many of the soldiers of Christmas would have it, dirty, God-hating communists. (Come to think of it, when's the last time you saw any of these curmudgeons being "merry" anyway?)
There's really no end in sight, and battle lines are still being drawn in the snow. My only advice is to keep your head down and, whatever you do, don't go shopping. You're just asking for trouble.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all.