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Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?

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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.

(parenthetical remarks)

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About parenthetical

  • What about non-African-Americans who celebrate Kwanzaa? Do you like us too? 😉

    “…heretical stain on our righteous Christian nation” Priceless! Thanks for the grin.

  • Nancy

    I have a hard enough time getting out general holiday cards, etc. let alone trying to conform to multiple holidays, which is why I have switched to generic “Happy Holidays” messages instead of religious-specifics. As it is, I’ll probably be mass-emailing this year. Shame on me.

  • I keep having this image of Christian soldiers defending Christmas looking gung-ho and valiant, marching onto the battlefield and discovering that the evil, secular army of Christmas killers hasn’t shown up.

    I wonder how long they’ll keep fighting the war before they discover that the evil, secular army of Christmas killers doesn’t exist?

  • Doesn’t matter if they really exist. So long as the Christian right continues using them as bogeymen, it will continue to rake in bucks from and publicity with its likeminded and obedient sheep, who will believe its leaders no matter what.

  • What ever happened to Season’s Greetings? Or is that too generic?

  • I actually like “Seasons Greetings.” It’s friendly and it communicates peace and goodwill.

  • as a military wife i’m surrounded by christian conservative americans, many of whom are curiously afraid of christmas going by the wayside…i have yet to find/hear/see evidence for their fears…

    i’m agnostic and so into christmas that i’ve started to seriously look into real estate in rothenburg here in germany…all that is christmas doesn’t have a time of year for me, it just has a time of year when it’s acceptable for those who celebrate it…

    if there were any christmas criminals creeping around, it’s safe to say i’d know it…i don’t know what the hoopla is about…honestly, it almost seems like they doth protest too much…perhaps it is the christmas cops who are really the underhanded sneaks trying to do away with it, perhaps even getting kickback from merchandisers of hanukkah and kwanzaa as preparations are made for a commercial overthrow of christmas and the entire month of december…
    something that crazy makes way more sense than the idea that leftist liberals are so powerful and mind controlling that they can take down an entire holiday just by using a greeting that was already in use…

    hallmark shouldn’t pass on this opportunity…they could play on the fears and extend the scope of the lunacy by offering “many cheers on your sperm contributor day” and “wishful delights for your egg contributor day”…there could be a “happy 7/4”, “happy 1/1”, and “congrats on the anniversary of having made it through the birth canal day”…
    i think they should just try that…

  • I like Season’s Greetings too, Silas. It avoids the whole “holiday” thing completely. This is a happy season for all. Seasons Greetings! Makes perfect sense.

    Besides, there are three holidays and New Year’s to consider. Happy Holidays just makes more sense, but I still like Season’s Greetings best.

    And, personally,from time spent in the UK, I love “Happy Christmas.” I like that most of all within family.

  • Bennett

    Great stuff diana! Happy 1/1! That’s funny!

    Good post Pete!

  • -E

    My New Years is better than your Christmas. Happy Holidays.

  • Terry Lowery

    Substituting the word holiday for Christmas is political correctness at its worst. I suppose next that everyone will be afraid to say holiday because it actually means holy day. Who are these “pc police” anyway?

    If you think the political correctness movement is much ado about nothing you are sadly mistaken. It is an attempt to control the way you think and talk and apparantly it is working.

  • Read the post before you spout off, Terry. People often use Happy Holidays because they are, in fact, talking about multiple freaking holidays, i.e. Christmas, New Year’s, maybe Thanksgiving. It’s not necessarily PC. And who are you to say what’s controlling what I think? Sounds like you got your “pc police” line straight from AM radio…

    If you think Christians in America are in any real danger of being marginalized, then you’re the one who is sadly mistaken.

  • Good post Pete –

    Some of you might have read my take on the Christmas part of the holiday season. I do love it (hate the stress, but oh well) but I don’t feel it has to be started before, or even ON Thanksgiving.

    I love this part:

    “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”

    I don’t mind “Happy Holidays” as the inclusive greeting the way Pete mentioned – but the PC stuff is for the birds.

    Dont’ get me wrong, it’s great to acknowldege other groups’ holidays – (writing from the Christian POV) –

    but really, who would be sorely offended if a Jew wished you a sincere “Happy Hanukkah” (If they just assumed you were Jewish or just wanted to say it anyway)? Would you really be upset if someone said, “The Best of Solstice or Saturnalia Greetings to you”? I wouldn’t. I’d be be flattered that someone wanted to wish me something pleasant – whether it was ‘my holiday’ or not.

  • Terry Lowery

    Get your head out of the sand, Pete. It most definately is PC when all of a sudden it is considered inappropriate to wish someone a Merry Christmas.

    Holiday gifts, holiday lights, holiday tree are all attempts to take Christ out of Christmas.

    And, yes, I did read the post.

  • Nancy

    It matters not what religion you reference, all holiday foods are totally delicious & totally fattening. It’s not fair.

  • GoHah

    besides, the name of pagan god Mithra, whose birthday the Christians co-opted, would make for a tongue-twister of a greeting. Try saying Merry Mithramas three times real fast, let alone once.
    Merry Christmas! (ah–much better)

  • Nancy

    I find it interesting that most religions, especially the older ones, have some sort of dead-of-winter festivity, when food supplies are getting low, along with the temperatures & the daylight. Some things seem to be universal to the point of almost DNA-generated.

  • There is a lot of truth to that Nancy.

  • Anyone see the “politically correct” version of Silent Night and other Christmas Carols on SNL this weekend? It’s hysterical. Another thing I was thinking about this weekend was those little Christmas Carol books that John Hancock Insurance used to give away. I don’t think there was a kid anywhere who didn’t have one when I was growing up.

  • Nancy

    Politically correct christmas carols? That does sound pretty funny. I got my best immersion in carols when my latin teacher made us pick one & translate it (Adeste Fideles was out, of course). I chose “White Christmas”, and boy, was I sorry! Let me tell you, “Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer” is a trip in Ceasar’s latin.

  • Sylvain

    I say Merry Christmas and always say this no matter what. I also say Christmas Tree not Holiday Tree. Are people going to change the songs that say Christmas in them to Holiday I think not. People should be ashamed of themselves even thinking about calling this holiday something else, it is Christmas and it will stay that way for years to come period.

  • Ralph Unroe

    It is Christ’s Birthday and the time we celebrate is at Christmas. The christian does not interfer with other’s celebration. Why interfer with paying honor to our Creator.
    One day we all will be aware of who He is.

    Thank you

  • Jim

    WE all have freedom of our own speech — to me Merry Christmas is for Christmas – Thing that gets me is seeing stores and places calling Christmas trees “Holiday” trees. C’mon!
    This world has gone crazy — I can hardly wait to see what the next 10 years brings!!!!! “Happy Birthday”??? How dare you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Merry Christmas to all and Happy New Year!

  • Link

    I say, we need to keep with the traditional Merry Christmas greeting, because the majority of United States citizens are Christians. Look at the statistics. Christmas is the most celebrated holy day, this time of year. To force the majority of people (Christians) to rename Christmas to the degraded generic “happy holidays” is simply wrong. And it’s wrong to try to change the majority to please the very few in comparison. Merry Christmas!!!!!!!

  • Shark

    “FOX News ran a poll showing that viewers favored saying “Merry Christmas”… “

    I wonder where “Please step into the de-lousing chamber” was on their viewers’ list of preferences…?

    BTW: just for the record, I always say,

    “Happy Birthday to Your Theomorphic Mythological Being!”

    — rolls right off the tongue!

  • Anthony Grande

    Ummm, weather you believe he was the son of God or not Jesus was not a “mythological being”.

  • Anthony Grande

    I say say what you want, but if you are a person that gets offended when I choose to say “Merry Christmas” then you are a worthless, whinning, incapable, selfish fool.

    I say this because this is a Christian majority country. I wouldn’t live in Israel if I got offended everytime someone says “Happy Hannakah” and I wouldn’t move to Egypt if I get offended every freakin time someone says “Happy Ramadan”.

  • gonzo marx

    Ant G sez…
    *I say say what you want, but if you are a person that gets offended when I choose to say “Merry Christmas” then you are a worthless, whinning, incapable, selfish fool.*

    so turnabout is fair play…and you won’t bitch if someone wishes you a Happy Kwanzaa, or blessed JuJu Snow Day or any other Holly-Daze greeting?

    Ant G then sez…
    *I say this because this is a Christian majority country.*

    again, the separation clause in the First Amendment assures ALL Individuals with the freedom OF and FROM religion

    so it really doesn’t matter what any “majority” are…and your “statistic” is bogus because it lumps ALL the various sects of “christianity” together to achieve the numbers you claim

    NO single “sect” can claim a “majority”…and to attempt to do so as a prime Postulate for an Argument is disingenuous at best, and deliberately misleading at worst

    nuff said?


  • Anthony Grande

    Gonzo, as much as I love and respect the First Amendment it has nothing to do with the facts.

    If someone walked up to me and said “Happy Kwanzaa” I would smile back and say “Same to you”. Why should I bitch and complain when someone is going out of there way to show there kindness to me?

    When somone says “Merry Christmas” and when someone says “Happy Kwanzaa” they are showing you respect and kindness and anyone who gets offended when someone else is showing harmeless kindness and respect is a “worthless, whinning, incapable, selfish fool.”

  • gonzo marx

    Ant G sez…
    *If someone walked up to me and said “Happy Kwanzaa” I would smile back and say “Same to you”. Why should I bitch and complain when someone is going out of there way to show there kindness to me?*

    there is Hope for you yet, grasshopper…

    never said there was anything wrong with a “merry christmas”…i just also understand why some prefer “happy holidays” to be a bit more generic as well as to cover both christmas and new years as a “season”

    so where’s the problem here?

    are folks upset when you wish them a merry christmas? i’ve not heard of any case where someone freaked out because they were wished a merry christmas

    but there are some who do freak out over the generic happy holidays…a certain “talking head” just wrote a book about it

    but in this case…you and i agree on this, it seems

    what’s the Harm in whatever “greeting” anyone might offer? accept it as it is offered and return the Intent…if nothing else, it’s being polite

    wow…Ant and me actually agreeing…

    someone find out who is playing goalie for hell’s hockey team after the snowball fight


  • Anthony Grande

    So you can agree with me that only a worthless, whinning, incapable, selfish fool would get offended if I said “Merry Christmas” to them?

    Honestly, I do not get offended someone walks up to me in a Wal Mart and says “Season’s Greetings” but I would have more respect for the person if he or she said “Merry Christmas” instead of a half-ass “Season’s Greetings”.

  • There’s nothing wrong with any kind of holiday greeting, specific or generic.

    That said, as a Jewish American (to use the PC term) I can tell you that it’s off-putting when you’re in group situations that absolutely assume you share the same religion as everyone else. Christmas may be an American institution, but it doesn’t mean that everyone celebrates Christmas.

    That said, I celebrate Christmas now as my wife is Catholic!

  • Anthony Grande

    Eric, would you be offended if I saw you in the mall and said “Merry Christmas?”

    Would your Jewish mother or any of your relatives be offended?

    When you come to a country that is over 80% Christian you better be able to take a simple “Merry Christmas.”

    If I am a Christian in Israel and feel alienated when a someone says “Happy Hannakah” I wouldn’t stay in Israel. (Of course of wouldn’t be offended if someone said “Happy Hannakah” and I would probably greet people with a “Happy Hannakah” if I lived in Israel.)

  • If you’d take the time to read what I wrote, you’ll see that I just stated that I don’t mind any greeting in a one-on-one situation.

    And I never came to the United States, I was born in Queens New York, bro!

  • Anthony Grande

    Why are you engaging in conversation with me at this thread but refusing to engage in conversion at that other thread?

    I never met YOU when I said “people who come here”. I was talking about people who came here like your family most likely did.

  • I explained that already.

    And I don’t know what my “Jewish mother” or anyone else in my family would say, you’d have to ask them.

  • In your court of one you must have an astonishing winning percentage.

  • Anthony Grande

    I proved that, you both have agreed with me, that the average sane person does not get offended by a simple “Merry Christmas.”

  • fair enough

  • KYS

    How about “Merry Multi Cultural and Religious Milestone Month?

    It includes all religions, cultures and adds a bit of alliteration to boot.

  • link

    I also hate calling businesses and getting press 1 for English and 2 for Espaniol.

    Merry Christmas to all and especially the majority of Christians that make up America, no matter what denomination!!! All them have one common denominator “Christ”! Therefore, it lumps us all together. One body of believers!

  • Anthony Grande

    No, what pisses me off is: Thank you for calling Press 1 for SPANISH and Press 2 for English.

    Spanish as a second choice doesn’t boil my blood too much.

  • Link

    I agree fully!!!

  • Anthony Grande

    I attend Colton High in Southern California and it is about 60% Hispanic. When I miss a class or miss school entirely they send a recording to my house notifying my parents. And this long message is broadcasted in Spanish first and then English second. I assume this is because my last name is Grande.

    Or when I go to the bank and the teller sees me and speaks in Spanish assuming that it is my first language. This happens quite often and it deeply offends me.

  • Waleed

    I think Christians should be allowed to celebrate their religious festivals and holidays without having to cover it. I am a muslim myself, and I would not in any way find it offensive to see my christian friends enjoy and celebrate their holidays. I even join them in their happiness. I think its selfish to claim that their happiness is offencsive to anyone who’s not christian. They never said that ourcelebrations are offensive to them, have they ?? just live and let live, everyone. There’s no need to escalate tensions or promote violent feelings.

  • I personally like saying Merry Christmas. I celebrate Christmas, most people do, and the people I know that don’t, aren’t offended when they hear it. We’re not saying it to be exclusive, it’s simply tradition and it’s a well-intentioned greeting. To me, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays are both equal, I say Merry Christmas simply because that’s what I’ve always done.

  • Expecting us to be inclusive of a fake religious holiday invented in the mid ’60s by a racist separatist – that is pure silliness.

    Pete, you leap right into assumptions that one who prefers “Merry Christmas” HAS to be anti-Semitic because they seem to not take Hanukkah into account. That’s not the case at all. It’s just that America remains a primarily Christian nation – a point you obviously can’t stand, as you’d probably wish it was officially athiest. Nobody prevents Jews from putting up mennorahs. In fact, more than anything, we encourage them. And I have no problem with that whatsoever.

    Nevertheless, sign me up as a member of the “Merry Christmas” gang – and proud to be so!

  • Anthony G: “I say say what you want, but if you are a person that gets offended when I choose to say ‘Merry Christmas’ then you are a worthless, whining, incapable, selfish fool.”

    They couldn’t be anything else. Worthless? Possibly, though that may be going too far. Whining? Can you say “ear plugs, please?” Incapable? If not in body, definitely in the head. Selfish? Abso-freaking-lutely!

    Thanks for the laugh – and the truth – Anthony!

  • Okay… but does expressing such an attitude exhibit anywhere near the galactic neighborhood of “the true meaning of Christmas”?

  • jaxmax

    It seems the true meaning of Christmas is being lost by what greeting to use. Christmas is so over commercialized. I’m sick and tired of seeing Christmas displays well before Halloween now. I’m Jewish and I believe a Christmas tree is not a “holiday” tree because whatever it is called I will never by one. I have to laugh when these groups threaten to boycott stores because their clerks say “Happy Holidays”. I thought Christmas was about the birth of Jesus, not where you bought the latest gizmos for presents. Shouldn’t these groups be emphasizing the true meaning of Christmas?

  • From my original post: “…”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.

    From ME Manning, comment 47: “It’s just that America remains a primarily Christian nation – a point you obviously can’t stand, as you’d probably wish it was officially athiest.

    Thank you for proving my point. Actually, I want this country to be officially secularist. Which it is.

    P.S. Your brother really fouled things up for the Colts this afternoon.

  • Pete — I agree in that I think a lot of it has to do with intent: inclusion versus exclusion, and that goes for whatever faith system (including athiesism) one subscribes to.

  • Pete, America is not officially secularist. That’s garbage. It’s what hippy historians and professors have managed to brainwash the country into thinking.

    The Founding Fathers did not establish any sect of Christianity as the official religion, but they thought the country would remain Christian in some form. The Constitution never could have come about without the guidance from God that they sought. The Declaration of Independence is a faith-drenched document.

    It’s a shame how little people actually know about what “separation of church and state” actually means. It did not and still does not mean that America officially declared itself secular. No such thing ever happened. Maybe you’ve never noticed the “In God We Trust” on your dollar bills?!

    Re: Peyton Manning – We all have our off-days, but personally, I’m more concerned with what the Patriots have up their sleeves for the post-season.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    It might help you all in your debate if you borrowed a term or two from the Europeans to define your views.

    A clericalist is one who favors religion generally – though in Europe this is often defined to mean a state-supported religion. In the States, you have no state-supported religion, so a clericalist is one who supports religion generally.

    Conversely, an anti-clericalist is one who opposes religion generally. In Europe, this usually means a person opposing the state-supported religion, but again, in the States, you have no state-supported religion.

  • Ja-Ja binks

    Go LINK!!!
    Merry CHRISTmas….Praise the LORD!!

  • MEM,

    Nowhere in the Constitution or the DoI is Christianity mentioned explicitly. They mention God or the Creator but the documents can hardly be described as “faith-drenched.”

    Separation of church & state means what it always has: there is no official religion in the US and the governance of the country should not be dictated by religion. The country is secular in its governance, not in the beliefs of its people. I never said otherwise. As the opposite of secular is faith-based, this country is officially secular.

    Your faith-drenched DoI was written by a deist who in all likelihood did not believe in the divinity of Christ. Oh, he’s also the origin of the phrase “separation of church & state.”

    People have the right to believe in whatever they want. They don’t have the right to force their religious beliefs on the private lives of others, whether those religious beliefs are Christian, Zoroastrian or atheist. The state does have a right and obligation to refrain from officially endorsing any religion.

  • lauren

    I just really don’t mind if somebody says, “merry Christmas”. So what if it’s not politically correct? Christmas has become so commercialized that it almost seems the whole reason why christmas exists doesn’t. If you asked a small child what Christmas was about, they would answer, “Santa comes and gives us the presents we want”. I think you should have the freedom of saying whatever you feel like, and if you know somebody Jewish, which I don’t, you should respect them by saying, “Happy Holidays.” But if you didn’t know they were Jewish in the first place, it’s not your fault. If it really hurt them, sue you for all who cares. No court will oppose the freedom of speech.

  • the white beard man

    ho ho ho ho what do you want for cristmas

  • Brian T

    Here’s my two cents… Merry Christmas IS politically correct for the season because they’re “our” holy days, period! Jews have Hannukah and Muslims have Ramadan. If a Jew says Happy Hannukah to me I reciprocate, why, it’s his holiday and I’m grateful he’s nice enough to include me in his thoughts. I don’t “feel” as much as he does saying it, but if it makes another “Mensch” feel good, then I’m all for it. I wish all my Jewish and Muslim friends a merry Christmas and why not? Frankly, if any of them were to be offended, they probably wouldn’t be my friends because I’d have dismissed them as narrow minded. Mutual respect is a given, I don’t serve my Jewish kosher friends chicken in a milk sauce and i don’t serve my Muslim friends pork ribs. But they need to respect my need for my holy days as I respect theirs. “Politically correct” is a bloody joke in my opinion. If any Muslim wants to be politically correct around me, then in the words of Scrooge, he’d better not want to pick my pocket by asking for Christmas day off with pay, and he’d better not want double time on any other Christian holiday either. He can have a week off during Ramadan and I’ll wish him a happy one. I’ve nothing against him sitting around all day eating nothing and repenting and they shouldn’t have anything against me going to the Christmas party for a little wine, women and song. It’s time for the religions of the world to stop ramming their morals and values down other people’s throats. (George Bush, take note!!!) I’ve nothing against Jews celebrating Hannukah and since it falls around the same time, put the minora up, doesn’t bother me. All this nonsense abut what people can and can’t do to be “politically correct” is just pathetic. Complainers on all sides, get over yourselves. Happy holidays is for losers. If the Chinese can celebrate their new year weeks after me, I’m all for that, let’s party!

    The fact that Muslims and some others just want to starve, repent and keep their wives out of sight during their holy days is not going to pour water on my party. I’ll not dress my wife in a Burhka and if they don’t want to celebrate Christmas, don’t, and don’t ask for time off! Putting Muslims and the other religions to work at Christmas, and Christians to work on Muslim holy days will ensure that America runs smoothly for the respective religions during their respective holy days. Finally, Christmas trees are Pagan bloody symbols for heaven’s sake. if CHRISTIANS have nothing against throwing one up and adopting it for a couple of weeks, despite its hedonistic roots, before mulching it to feed the spring plants, well, may God, Allah, Buddah, Krishna and any other interested Deity bless ’em all!

    Now, anyone for a quick dip in the Ganges before we get off to the Bar Mitzvah after having corns weaved for the Kwanzaa B.B.Q on the way to midnight mass? Oh and on a personal note, George Bush sent out “Happy Holiday” cards this year after ramming his catholic faith down all our throats for 6 years. How “compassionately conservative” of him… or, what a difference an election loss makes!

  • George Bush is not a Catholic. He’s a Methodist.

    And who said you can’t go to a Christmas party?

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Happy Hanukkah, Pete.

  • Iyiy bayram to you, too.