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What’s Wrong with Happy Holidays?

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ornamentsIn recent years there has been a lot of chatter about the “War on Christmas”. People (mostly on the far right of the political spectrum) are ranting about businesses and governments not saying “Merry Christmas”.

Well honestly, what is wrong with “Happy Holidays” and “Season’s Greetings”? Both phrases have been considered acceptable greetings for this time of year for decades if not centuries. So why is there all the fuss now?

Even if we ignore the fact that many of the symbols and behaviours that western cultures associate with Christmas have their roots in pagan tradition (i.e. carolling, decorating trees, mistletoe, holly, wreaths, and Yule logs), it seems to me that some people go through life looking for reasons to be offended.

Ironically, the very people who are complaining about the perceived attack on Christmas are doing more damage to the holiday than anyone else. Christmas is supposed to be a time of peace, love, and goodwill towards others. To walk around like Scrooge complaining about someone’s choice of words doesn’t sound very Christmas-like to me.

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About PJ Burns

  • Fred

    absolutely agree with david malbuff and doug hunter. the article utterly missed the principal point being that all these nonsense-discussions about what how to wish yourselves were initiated by some people who couldn’t stand the presence of christian traditions and customs, striving for a 100% neutral society (which is, in my opinion, an utopian goal).
    topped with the sentimental call for love without reflection this article is pretty much the biggest bullshit i’ve read on the internet since a long while- dear author, how long did it take you to come up with that?

  • S.T.M

    MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM THE FUTURE (Australia). It’s 7.15pm Christmas Eve here, and we’ve just had our cold Aussie seafood dinner since it’s the middle of f*cking summer. Should be fun cooking the turkey tomorrow. It’s going to be pretty hot and humid, according to the weather bureau, and there’s a tropical cyclone heading in towards Darwin. Santa will be delivering presents tonoght in his boardshorts.

    Cheers everyone,

    Merry Christmas!

  • googolplex

    What’s wrong with Merry Christmas?
    It was changed to Happy Holidays in order not to offend the Jews (Hannukah) and to stick to politically correctness.

  • Details about a brief message to give your Senator are on comments at the end of comments on this article, which also gives more background on the 2012 NDAA. There’s also a link to a list of all Senators’ contact info there. Call both of them.

  • Baby Jesus is all grown up now and has more important things about which to be interceding at the right hand of the Father than whether or not people are throwing parties for His birthday (which may or may not be December 25, anyway.)

    What’s under attack at the moment is the underpinnings of the American Constitution, of government since the Magna Carta. The 2012 Defense Authorization Act, into which have been insinuated clauses that would permit the President to authorize the military to detain, indefinitely and without trial, those citizens, living on American soil they deem to be a terrorist threat. And it’s very vaguely worded as to what “supporting terrorism” is. Could be protesting the war. Or having once given money to a charitable institution that covertly was giving money to Al Quaeda. In other words, if someone has it in for you, and has the flimsiest tissue of evidence that you MIGHT be a terrorist, all your rights are gone.

    Call your Senator NOW.

    Christians who should be at the FOREFRONT of the movement to stop this. Instead, we’ve listened to evil shepherds, wolves, who’ve encouraged to waste our time, and foolishly alienate ourselves from our neighbors and friends over matters like this.

  • Ed

    X-mas is not under attack, nor is America a “Christian country”, last I checked we have FREEDOM OF RELIGION. The comments on here just show some examples of the intolerance of Christians towards anyone who doesn’t believe as they do. Newsflash assholes: Christians do not own the rights to December. There are other holidays from other brands of fairy tales. If you took 10min to educate yourself instead of just repeating the things your pastor says you would know that Christmas is a pagan holiday the church stole. According to historians your “Savior” wasn’t born in December. Get over yourselves.

  • The same clowns that complain about the war on Christmas would be quite upset if their Wal-Mart greeter said, “As-Salamu Alaykum” to them as they entered the store. They’d be the first to get angry when told “Happy Hannakuh”. We are not a Christian nation and it’s only being considerate of others that we say “Happy Holidays” so as not to have to offend someone who may not worship the birthday of Jesus. Even many Christian faiths object to the celebration of Christmas, since its filled with idols and pagan festivals.

  • I am a Christian, and I say “Happy Holidays” most of the time, and I find the righteous indignation of the “Keep Christ in Christmas” crowd offensive. This is my blog about it, complete with a picture you can share on FB and other places.

  • Teresa

    This is just all too ridiculous. Merry Christmas to you Christians, Happy Yule to you Pagans, Happy Hanukkah to you Jews and happy whatever to the rest of you. No one group or religion owns the holiday season so get over yourselves and be merry and bright and full of good cheer, dangit!!!

  • David Malbuff

    “you never run the risk of telling someone “Merry Christmas” when they observe something else.”

    What is this “risk” of which you speak? Kindly explain, please.

  • The other is that for a nation of traitors, it’s remained the most loyal of the colonies in defence of the mother country and its other children.

    Yet considering it’s a nation that wouldn’t even exist if it hadn’t been for the French, they showed the most astonishing ingratitude by throwing tantrums a few years back when their erstwhile allies in rebellion had the temerity to raise the possibility that perhaps invading Iraq might not be the brightest idea.

  • STM

    Doc (the foreigner): “It’s also Independence Day on the Fourth of July. I’m not going to call it something else [because I’m not a Seppo]”.

    How about Traitors’ Day??

    They got into bed with the dastardly French to achieve their aims, and then realised 150-200 years later exactly why it was the rest of us thought that was a bad idea.

    Traitors and rebels. Not for wanting independence, but for getting into bed with Froggie.

    One of the great ironies was that Britain was a constitutional democracy at the time, while France was absolutist – the exact opposite of what America said it stood for.

    Just one of the early paradoxes – among many others – that have marked and continue to mark – America’s growth as a nation.

    The other is that for a nation of traitors, it’s remained the most loyal of the colonies in defence of the mother country and its other children.

    So, for all that, no real complaints this end.

  • STM

    And, finally, back on topic … I’ll ask the other question: What’s wrong with Merry Christmas.

    I live in a Christian country (about 90 per cent of the population are at least nominally Christian), and Christmas is a major religious/secular celebration.

    Fine, if others want to wish each other Happy Hannukah or celebrate Eid, or whatever, but please, could the PC brigade stop telling me I can’t celebrate Christmas AS Christmas in case I offend any poor bugger who doesn’t celebrate it.

    I don’t believe most ARE offended but if they are, who bloody cares if they’re offended?? That’s not my problem, it’s theirs. Get over it and embrace it.

    Indeed, most non-Christians, people of other faiths, I know actually DO get into the spirit of Christmas, even if they only celebrate it on a secular level rather a religious one.

    It’s just that so many PC idiots think they don’t. My buddhust neighbours have Christmas lights up.

    Nanny statism, chardonnay socialists, namby-pamby liberals and the loony left (as opposed to the decent, normal, hardworking left, of which I am a part) are largely to blame for all this.

    So go away and leave us all be.

    Christmas is Christmas, not a happy holiday.

  • STM

    Like I say, I might give Sydney a miss on the weekend of the fifth Test and go for a surf down the coast instead.

    My mate has a shop down there and makes his own boards. I need a new surfboard or three.

  • STM

    Well, yes, Doc, but these are sports in which we’ve traditionally been on top. The Kiwis even beat us in the Four Nations Rugby League final.

    In regard to cricket, it’s good for us not to be winning all the time (although the rugby might have been a hiccup, since the Wallabies went to Stade de France two weeks later and demolished France, the Six-Nations champions, by a record score following the Twickenham ambush).

    I found it in the past not to be good for the sport to have Aussies gloating about the winning scenario all the time. That is what happens in this country, as you know.

    The Poms have been heading to this point for the past 10 years, and good on ’em. They’ve built a side from scratch that knows exactly what it’s about, and is close, and will play for their mates when the chips are down.

    We have gone from the penthouse to the outhouse in the past six years. I never thought I’d live to see Australia drop to fifth in the world Test cricket rankings and England sit at number one.

    I always hoped for a more even contest, but not a complete role reversal.

    But that’s where your mob are today are.

  • zingzing

    it is getting that way, which is a good thing for the sport of basketball (and baseball, but we’ll get to that later on). but teamwork is a huge part of both games, and i’m not sure how fair it is to ask the best of any nation (who are unfamiliar with each other) to come together and form a team for a month to play a tournament.

    in 1992, the us’ “dream team” was certainly something to watch, but it’s not that way anymore. the olympics and the world championships are just extra games for world stars to get injured in, which hurts their contract negotiations and hurts their team, meaning the team might not be too happy to grant the leave to do so.

    with so many international players (see ming in china) refusing to play for their international teams because it is detrimental to their (money-making) nba career, the international tournaments are being diminished.

    in baseball, if you look at the lineup willing to play for the us in the world tournament, it’s not a list of all-stars.

    i think a tournament of professional teams who are willing to play in an international event might prove to be a better format. but why would they? there’s too much money in playing it safe, and not playing for your country. this is particularly true for us-based athletes (in these sports).

    these world championships don’t have the cache that the world cup has. if they had more history, maybe. but they don’t.

  • zing, I know that no other national baseball or basketball leagues can rival MLB or the NBA for quality, but the two sports are played to a high level in many countries.

    Could the champions of, say, Argentina take on the Lakers in a meaningful contest? Perhaps not quite yet, but it’s getting that way.

  • Look at it this way, Stan. An Aussie is world snooker champion. It all balances out. 🙂

  • STM

    I might go camping down the south coast instead.

  • STM

    This year’s twin Pom ambushes: Aussie rugby team smashed at Twickenham, world HQ of evil, in November in front of 80,000 lunatics waving the Cross of St George and re-living the Battle of Agincourt, now the debacle in Melbourne … D-Day: Pommy Breakout from the MCG, finally into open country, already victorious and on their way to the Sydney Cricket Ground, the Berlin of the Ashes series.

    Time to slink off and pull the arrows out of the chain mail and the shrapnel out of the cods before the rampaging Poms and their Barmy Army supporters arrive at the gates of the city.

  • STM

    So now what? Australia fell on its arse yesterday. Can’t see ’em picking up a draw.

    The urn is heading back to the Old Dart.

    The Poms are just too good this time around, although don’t expect them to head back to England straight away.

    A lot of them will be stopping in South Africa to visit their families.

    I was hoping it would come down to the last Test in Sydney, but it’ll be a dead rubber.

  • zingzing

    “I don’t, however, think baseball falls under that category any more.”

    oh, i dunno. we pilfer talent from around the world, and said talent clamors to come here, and after 162 games (plus playoffs) of playing together as a team, i’d not bet money on a team from another professional baseball league beating our champs. not that it’s impossible, but it’s kinda doubtful. or one would be a fool to not make them the favorites.

    when you throw together a national team, however, things change. us players, for some reason or another, don’t really take the baseball world tournament seriously, and they don’t practice together enough for it. it’s a shame, but i think that the thinking is changing on that. it’s embarrassing.

    “Or basketball, come to that.”

    that may be true. at a professional level, basketball players in america seem pretty selfish. there’s sometimes a lack of team play. although i can’t name a team in the world that would want to take on the heat or the celtics right now. (or maybe they would, but they might regret it.)

  • And actually, I think the American habit of referring to the victorious team in a sport which is only played (to the highest standard, at any rate) in America as “world champions” is fair enough, if a little comical. They are the best team in the world at that sport.

    I don’t, however, think baseball falls under that category any more. Or basketball, come to that. Although those two sports actually do have real world championships.

    And when Colorado won the MLS Cup last month, I do hope the commentator didn’t scream out, through force of habit, “Colorado Rapids – world champions! Oh, wait…”

  • …So how come the Little League World Series is a world event? 🙂

  • Clavos


    It ain’t.


  • zingzing

    also, the no-hitter isn’t the crowning achievement, even on the pitcher’s end. the perfect game is. 27 up, 27 down, no walks, no hit-by-pitch bases, no fielding errors that result in a hit.

    that said, i was pleasantly surprised that you didn’t go on about the world series not being a world event. for that, i thank you.

  • zingzing

    to be fair, that’s only half the game. there’s another side to the inning, which could be a homerun derby.

    and besides, watching a pitcher baffle batters is pretty neat. i’d rather see a pitcher’s duel than a high-scoring game any day of the week.

    at least there’s no ties. as much as i love soccer, i can see why some people get fed up with 0-0 games.

  • True, zing, but you do have to wonder about a game in which the crowning achievement is to get a “no-hitter”, which means that two guys with funny-shaped gloves on have been playing a game of catch all afternoon which a succession of other blokes with sticks have tried unsuccessfully to break up.

  • zingzing

    yes, you’re biased. just watch a person who really understands the game watch their team in the playoffs. they’ll be screaming about every pitch, pumping their fists, cursing the umpire, oooing and awwing, etc, etc. if you don’t get it, you don’t get it. but someone else does.

  • I’m sure I’m biased but to me Baseball is a game of mind-numbing boredom whereas Cricket at its best is a stunning spectacle of excitement and intensity whether it is played over five hours or five days.

  • zingzing

    doc: “silly mid-on and silly mid-off”

    alright. well. there’s the hidden complexity. the hell is that?

  • zingzing

    “Even Americans who’ve moved to Oz love it once they’ve seen it. They’re simple folk though and it does take ’em a while to work it out, but once they do … they never go back to baseball.”

    oooohhhhhhh. fuck it. i like boxing. no bullshit, no teams, just two assholes beating each other. that’s a sport.

    baseball is a game of math. statistics actually tell the story a lot of the time. and they’ve built statistics (see sabermetrics) to explain and predict what will happen. it’s all numbers, but with a human wild card thrown in. things happen and don’t happen how they’re supposed to, but it’s a long season.

    even us americans can sort out actions on a field leading to numbers on a scoreboard. even us stupid, stupid americans… winners of 13 fields medals…

  • Zing, let us know how you get on, and particularly if you find out what silly mid-on and silly mid-off are. I don’t think anybody knows.

  • zingzing

    stm, you’re #64 didn’t help me out at all. or not much. but i took a quick look at some videos and i’ve pretty much got it now. pretty much like baseball with instant outs and instant scores (at least when it flies or roles out, or the “batter,” i guess, runs between the wickets).

    baseball is pretty simple. but it’s comparatively complex. i just tried to write out a simple bit on it, but it’s not that easy. i’m sure there are complexities to cricket that i don’t know, but i think i get it.

    i’ll think about it, and if i can break it down succinctly, and if this thread is still going, i’ll give it a go.

  • doug m.

    I say Merry Christmas unless I know someone celebrates something different. But I don’t get worked and hurt feelings about it. Seems to miss the point of the season

  • Stan, I was thinking of the reverse swing bowling perfected by Wasim Akram et al a decade or so ago, when everybody thought the Pakistanis must be cheating somehow because it didn’t seem possible that a cricket ball could behave that way.

  • STM

    And because you started it all way back then, that is the reason why this is arguably the best and most fought-over of truly momentous sporting contests anywhere in the world.

    Even Americans who’ve moved to Oz love it once they’ve seen it. They’re simple folk though and it does take ’em a while to work it out, but once they do … they never go back to baseball.

  • STM

    Doc, bodyline (and head-height) bowling has been around since ther 1930s, during the infamous Bodyline Ashes series between England and Australia, when Harold Larwood (who later emigrated to Oz) was basically ordered to maim the Aussie batsmen by bowling at their upper bodies.

    They were aiming to get Don Bradman out of the picture, but it only worked briefly. Sir Don stood up to them, despite getting smashed. Our centurion.

    You guys started it all way back then, not the Indians or Pakistanis.

    Then Dennis Lillee, Thommo and Glenn McGrath perfected it 🙂

  • STM

    And Doc, it’s not the shins they’re aiming for … it’s head or body a lot of the time.

    Yes, zing, in cricket it’s perfectly legal to aim to maim or (literally) knock-out your opponent. If a batsman can’t deal with that, it’s their problem. Very entertaining to watch, though.

    Just joking about baseball BTW. But I still can’t work the bloody thing out.

    That’s the thingf with cricket. It’s simple and it makes sense – and has an element of genuine bodily danger.

    Baseball looks extremely complicated complicated and doesn’t seem that dangerous.

  • STM

    zing: “and i also wonder why the ninnies are wearing so much padding.”

    Because the ball is smaller and much harder than a baseball, and bounces off a piece of turf that has been steamrolled until it feels like a piece of concrete … generally in excess of 100mph.

    In short, it’s a very dangerous game played at that level.

    As for the rules … it’s simple. One team bats and tries to score as many runs as possible while the other team tries to bowl them out.

    Then the other team bats and tries to beat the score of the first team to bat.

    Runs are scored by running between the wickets. Four runs for a ball hit along the ground into the boundary, or six for a ball hit into the crowd.

    Batsmen are out if they are caught on the full, or the bowler takes their wicket apart. Leg Before Wicket is out too. It means the batsman has tried to save himself from being bowled out by putting his leg in the path of the ball instead of going at it with his bat.

    It’s that simple.

    Having said that, I can’t for the life of me work out baseball.

    Strange game, that. And given the lack of contact potential except at the bases, not tough enough for my liking.

    It’s such a lamb’s game, they don’t even need pads.

  • i also wonder why the ninnies are wearing so much padding.

    It’s only the batsmen and the wicketkeeper who wear pads, zing, and then only on the legs. That innocuous-looking little red ball is as hard as a rock and has a similar effect to the stone from David’s sling when hurtling towards one’s puny human shins at upwards of 100 m.p.h.

    The helmets have only come into use in the last 20 years or so, in response to the development (mainly in India and Pakistan) of a fiendish new bowling technique which causes the little red monster not only to hurtle towards you at 100 m.p.h., but to bounce at head height as it does so.

  • I never thought I’d live to see the day an Aussie Test cricket side was all out for 98 in a first innings against England.

    And the excuse about it being a transition period doesn’t really cut the mustard either. Australian boys are born with pads on.

  • zingzing

    right, well… i read that article you posted, stm, as well as watched the highlights, and i can’t make heads or tails of it, and i also wonder why the ninnies are wearing so much padding.


  • STM

    Here you go Doc … the full story, from our perspective.

    Lamentations. Very few on here would understand how momentous this is.

    I can’t wait for Chris Rose to be sticking it up me. Something to look forward to. Not.

  • STM

    Or maybe the Poms are just too good. Geez, never thought I’d ever say that.

  • STM

    Doc: “Happy boxing day …”

    Mate, what a killer … all out for 98 and in Melbourne, of all places! The Poms are now five wickets down for 300 and something in their first innings. At the end of the innings, they’ll be at least 350 runs in front, which makes for an impossible run chase. Not even a slim hope for a draw, really. The MCG was packed yesterday … it holds 100,000.

    I hope the left-over turkey sandwiches weren’t as disappointing as the cricket for all the Aussie fans who went along.

    The Sydney Test will now almost certainly be a dead rubber unless the heavens open up with Australia putting up a decent chase. I will try to get along to the SCG for a day, even so.

    As for the current debacle (calamity) at the MCG, I am operating on the principle that if I’m not watching it, it’s not really happening.

    The paper ran a RIP do-up on the back page like the original advertisement 100 years ago on the death of English cricket, this time lamenting the death of Australian cricket, with the ashes being sent to England. Oldie but a goodie.

    I never thought I’d live to see the day an Aussie Test cricket side was all out for 98 in a first innings against England.

    Perhaps the axis of the Earth is shifting, and we don’t know it yet, or some dark, dangerous matter is approaching the planet from the far off reaches of the universe and is scheduled to hit in the near future, or something …

  • STM

    Cindy: “lol, god thing you don’t eat lamb at Christmas, then it’d be just like any other day.”

    Actually, we often have a smoked leg of lamb … as well. And my daughter’s friend’s dad cooked up a baked leg of lamb (as well).

    I am unable to eat anything with meat in it today. I’ve just had some pesto pasta. A half serve. The someone offered me a slice of Christmas cake and a chocolate and I almost threw up.

  • Happy Boxing Day, Stan… The usually impartial BBC’s sports page has a sidebar chronicling, with barely concealed glee, all the records which that Australian first innings has broken.

  • lena

    doesn’n matter what the phrase, the meaning inside is more matter.HAPPY DAYS EVERYONE!!

  • zingzing

    meh. holiday meats consumed today: stewed beef, chopped beef, pork belly, pork ribs, curried chicken, curried lamb, curried scallops, raw oysters and mussels in a marinara sauce.

    to all ye animals who done sacrificed yourself for my pleasure, happy holidays. and god bless.

    come boxing day, i will flush and salute.

  • Clavos

    Unhappy holidays everyone…

  • The Fire Down Below

    Who has been saying seasons greetings and happy holidays for centuries?

  • zingzing

    “The modern world wants to take out God in everything that we were founded on which in the end we crumble like that of Rome.”

    actually, the christian god got there right at the end of rome, so i’m not sure that’s the best way to put it.

  • Forcing an employee not to say Merry Christmas is wrong in the sense that it is a form of communism.

    Ah yes, I am sure we all remember the part in Marx’s Communist Manifesto where people must be forced not to say Merry Christmas.


  • Ronnie

    Forcing an employee not to say Merry Christmas is wrong in the sense that it is a form of communism. You have to remember its a two way street its not one sided. Why is it right to say Happy Holidays and not Merry Christmas? Christians , Mormons, and Catholics would take it offensively to see Happy Holidays instead of its intended purpose which is Merry Christmas. Christ in the word is about Jesus Christ’s birthday to begin with. So why change it? to satisfy the half that do not believe in it? What about those that do? Why not have both? The modern world wants to take out God in everything that we were founded on which in the end we crumble like that of Rome.

  • Turkey is the Christmas meat here … along with ham, roast beef, pork, chicken …

    We also eat lots of fresh seafood: shrimp, oysters, salmon, etc.

    lol, god thing you don’t eat lamb at Christmas, then it’d be just like any other day.

  • STM

    NY Beaches: I’ve heard the beaches are OK in New York. Some decent surf too sometimes and good crowds in summer.

  • STM

    Sydney rock oysters are quite small but very tasty. The water here is warm half the year, and cold-(ish) the other half, but it’s never warm enough to be tropical warm or cold enough not to be able to swim.

    I don’t like Pacific oysters that much … much prefer the rock oysters, which the aborigines used to eat all the time. The Pacifics are a good size, but they lack a bit on “oyster” taste.

    Mate, have a great lunch tomorrow and enjoy the day.

    Cheers zing.

  • zingzing

    yeah, well, the “chinese” place i’m going tomorrow has raw oysters, and i’m going to start my dinner with those. god, i love oysters.

    and if you think you might need to go swimming, go easy on the sandwiches. an hour! you’ll cramp!

    i was actually surprised by how nice the beaches are here in brooklyn. been living here 3 years now and i only went out this last summer. fucking awesome, til the tide dragged in enough seaweed to let me put enough on meself to attack our ladyfriends as if i was swamp thing. but the smell! my god, the brine was awful. yet i love the mild brine in oysters. strange thing.

    are the waters cold enough to produce oysters round there? seems like they wouldn’t be… unless i’m mistaken in that good oysters live in cold water.

  • STM

    “let’s eat enough turkey leftovers to fucking hate turkey”

    Lol, zing. I relate.

    Turkey is the Christmas meat here … along with ham, roast beef, pork, chicken …

    We also eat lots of fresh seafood: shrimp, oysters, salmon, etc.

    Starting Christmas Eve and it being almost Christmas night here now, I have already had three lots of ALL the above, and the (now) cold meats look like lasting the best part of next week. Then there’s all the cakes and chocolate.

    I’m on the couch tomorrow (Boxing Day!) with ham and turkey sandwiches to watch the cricket, or (contigency plan) maybe have a swim if the Poms are belting the shit out of us.

    Looking forward to the game, not the leftovers …

  • STM

    Zing, “piss” is the irreverent Aussie word for ANY alcoholic drink.

    As in: “Oh no, he’s not on the piss again, is he?”

  • zingzing

    “zing, speaking of laminating, I’m sorely tempted to do so with your last comment. Fine work. Merry Hanukwanmasadan.”

    i thought it was good too. patting myself on the butt. merry christmas. (it is just christmas this year, except it’s also the 25th of december for those who don’t give a shit.)

  • zingzing

    “Mind you, I don’t have a clue about thanksgiving except that it’s one more excuse to stuff your face with turkey and drink vast quantities of piss…”

    if that’s your word for “american beer,” i usually drink wine on that day, at least with the meal. white wine. it goes well with turkey. most of the time, however, white wine is piss. nasty stuff. terrible hangover.

    that said, there usually is loads of beer drunk with thanksgiving day football. however, it all leads to the traditional thanksgiving day pass out. and then the traditional post-thanksgiving day “let’s eat enough turkey leftovers to fucking hate turkey enough to not fucking touch it again until fucking next fucking thanksgiving.”

    which is why i’m having dinner at a chinese/portuguese restaurant tomorrow night. it’s called “macao,” so it does make some sense (plus i made reservations for it two days ago… finding a place to eat christmas dinner in nyc outside of chinatown is fucking incredibly hard when you wait that long to do it). i am going to eat pork. fuck turkey.

  • STM

    Yeah, Doc, the Poms could win it. Easily. They look pretty good to me overall although the Aussie bowlers pulled one back in Perth and made them look ordinary (they’re not, though). Bit it was a hiccup for England I think. Australia have lost nearly all the old legends and are at the start of a rebuilding phase.

    England only need to draw the series to retain The Ashes.

    With one draw (in Brisbane), one England victory (Adelaide), and one Aussie victory (Perth), Australia must win the two remaining matches or get a win and a draw to have the trophy here. They can’t drop a game. England can.

    If England win in Melbourne, it’s all over red rover. I’m hoping it will go down to the wire so I can get along to the SCG and watch a bit of the last Test.

    I’ve been in two minds about how Test cricket stacks up against the limited-overs form of the game, especially the kind of big-money razamatazz Twenty20 cricket being played in the Indian Premier League, but I must say, it’s been really exciting with some great wickets taken and some long batting partnerships from both teams, although England especially could not be moved from the crease in Adelaide.

    It’s been getting really nasty, too, just like the old days … lots of sledging (trash talk) and the Aussie fast bowlers were deliberately delivering bodyline, hammering the ball off a very hard wicket in Perth straight into the heads and bodies of the English batsmen.

    That might be OK on a village green in England, but at this level, the ball is travelling at more than 100mph and it does lead to some rancour (and injury).

    Ponting’s career is really on the line. If he doesn’t deliver, I suspect he’ll be gone … and from the game, not just the captaincy.

    Yeah, this series is beating the IPL fluff by a country mile.

    The TV (or all 300 of them) is copnstantlyb on at my work this summer, and there’s lots of whopping (or groaning) depending on who’s going for who and who’s done what.

    I’ve never seen so many Poms cock-a-hoop in one place, probably since they beat the Germans in WWII.

    A mate of mine wrote of the demeanour of English fans during the Adelaide Test: “There hasn’t been so much excitement in Adelaide since the invention of the wine and cheese night”.

  • STM

    Zing: Apparently, employers in Britain in the 19th century used to box stuff up on the day after Christmas to give out to their employees, and then they’d go out and hand it out. Or so the story goes.

    In Australia, it has become synonymous with the start of the Sydney-Hobart yacht race and the first day of the Boxing Day Ashes Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

    I knew Americans had heard of it, but I’ve had a couple ask me: “What’s boxing day”. At least one then assumed a boxing stance.

    Mind you, I don’t have a clue about thanksgiving except that it’s one more excuse to stuff your face with turkey and drink vast quantities of piss (who needs an excuse for either of those??).

    Independence Day I understand: I always call up my American friends and offer my commiserations on the sad anniversary of their foolish mistake in splitting away from the British Empire.

    We even throw July 4 parties here for Yanks with a Union Jack stuck in the spot where the stars are on the American flag.

    I feel it’s important to make Americans feel at home, but not TOO at home.

  • Stan, when I was over there a couple of weeks ago Londoners (and their newspapers) were at fever pitch over the prospect of England winning on Australian soil (and thereby retaining the Ashes) for the first time in decades. Apparently we’ve got a halfway decent team this time around (or the Australian one is unusually rubbish).

    Now that I’m back in California, of course, this most momentous of sporting events is receiving less coverage than a Playboy centerfold.

    The Aussies, of course, must avoid defeat in the Fourth Test or the best they can do is draw the series (in which case England gets to keep the burnt lumps of wood in a metal bin for another couple of years).

    Haven’t really changed my mind about it, but it will be pretty neat if we do win.

    zing, speaking of laminating, I’m sorely tempted to do so with your last comment. Fine work. Merry Hanukwanmasadan.

  • zingzing

    stm: “Not only will Americans NOT understand Boxing Day…”

    actually, stan, you’ll have to explain that better. since canadians celebrate it, it’s on all the calendars (do canadians make all calendars, or no calendars?), so we americans know when it is. most of us, however, don’t know why it’s celebrated. i trust it has nothing to do with punching someone in the face.

  • zingzing

    doc: “I don’t know how to adapt to different situations at all!”

    bless you, sir, for you are now truly an american. i shall now give you the password: splungeflishlavinoinge. memorize it. here’s your gas card, your license to kill eastern people, middle or far, your proscription to viagra (needed for the tsa patdowns), and your dental insurance (that’s the thing non-brits use to keep their teeth in their head).

    and a medal… there, nicely affixed. and here is your certificate, which you are not allowed to laminate. and with a pat on the butt and a pinch of the cheek (the one on the butt, for one must know how to sexually harass here), i send you out into the wilds of… (properly hushed) america…

  • STM

    Oh hang on, you’ve never been a cricket fan, am I right Doc??

    Or have you changed your mind now that England are winning a few??

  • STM

    “Working on Christmas :-(”

    Yes mate, Sunday newspaper. Just the way the cookie has crumbled this year. Had Christmas Eve off, and have Boxing Day off … I’ll be sitting at home with my feet up watching the Boxing Day Test at the MCG. After the drawn Gabba Test, the smashing in Adelaide by the Poms and the Aussie rout of them in Perth, the Ashes series (and Ricky Ponting’s career) hinges on this one Test; Australia must beat England to stay alive, while Ponting must win or lose the Aussie captaincy. Ponting has a broken pinky finger from trying to take a catch in slips in Perth. Not winning The Ashes on Australian soil would be unthinkable, but it COULD happen.

    I plan to get along to the Sydney Cricket Ground for a bit of the fifth Test, regardless, but it’d be nice if Australian could win in Melbourne and it came down to a decider in Sydney.

    I just realised: Not only will Americans NOT understand Boxing Day, they also won’t understand a f.cking word of anything else I’ve just written.


    The Queen’s English #101:

    Boxing Day: Day after Christmas Day;

    The Ashes: A tiny sporting trophy actually filled with ashes (supposedly these are “the ashes of English cricket”, after a 19th century defeat at the hands of Australia)

    Ashes series: Five Test cricket matches, each lasting up to five days, played between England and Australia alternately in the northern and southern hemisphere summers, either in England and Wales, or Australia.

    Australia: Giant continent full of hedonistic, sun-loving, big-spending, English-speaking suntanned folk who escaped the global financial crisis and whose dollar is worth about the same as the US dollar but is stronger against the UK pound and the Euro … and you’d rather not swap your $A for a $US in front of anyone important, or with half a brain.

    Gabba: Brisbane cricket ground.

    Brisbane: Capital of Queensland.

    Queensland: A state of north-eastern Australia … the Sunshine State.

    Test: A long game of cricket.

    Cricket: An alternative to all-out warfare, but only just.

    Sydney: Capital of New South Wales, and capital of the known – and desired – universe.

    Slips: Fragrant items of female underwear, or the wrong place to stand if keen on avoiding potentially fatal injury (or just a broken finger) on a cricket pitch.

    Etc …

    Bring it on Doc!! Your mob are fired up, the insults are already flying before the game, it’s all on.

  • Working on Christmas Day, Stan? 🙁

  • STM

    EB: “it’s not Christmas yet, Doc.”

    Depends where you are EB … Already unrwapped all the chrissy prezzies, I’ve just had Christmas lunch – and then gone to work; it’s now 2.21pm, December 25, and a blazing hot summer afternoon (feels like about 35C outside). The beaches are absolutely packed, so that’s always an indication.

    Merry (upside down, back to front, southern hemisphere) Christmas from sunny Sydney, Australia … where Santa wears boardshorts!!!

  • the best, Cindy.

  • And _________ bless us, every one.

  • And a happy _________ to everyone…

  • what about when one of the days of hanukkah happens to be on christmas day?

    Stop confusing me, zing! I don’t know how to adapt to different situations at all!

  • Then I’ll have my humbug tomorrow!

  • El Bicho

    it’s not Christmas yet, Doc.

  • zingzing

    “In which case I’ll just as gladly say “Happy Hanukkah”, as the occasion demands.”

    what about when one of the days of hanukkah happens to be on christmas day? must be a confusing day in the dreadful house. i just wouldn’t go outside. or, what if you decided to vacation to foreign lands at christmas time, which i hear many people do? is it christmas day wherever you go? does “merry christmas” even translate in many languages around the world?

  • Happy Holidays acknowledges there are more celebrations in December than Christmas. It doesn’t take away from anybody, and you never run the risk of telling someone “Merry Christmas” when they observe something else.

  • except when it’s the first day of hanukkah, the second day of hanukkah…

    In which case I’ll just as gladly say “Happy Hanukkah”, as the occasion demands.

    Which, as the Jewish community in this part of the world is rather tiny, isn’t often.

  • zingzing

    “I say “Merry Christmas” because it is Christmas…”

    except when it’s the first day of hanukkah, the second day of hanukkah, the third day of hanukkah, the fourth day of hanukkah, the fifth day of hanukkah, the sixth day of hanukkah, the seventh day of hanukkah, the eighth day of hanukkah, christmas eve, boxing day/the first day of kwanzaa, the second day of kwanzaa, the third day of kwanzaa, the fourth day of kwanzaa, the fifth day of kwanzaa, the sixth day of kwanzaa/new year’s eve, the seventh day of kwanzaa/new year’s day, and any other holiday i might have missed.

    i sincerely hope you don’t say “merry christmas” on new year’s eve. but i think i might this year just to piss in somebody’s champagne.

  • I say “Merry Christmas” because it is Christmas, whether you’re a Christian or not – just the same as it’s Easter when it’s Easter and St Patrick’s Day when it’s St Patrick’s Day.

    It’s also Independence Day on the Fourth of July. I’m not going to call it something else just because I’m not American. (Although if I didn’t actually live here, it would just be July 4th.)

    The problem is that there are those among us who want to frame this as a conflict between Good and Evil, which, as Jordan so succinctly observed, is bullshit.

  • Whether it’s “Season’s Greetings,” “Happy Holidays,” “Merry Christmas,” or even “Happy Festivus,” it’s the intention – glad tidings and good cheer – that is important here. Life is too short to bicker about the semantics of a greeting of good will.

  • Christine (and I say this quite happily as someone who isn’t particularly religious and hasn’t set foot in a church (other than as a tourist) for at least a couple of years), Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  • Merry Christmas to all the BC family!

  • such redundancy…


    (joyous jubilee to all)

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    Happy Festivus….For the rest of us:)

  • zingzing

    gino, if the phrase is “happy holidays,” what makes you think that’s the name of a particular day? no one’s trying to change the name of christmas (although you’d be surprised about how many names it went through to get there).

    next time you are greeted with a “happy holidays,” rip into that person. see how it makes you feel.

    and happy holidays.

  • zingzing

    i wonder if these people have ever heard of hanukkah or new year’s. when people say “happy holidays,” they’re being inclusive of other people and other days. they don’t mean “merry christmas,” and it’s highly possible that they aren’t exclusively talking about christmas.

    the “holidays” includes a lot more than just christmas. (think about boxing day!)

    thinking christmas is all there is is just ignorance. that some people don’t understand that is just sad. such hubris! such arrogance! such myopia! such self-centeredness! such redundancy…

  • Jordan Richardson

    Nobody’s “changed the name of the holiday.” People just adapt their greetings accordingly by their own free will, not for any “government” reason.

    Honestly. We go through the same nonsense every single year and have for decades now. How does this petty bickering honour the “reason for the season” at all?

    There are MANY ways to offer holiday greetings to people of all sorts of different views and beliefs. This should not be offensive; it should be exciting. Celebrating our diversity should be something we cherish, not something we fear.

  • Gino De Lucia

    “CHRISTMAS” is a christian holiday~ it’s that plain and simple! The word Christmas itself comes from 2 words: Christ & Mass; and it is actually a day set aside by the Christian church to to have a special Mass to celebrate the birth of the one whom they believe to be their savior: Jesus of Nazareth! If others of different faiths choose not to celebrate it, then that’s their right. However, those same people & the US Government do not have the right to change the name of this holiday into whatever they feel is politically correct just to suite themselves because it is what it is: It’s Christmas! And so… with that being said: “Merry Christmas!” Oh, one other thing… if you don’t like it then don’t celebrate it!

  • It’s amazing to me the offense that people take over this silliness, on both sides. We live in a pluralistic society, most definitely NOT a “Christian country.” That’s a simple fact. It is, however, the majority/dominant religion of the culture, and that’s just a fact too.

    For a non-Christian to take offense at being innocently greeted “Merry Christmas” is crude and churlish. For a Christian to take offense at “Happy Holidays” is just plain absurd. Everybody needs to just relax.

  • Or as the Brits might say, “appy ollidays!”

  • Jordan Richardson

    Oh, and nice article. I woke up to a finger-wagging about my own use of the dreaded Happy Holidays on Facebook. Lovely.

  • zingzing

    i’m not christian, but i don’t care if someone says “merry christmas” to me. how someone can get offended that someone choose not to make the assumption that you’re automatically a christian, even if it doesn’t really matter in the least, is beyond me.

    get over yourself. unless you’re walking around with a giant cross on or a t-shirt that says “i’m with jesus” or some shit like that, how’s a person to know? and if that person’s not christian, why the hell should they wish you a happy day they don’t particularly believe in?

    really, you people (the christians who choose to get all fucked up over a few words) are far too sensitive.

    “You mean like the people who claim offense and threaten lawsuits when they find Christmas trees and other decorations on display?”

    if it’s on public property, someone can legally sue to get it removed or get paid. such is the society that we live in that you know someone’s going to see the opportunity. mmm, capitalism.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Get this straight – Everywhere else it is “Merry Christmas!”


  • El Bicho

    “‘Happy Holidays’ was the only offensive term I was shocked by in the United States.”

    Quite the sensitive fellow, ain’t ya. Maybe if you were better informed about things, such as the U.S. not being a Christian country, you wouldn’t be so easily put off. Though why you would care what Muslims and Jews think about your faith demonstrates how insecure and unstable it must be.

    Happy Holidays

  • Doug Hunter

    “It seems to me that some people go through life looking for reasons to be offended.”

    You mean like the people who claim offense and threaten lawsuits when they find Christmas trees and other decorations on display?

  • Al Black

    “Happy Holidays” was the only offensive term I was shocked by in the United States. Get this straight – Everywhere else it is “Merry Christmas!” Only in the supposedly Christian country of America is this cowardly agnostic “greeting” used, and it grates on the ears of any Christian.
    Muslims and Jews think we no longer have pride in our faith, or are too weak to express it. Words are important, and there is nothing more Christian than to witness for your faith. If I was ordered to greet people with “Happy Holidays” I would refuse to obey. It would be an interesting test of religious freedom were I to be fired for wishing someone a “Merry Christmas!”

  • James Hong

    Let’s keep the ho in ‘ who cares’?

  • Mike N

    Happy Christmas!

  • David Malbuff

    Well, PJ, the short answer is that we don’t live in a vacuum. In case you haven’t noticed, open community celebrations of Christmas have come under increasing attack in recent years– removal of Christmas trees, nativity scenes, and such from town parks, children disciplined in school for handing out Christmas candy canes, “Christmas Vacation” changed to “Winter Vacation” in schools, endless anti-Christmas lawsuits by the ACLU, and so forth. Perhaps you havent noticed these things. However, they have been and are happening, and unfortunately once-innocent greetings such as “Happy Holidays” have been co-opted by government and corporate America as part of the increasing aggressive secularization of our public life.

    So the insistence on “Merry Christmas” by some of us may seem a bit defensive, indeed, but in the context of modern times I daresay it is understandable.

    Let’s be clear. No one, but no one, is or ever has been offended, hurt, or excluded by another’s celebration of Christmas. It does not happen. It has never happened. Yet our governmental and corporate leaders seem determined to ensure that this fiction be accepted as fact, and that “diversity” and “inclusion” demand that all Christian speech, symbology, and tradition be excluded from the public square.

    So, allow me to wish you a Merry Christmas!