What’s Wrong with the Term ‘Holiday’?

Happy Holidays

How does such a well meaning wish result in such heated controversy? I haven’t seen it on the news yet, but I have heard in from particularly religious friends and co-workers.

Growing up, Happy Holidays was a short way of saying Happy Thanksgiving and Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/ and Happy New Year. Perhaps this assumption was just a figment of my childhood ignorance. Clearly, everywhere you look, people are hating on Christmas.

This past week, I heard someone say “You know, you come to this country, you celebrate our holiday, which is Christmas.”

Um…. what about freedom and rights? We allegedly live in a country that adheres to a strict separation of church and state, right? We don’t force people to check their culture at the door before we hand them a green card.

This whole argument adds one more black mark to what is supposed to be a wonderful holiday season.

In my opinion, Happy Holidays is an easy and logical way for businesses to advertise to all cultures and religions. No matter what holiday you are celebrating, buy your presents here! Happy Holidays! Usually, the letters are red and green, making it obvious that Christmas reigns supreme in the eyes of consumerism.

On Christmas Day, I say Merry Christmas to people I know are celebrating Christmas. Any other day, I prefer to say Happy Holidays out of respect for other’s opinions, cultures and religions. I don’t wish you would happy and safe Christmas and if you’re not celebrating Christmas you’re going to hell. I wish you a happy and safe holiday, no matter what you are celebrating or who you are celebrating with. Peace and joy for all throughout December. I wish we were equally concerned about the peace of joy of others during the other 11 months of the year.

I am not trying to bash Christmas by saying Happy Holidays and can’t think of a single person who says that phrase with that intent. Is there a problem with being inclusive of others? If you prefer to say Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays, who cares?  The sentiment should still be the same, right? Why does wishing another well have to cause so much controversy. If anything, I feel like saying Merry Christmas with the intention of disregarding all other cultures and religions goes against the Christmas/Holiday spirit.

…besides, if I wanted to shove my respect for all persons, cultures and religions down your throat this holiday season, I’d obnoxiously say Happy Chrismahanukwanzakah to every person with ears to hear. Yet, we live in a free country. If you want to change the term Merry Christmas (aka: I wish you happiness on Dec. 25th in particular) to Merry Christmas (aka: Fuck you if you don’t celebrate Christmas. This is America! Christ, guns and unnecessarily fried food for all!), far be it from me to stop you.

Disclaimer: I don’t really care how people great each other over the holidays. I don’t think everyone who says Merry Christmas does so to disregard other religions or cultures. All I want is peace and joy for all, regardless of how you great other’s this holiday season. Lastly, I originally spelled Christmahanakwanzika, but Google Docs corrected me to Chrismahanukwanzakah and this fact fills me with happiness ^_^

Shalom, my friends.

How do you greet people over the holiday season? Do you think Happy Holidays refers to all holidays, including Thanksgiving and New years, or just Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa? Do you think saying  Happy Chrismahanukwanzakah is always obnoxious? 


17 thoughts on “What’s Wrong with the Term ‘Holiday’?”

    1. I have and it’s fantastic! Way better than the first movie. My review of Catching Fire in a nutshell is that it proof you can make a movie exactly like the book, with exact lines from the book, and have it be a huge success.

      (there are obviously some things that were different in the movie, but it was closer to the book than a lot of other movies based off of books I’ve seen.)

  1. I have been using Happy Holidays for approx. 20 years, and don’t find it offensive in the least. It seems to me, it’s really only been in the past 5 years or so that people (read: the conservative, religious, right wing) have taken huge offense to the term. I could speculate as to why, but frankly I don’t care. So I’ll just continue to greet people with Happy Holidays and send out my Happy Holidays cards. And if someone doesn’t like it, they can kiss my Happy Holiday-loving ass. Rant over.

    1. In middle school, it used to be “keep Christ in Christmas” against people using the term x-mass. I will never understand why people fight over how to wish people well in December.

    1. I agree. I say happy holidays just out of respect to other religious and cultures. It’s peace to all, not peace only to those who believe in the same things I do.

  2. Definite yes to the last question and I usually go with Happy Holidays. I was surprised when I was in London to see the words “Merry Christmas” in giant letters on top of a major shopping mall on Oxford Street. I guess it’s not as shocking to say that there.

    1. Christmas is a big deal to a lot of people, even nonreligious people. Some of my friends who get the most excited for Christmas happen to be atheist. I’m not really surprised by any holiday greeting. I’m more surprised when people take offense to the specific wording.

  3. I said happy holidays to a stranger the other day and she said “f@&k you” in response….she put a smile on my face though….something humorous bout’ a stranger saying f&$k you…although I should admit the f-word in general tends to crack me up…..

    1. I honestly wish I could use the f-bomb more often. It has so many uses. Then, if it was so acceptable, it may lose some of it’s thrill.

      Oh! Can we start saying “Happy F@&king Holidays?” You have to say it with a smile, though, to show you mean well. That would just be so much fun.

  4. I love this post. I’ve been trying to explain to my mom (who is one of those “It’s Merry Christmas and nothing else! MURICA!), that there is the freedom of religion in this country. It’s one of the rights we are so lucky to have. Why not take this opportunity to express how grateful we are to have religious freedom and say Happy Holidays? Welcome all the other religions! MURICA!

    1. I know! I don’t understand how Christmas became an excursively American holiday.

      Having arguments about religious freedom with people who think like that is exhausting. I remember talking to my mom about equal marriage. She pulled the ‘religious freedom’ card to support her opinion against equal marriage. My response was “what about all the other religions, many Christian, who do believe in equal marriage? What about their religious freedom?”

      I for one, will continue to say Happy Holidays and I think I will adopt your subtext. “Welcome all the other religions! MURICA!”

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