It’s Not ‘Happy Holidays’ It’s ‘Merry Christmas’

Merry Christmas

“It’s not ‘Happy Holidays’, it’s ‘Merry Christmas’ and I’m not afraid to say it!” That’s the refrain of countless people as the big day approaches. The one question that arises in some people’s minds is: why?

Why is it only “Merry Christmas” and not also, say, “Happy Chanukah,” “Happy Diwali,” “Good Solstice,” “Joyous Kwanza” or “Happy Holidays?” Why is one way the only way to share good wishes with someone, especially if the person is a stranger? Do some people feel that what they celebrate is the only important holiday worthy of a greeting? Do they feel as though everyone else’s customs, traditions and deeply held beliefs are simply something to be ignored or even mocked?

If so, why?

Do some people actually march through life thinking that their perspectives and celebrations are the only things that really matter, and that everyone else deserves to treated as though they are invisible?

Newsflash: Not everyone celebrates Christmas.

Some people celebrate different holidays altogether, and some people don’t celebrate at all. Why do some people choose exclusion over inclusion by insisting that “it’s not ‘Happy Holidays, it’s Merry Christmas’” and pronouncing their decision to anyone and everyone; strangers and friends alike? Why do Jewish people and others who celebrate something different have to see these (quite frankly, rude) announcements on Facebook? For those who don’t celebrate, or even those who have a spouse who doesn’t celebrate Christmas or who celebrates something else, these announcements feel like a slap in the face. It’s a slap that says “you’re not important; in fact, your culture and traditions are garbage.”

Actually, let’s forget the metaphorical slap and instead talk about the actual punch in the face a woman received for saying “Happy Holidays.” A Salvation Army bell ringer was standing outside a store doing her job when she said “Happy Holidays” to a woman passing by. The woman landed a left hook to the bell ringer’s face, saying “Do you believe in God? You’re supposed to say Merry Christmas!”

Of course, this is an extreme example, but it shows just how out of control our society has gotten when it comes to this “debate.”

A recent poll of Americans showed that the majority of people who feel that “Merry Christmas” is the only acceptable holiday greeting are generally over the age of 45 and of the Republican persuasion.  Why is that, exactly?

The truth is, the attitude that “it’s Merry Christmas, it’s not Happy Holidays” hurts people’s feelings. No, really. It does. It makes people feel as though they’re being told they don’t even exist. Is that what Jesus would have wanted? Is that how he would have acted?

Our culture needs to return to the rules we learned in Kindergarten: be kind to your friends and neighbors; treat others as you would like to be treated; be respectful to everyone around you.

Knowing that it makes people feel bad and hurt when others insist on saying only “Merry Christmas” should be enough to make the ones insisting upon that exclusive phrase reconsider their decision. Therefore, if someone is Christian, say “Merry Christmas;” if someone is Jewish, say “Happy Chanukah” and so forth. If the person’s religion or chosen cultural tradition is unknown, say “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.” See? Inclusion; it’s a great thing, and it’s easy, too!

Don’t be the mean kids in high school who formed a nasty little clique and kept the uncool kids out; be the class president who was beloved by everyone because he or she made everyone feel included. Be a leader. Reach out to those who may not share your exact religion, traditions, beliefs or perspectives. Who knows? You may just learn something new.

“It’s not ‘Merry Christmas,’ it’s ‘Happy Holidays’ and I’m not afraid to say it” is for mean folks. Don’t be mean. It’s really not what Jesus would have wanted anyway.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. May everyone enjoy their cultural traditions and be prosperous, healthy and joyful in the new year.

An Editorial By: Rebecca Savastio



Huffington Post


76 Responses to "It’s Not ‘Happy Holidays’ It’s ‘Merry Christmas’"

  1. Vinod   December 25, 2015 at 8:24 am

    Its Rubbish. Its always Merry Christmas. Holidays is something we refer we go on a vacation lol. This is coming from a Hindu 🙂

  2. bobstruth   December 31, 2013 at 10:06 pm

    I guess the point is lost on many if you who persist in using that “happy holidays”.
    No wonder kids these days are brought up feeling entitled.
    There is NO insult in wishing someone well wishes for a celebration you observe. What utter nonsense.
    Do we stop saying happy birthday or other celebrations? What a sad world we live in when I can’t wish someone well. Doesn’t matter if I don’t celebrate Diwali, Yule, etc. Wish me well without fear…we celebrate in hopes others will share in that feeling.
    But the point is missed in this new era. Sad…

    • still_lynne   January 2, 2014 at 4:58 am

      I guess the point of the article has been lost completely on you.

      Where in the article does she say YOU can’t wish someone whatever the heck you want to wish them?

      The point of the article is that you do not have the right to dictate to other people what THEY wish to say.


  3. Kamden   December 27, 2013 at 7:46 am

    As A Christian It’s My Right To say Merry Christmas. If You Don’t Like It And Are Hurt, Think About How Hurtful It Could Be To Be forced To Say The Meaningless, Secular “Happy Holidays”. If You Don’t Like It, Ignore It. No, I Don’t Condone Violent Behaviour Due To Any Beliefs. Merry ChristmS And A Happy New Year!

    • still_lynne   December 28, 2013 at 7:19 am

      Why don’t you try reading the actual article?

      Nobody is trying to stop YOU from saying anything you want. The issue is when Christians try to force everyone else to say the same things they do.

  4. revjim   December 25, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    It’s really simple. When people live in a Free Country with Freedom to greet each other in their own tradition and culture. Other people who come into your country are not trying to stop you. As for example, if you go to Israel or Islamic countries it would be disrespectful to require them to stop their traditional greeting or to wish them a Merry Christmas unless of course they were Christian. So why do it to Christian Tradition and Culture??

  5. asdd   December 25, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    No doubt there are certain lobbyists (you know who you are lol) pushing for a ban on Christmas spirit.

  6. jburger   December 25, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    Lord Willin may we indeed strive, here and abroad, to be a Christian nation, in service unto Lord and neighbor, PLGB Lord Willin Lord Forgive

  7. Eddie Gallacher   December 25, 2013 at 5:50 am

    Christmas should be moved to the end of February. That way people can say “happy Christmas” without fear of offence to any other celebration and we can go into work on the 25 December. But, what would happen is that Coca Cola’s Santa and every shop on the planet would unashamedly switch allegiance to the new Christmas and we’d be back where we started again…

  8. John   December 24, 2013 at 2:57 pm

    Hey Rebecca… I have no problem with the basic premiss of your article… being inclusive, rather than exclusive… definitely a good thing. And I’d actually have gave you a thumbs up for it. But, as I say, (and it’s only my opinion of course)… you seemed to approach the piece from “Merry Christmas” being the bad guy. The negative examples you used and statistics you used (as I noted, only used concerning “Merry Christmas”) do come across as biased to me. The knee-jerk reaction of people is because see examples of what they can and what they can’t do any more in the name of PC… and sometimes they disagree, sometimes wrongly, sometimes with justification.

    For example… my local council no longer allows cards in their offices, which specifically say “Merry Christmas”. Sorry, I just don’t get that. And they didn’t introduce that measure because they had been getting complaints from non-Christian members of staff. It was introduced just in case anyone might ever be offended by the phrase… at a time when no one had been… that’s the kind of PC I can’t fathom or indeed condone. And yes. I realize you weren’t advocating anything like that in your article.

    But that kind of thing does get people’s backs up. And can make then a wee bitty sensitive.

    I’m sure you really do believe in being inclusive, as indeed do I… as any decent person should. But being inclusive means not alienating one group to appease the whole. That’s never gonna work. Of course punching somebody because they say “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas” is just crazy. But I’m sure we could find just as crazy examples on the other side of the fence so to speak.

    Write your piece without singling out “Merry Christmas” and people will applaud you. You’re always going to get negative reactions if people feel they’re being attacked, even if that’s not the intention.

    Me?… I’m actually a non-Christian, tho brought up in a non-practising Christian household, so I don’t have any Christian axe to grind here. Of course. I grew up with the western Christmas tradition all around me… and so do celebrate Christmas… from the Santa Claus, Dreamin’ of a White Christmas angle… LOL

    I of course hate the commercialization of Christmas here in the west… I’m more of “Christmas Carol” celebrator… Old Scrooge might not have been so wrong after all when he refused to spend a penny at Christmas… tee, hee, hee

    So I wasn’t defending “Merry Christmas” as such, but the ever so negative way you approached your article in the name of inclusiveness. That kind of approach is probably always gonna get a negative reaction from folks.

    But approach things from the positive side and folks will sit up and take notice, and maybe even say…

    “Yeah… that girl is darn right. Well done, Rebecca” 😉


    BTW, Rebecca… I rarely get involved in debates online, even when I see/read something I have issue with. So… kudos to you for getting me to participate in this debate… and on Christmas Eve too. I should really be tucked up in bed waiting for Santa to come (in ljust over an hour here in the UK)

    In fact, I think I hear the sound of sleigh bells ringing as I write… 🙂

    Have a great Christmas… may it be happy, merry, and with a little luck… Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow… 🙂

  9. midian30   December 24, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    When I was growing up in the ’70’s people always said “Happy Holidays” simply because there were three holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years) so close together. After all, it’s the holiday season, right? No one thought anything about it. They weren’t intentionally removing Christ from Christmas any more than they were removing Thanks from Thanksgiving or New from New Year. They were simply wishing you a happy holiday season. So the next time someone says “Happy Holidays” to you, don’t take it so personal. It’s not an attack on your religious beliefs. Perhaps that person truly wants you to have an entire month of happy days.

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