Thursday, December 17, 2009

Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays

Santa Claus makes his annual visit to our neighborhood, sitting high up on a large fire truck. He’s led in by an official vehicle, sounding the sirens, and flashing its lights. It’s tradition for us to come out and greet him, and to socialize with the neighbors.

The firemen (all guys) are dressed in their gear, complete with the really cool hats, passing out candy canes. The kids are excited and the parents enjoy watching them. We’re all shouting, “Merry Christmas!”

It’s a good time for "Santa" jokes, too. A couple years ago, my friend said to me, “I think Santa’s had a little Botox.” Every time I think of it, I laugh. Santa was looking quite refreshed that year.

As the firemen ride away, some of them shout, “Happy Holidays!”

Because the “Merry Christmas” vs. “Happy Holidays” controversy continues, I can’t help but notice the greetings. For a split second, I think Santa is going to shout “Happy Holidays” too; to which I would have thought, “Something is wrong with this picture.”

But Santa was silent…just resigned to waving. The neighbors and I are calm this year and don’t coerce Santa into a “Ho Ho Ho,” as we usually do.

Oh, by the way, I heard “Happy Hanukah” for the first time while shopping - from a clerk to a customer. I thought it was very nice.

“Happy Holidays” is here to stay. It’s a perfectly cheerful greeting and it covers all bases, but let’s not get rid of “Merry Christmas.” A little common sense will let you know when to say it; especially if I’m wearing red and green, and a Santa hat on my head.

NOT! :)
What do you think about the "holiday greetings" issue?
The previous post, "Passion," has very interesting comments. Consider reading it and adding yours.


Unknown said...

I refuse to say happy holidays UNLESS I'm in a situation like at my previous job where we weren't allowed to say, "Merry Christmas" due to be offensive to some.

I will say Merry Christmas first because that is the echo that has been taught to me since I was a little girl. Merry Christmas brings wishes of joy and a reminder of what Christmas is really about.

(See now, you're going to get me on my soapbox! hahaha)

Cool that Santa comes on a firetruck.

Anonymous said...

As a teacher in a public school, I am not "allowed" to say Merry Christmas to my students, or even mention the word Christmas in my classroom. Apparently, when freedom of religion and freedom of speech are seen to be at odds, freedom of religion (or rather, someone's twisted interpretation of what that actually means) wins...

But, since I refuse to submit to that kind of politically correct pettiness, I tell my students to have a Merry Christmas anyway. I'm not offended if someone wishes me a Happy Hanukkah or Happy Kwanzaa, so why should anyone be offended if I wish them a Merry Christmas? I'm not excluding anyone by wishing them a Merry Christmas - my wish is for them to be happy, regardless of what holiday they celebrate this time of year. I happen to celebrate Christmas, so that is the phrase with which I choose to express my sentiment. Others are free to express theirs in any way they wish. Including "Bah Humbug."

Tabor said...

I am afraid that I am a Happy Holidays person, unless I know the person's religious feelings well. I do not see how anyone can take offense when in two words you cover, Hannukah, Christmas, Kwanza and NEW Years and you are being sincere.

(My word verfication is oomye..!

Unknown said...

This is what I posted on my friend Pam's blog yesterday......identical topic:
Nothing bothers me @ either of the greetings you mention. As a Christian who does participate in regular church attendance I am aware that my choices may not be the choices of all, and I'm good with that too. To be more PC I do find myself saying happy holidays because I want to be more well......PC.
My Jewish friends feel a bit differently. They have expressed that at times it feels the US is just full of the Merry Christmas and the uber decorating and the retail aspect has it all over the place. I see it from both sides and respect each persons choices.
I think it's a good topic, though it can get touchy.

I want to add, Santa does represent Christmas, but not the real meaning of Christmas, he is a symbol that non-christians use also to celebrate a holiday where some people exchange gifts more than they celebrate the birth of Christ. We did the whole Santa thing, no problem, but with much moderation!!

Anita said...

CHOCOLATE, JEFF, TABOR, ANITA - four very different opinions and reasons as your choice of holiday greeting.
I didn't know what to expect, especially because I'm not "out" in the work world being exposed to all the conversations at the coffee pot.
So...I appreciate hearing from you.


Annie Z said...

Both are great for me! Merry Christmas because thats what it is all about. It's joyful and celebratory.

So is Happy Holidays! For us Down Under, it is our summer holidays. And what a wonderful greeting and reminder it is to enjoy, and make the most of, the several weeks school holidays you have in which to enjoy the season!

Both are about gratitude, joy and love. Wishing that for others as well as for yourself. It is in the spirit that these greetings are given that counts!

Anita said...

NEWMUM, another very different opinion - very upbeat. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

gayle said...

I don't care what anyone else says but I will always say Merry Christma!!

Hilary said...

We go with "Happy Holidays" both on our cards and in personal interactions with people. I am definitely a member of the "covering all the bases" camp and saying "Happy Holidays" doesn't negate what I believe nor force what I believe onto someone else. Ultimately, I hope people have a chance to do the things that they enjoy with the people they enjoy while they have some time off -- which, when you add it all together is a happy holiday!

the mom said...

This post didn't make sense to me. I didn't understand what you wanted to say... was Santa a woman?!
Until I read the comments. Now I get it.
When I was young, many teenagers were skinheads, so schools with skinheads were not allowed to have the students sing the national song. Which I think is fair.
But this problem you have in your country seems a bit silly to me. But, I don't live there, so I really don't know.
Here in Italy, there's no space for anything else than the Italians religion and traditions. At school the only religion excisting is catholism. They don't even mention other religions. That's silly...

Cindy said...

I'm on the fence with all the controversy because if they did away with every mention of Christ and every public display of religious symbols, it wouldn't change the reason I celebrate or how we observe Christmas in our home. I guess I feel there are bigger battles to be fought as Christians than whether Walmart clerks wish us Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas. I wrote a post at my blog about my feelings on all this.

Cindy said...

My post about the holiday controversy:

Menopausal New Mom said...

I seem to find myself using Happy Holidays more and more. Could have something to do with the fact that I married a man who was brought up Jewish whereas I had always celebrated Santa and Christmas.

For now we are combining the best of both, we have the tree and all my husband's candles around. When she is older, she can decide. Neither of us is religious.

There is plenty of room for all the celebrations and I don't get offended by any greeting. AFter all, regardless of the religion, it's still a wonderful message no matter how it is expressed.

BTW, I have something for you on my blog today :)

People Who Know Me Would Say: said...

Ah, there are always going to be people who don't have enough to do that gripe and complain about what is politically correct and appropriate. That's life.

I think it's much ado about nothing. We who keep the Christ in Christmas wouldn't change our greeting to Happy Holidays regardless. So, let the gripers have their Happy Holidays if that's what it takes to shut them up.

But, other than that, I don't have an opinion on the subject. ;)

Iva Messy said...

I think I use both "Merry Christmas" and "Happy Holidays" an equal amount ;)

Matty said...

Hello. I'm stopping in by way of Deb's page at Menopausal New Mom.

I love a parade, especially at this time of year.

Your post does raise some interesting issues, and it isn't the first like it that I've seen this time of year. Here's my take on it.

America was founded on Christian principles, and on the basis of freedom of religion. Just the word "Christ"mas itself should tell you what it represents. I grew up with "Merry Christmas", Santa Claus and the belief that the season was meant to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

But our founding fathers also wanted freedom of religion. That means that you can worship as you choose, or not at all. If you believe that acorns falling from trees are angels spreading their wings, then God bless you. Go for it. Just because the majority of people celebrate Christmas and say Merry Christmas doesn't mean your other religious beliefs mean nothing.

However, and this is where things get muddled. The issue of what is the appropriate and proper thing to say has become mired in political correctness. We are afraid to offend anyone.

Take for example, the work environment. Many businesses won't allow you to say Merry Christmas because it might offend someone. Instead of a Christmas party, it's now an office holiday party because it's considered religious neutral.

The very word "holiday" represents "holy day". So then, isn't that offensive too? Shouldn't "holiday be stricken from our seasonable vocabulary? And in an effort not to offend anyone, aren't we offending Christians by removing the word Christmas from our seasonal vocabulary?

Where does all this political correctness end? Or will it?

I truly believe, and without any sense of sarcasm, that a lot of people look for something that will offend them. They wake up every day hoping to be offended, and are disappointed if they go to bed and someone or something hasn't offended them.

As for me, I was raised with "Merry Christmas". If I say that, then you know where I'm coming from, and why can't that be okay with you? And if you say "Happy Hanukkah", I know what your belief system is and why can't I be okay with that? Instead, we all say something religiously neutral so that we don't step on each others feelings.

I am not a politically correct person. I am not going to change to appease those who want to be offended before they go to bed tonight. Accept me as I am. I accept you.

Merry Christmas!

Pam said...

This is obviously a hot topic right now. I'm the Pam that Anita mentioned in her comment. I agree with what you've written. Here's my post A Merry Happy Holiday to All!

Anita said...


I know I'm being repetitive to say thanks, but I will anyway.
Your comments are so heartfelt, passionate, and informative.

It's obvious that the U.S. is in the midst of another "debate." While there are major differences in the opinions given, everyone's opinion is relevant.

THE MOM, I'm glad you "got it" after reading the comments. The situations in your country are interesting too.

CINDY & PAM, I read your links on the same subject. Thanks for including it in your comment.

PAM & MATTY, welcome to my blog. I will get over to visit yours too.


Connie K said...

Thanks for stopping by blog today :) and i think happy holidays is just fine ! it's like, come on people lighten up it the season to be jolly !(lol)

Midlife Roadtripper said...

Happy Holidays is becoming more common place for me, depending on my setting. We have so many friends in different places in their spiritual followings. Makes it easy.

For me, you can say Merry Christmas anytime.

Anonymous said...

Hi issue...I dont care what anyone says to me..Merry Xmas..Happy Hanukah.. etc..Its all good..but I fear retribution so I am careful what I work I must say Happy those I know Merry question.."have a great day"...either way i bring a smile and cheer and wish it to those I see...Merry Xmas..!!

Stephanie said...

I celebrate say Merry Christmas...I am however not offended by Happy Holidays:)

Anita said...

FOLLOWERS AND READERS, Some of you have mentioned repercussions for saying "Merry Christmas" in the work place. I'm just curious: What happens if you are heard saying that greeting? I'm not in the corporation anymore, so I don't know?

MissKris said...

I am most definitely a "Merry Christmas!" person. If someone doesn't like it, oh well. I'm not changing what it means for ME. I am sooooooooooooooooooooo tired of this politically correct world we live in. Yes, as far as ethnic/racial slurs...that needed to be addressed 200 years ago. But it is beyond ridiculous anymore, all the restrictions put on daily life. We're going to politically correct ourselves out of existence one of these day. Beyond that, is so nice to have you stopping by and leaving your comments recently!! I try very hard to keep up with everyone who stops by so I apologize for the delay here. But with doing 55 hours of day care for my little grandboys every week, there truly aren't enough hours to keep up with all that I'd LIKE to do. I can really relate to your "Phone" entry. I'm even more guilty than you. I look at Caller ID and even if it's someone I KNOW and wouldn't mind talking to...unless I think/know it's an emergency I don't answer. It's next to impossible to carry on an adult conversation with anyone during a weekday. One 'plus' to it all, tho...all the piddling litle annoying calls Dear Hubby used to delegate to me are now HIS to deal with. I am definitely not a typical female when it comes to walking around with a phone hooked to my ear. I hate phones.

MissKris said...

PS....I'm adding you to my Favorite Coffee Stops. If I don't get back before then:


Nakamuras on Saipan said...

Yeah...I'm a Merry Christmas person. I don't get offended if someone says Happy Holidays..or Happy Hanukkah or whatever! here in Saipan the center of the island has a huge Christmas tree with a HUGE manger next to it-the island is 99% Catholic. But just the other day the Muslims celebrated one of their holidays with a big feast and that was ok too, no one complained. Live and let live we say here....we don't have to agree with each other to get along.

Nakamuras on Saipan said...

P.S....I'm reading here that you can get in trouble in the states for saying Merry Christmas...really?? Sheesh...what happened to freedom of speech? What's going on ?

Anita said...

MISS KRIS, Your comment felt to me like an actual "voice" to voice" conversation. Your opinions are strong; makes me feel like I've gotten to know you a little better. :)
Thanks for adding me to your "Favorite Coffee Stops!"

Stop by again when you can.

Merry Christmas to you too!

Anita said...

NAKAMURAS, I agree that there is enough world to share, and that we can get along living in it together.

Wishful thinking.

As far as getting in trouble for saying "Merry Christmas," I wonder about that too. So many people say that they can't say it at their jobs...maybe I'll ask around to find out more about it.


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