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Happy Holidays vs. Merry Christmas

You've read about the battle at Sears, Wal-Mart and Target. Newspaper editors and AM talk shows have squared off on the question so much it makes you want to eat fruit cake. Well not it's my turn. As an observer of the political culture with a major in Political Science and as a follower of Jesus Christ I believe I'm in a peculiar place from which to share my thoughts.

The argument for 'Happy Holidays' is that we are a diverse and multi-cultural nation in which many people (I'd add most) do not recognize Christmas as a religious holiday but a secular one. In addition Kwanza, Chanukah, and the Winter Solstice celebrations have their own followers. The argument for 'Merry Christmas' is that the exclusion or downright banning of it comes dangerously close to censorship and a violation of the civil rights of those who follow Jesus.

I would like to suggest that we adopt the saying 'Happy Holidays' provided the application of it takes place in a fair-minded and uniform manner. Having said this it would follow that this greeting is used for celebrations that take part during other times of the year as well. For instance:

  • 'Happy Holidays' is used in February for St. Valentines Day. The first reason is that he a saint and part of a Christian heritage. Secondly, and more importantly, this is a celebration of love which not everyone experiences. Many have faced divorce or been hurt badly by former boy/girl friends. Some have buried their soul mates and it is insensitive to hold up love to a world in which so many don't enjoy it.
  • 'Happy Holidays' should be used for St. Patrick's Day. The first argument is the same as that for St. Valentines. This holiday is not only ethnocentric but also faith-centric. One must be a Irish Catholic to truly be welcomed in this holiday. It is an affront to single out this one group while leaving out those of, say, Korean ancestry not to mention any Irish Orangemen.
  • 'Happy Holidays' needs to supplant the greetings used on Mother's and Father's Day. When we use traditional greetings we cause those who have no children to feel self-conscious since many women and men have no offspring either by choice, accident or luck.
  • 'Happy Holidays' needs to be used for our own Independence Day. We are a nation of immigrants and many nations have their own fights of freedom which they have won and which go unnoticed in our nation. Does it seem right to call attention to our struggle and leave out others? Of course some of us celebrate Cinco de Mayo because we like Corona and Dos Equis Beer but we certainly ignore Bastille Day.
  • 'Happy Holidays' needs to become a greeting of choice for Labor Day because of the movement of industrial jobs from our nation into the third world nations. It is a slap in the face of those who dutifully work in management to be excluded by this greeting. It is as if our nation didn't believe managers actually labored.
  • 'Happy Holidays' should also be used during the Thanksgiving season. When we greet others with a happy thanksgiving we cut out our Canadian neighbors who celebrate it five weeks earlier.

I know that this attitude won't make the card writers for Hallmark, American Greeting, and Carlton happy but if a company only has to produce one message a year it should save on printing, warehousing and even labor. Well that's the news from the edge of my mind. Have a Merry Christmas.


  1. I find your argument right on mark. Happy Holiday should be ther universal greeting for all the holidays not merely the ones listed. What about MLK day? Or even the generic mockery officially called Presidents day.

    I am worried though about how Happy Holiday may be viewed as a slap in the face on Lesser Observed Holidays for those that still must work. My company, as example, does not recognize MLK day. But my work involves a bunch of lawyers who will of course take the day off because the courts take the day off. I basically have a day at the office that is marginally productive. I should not complain. At that I will wish everyone a Happy holiday, (which ever one is occurring, hope its a good one).


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