When did “Merry Christmas” become “Happy Holidays”?

“Merry Christmas!” my mom happily chirped to the saleswoman at Payless yesterday.

“You mean ‘holiday’,” the woman curtly corrected, throwing in a forced chuckle. My mom glanced sideways at her and muttered a sorry. The woman laughed and told her that there was no need to apologize. If there was no need to apologize, then why would she ruin my mother’s cheery mood with an unnecessary comment?

The fact of the matter is, we live in a world that is politically correct and terrified of offending anyone. When I say, “Merry Christmas”, I’m not trying to offend someone who is, say Jewish. If I were a salesclerk and someone said, “Happy Hanukkah!”, I wouldn’t correct them as rudely as the woman did to my mother yesterday. I would offer a smile and repeat, “Happy Hanukkah” back to them. Just because I don’t celebrate Hanukkah doesn’t change the fact that it’s Hanukkah, just like saying, “Merry Christmas” doesn’t change the fact that it’s Christmas.

We’ve transitioned the name of our school hiatus from being “Christmas break” to “winter break”. I understand; separation of church and state is what makes the diversity in schooling work. If we recognized Christmas, we’d have to recognize every holiday, which would be a difficult thing to do. Every holiday for each religion is important to them, and I’m not afraid to wish my Hindu friends a happy Diwali. Again, just because I don’t celebrate it, that doesn’t change that that holiday occurs on that day. It’s important to them. So why are people so touchy on Christmas? Our country is founded on freedom of speech; why does my mom get chastised in public for trying to spread some Christmas cheer and express her religion?

The point is; every religion is different.


4 thoughts on “When did “Merry Christmas” become “Happy Holidays”?

  1. Well said! Respect for others’ beliefs doesn’t me we agree with them but that we respect their beliefs. Grandma Jeanne

    1. Abbey – You are right on the mark on “Merry Christmas”. Too much time is spent on worrying how not to offend others rather than wishing them well from the lens of our faith. If they are strong in their faith, they will accept the good wishes.

  2. Abbey, Excellent observation & very good point that you made. You are so right about everyone being “politically correct” anymore. I wish everyone had your insight- the world would be a better place, that’s for sure!

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