Readers continue the discussion over the proper greetings of December:
I'm Jewish, but I don't really think the majority of people who wish me "Merry Christmas" are assuming I'm Christian or associate that greeting in any kind of religious sense. For those folks, it's synonymous for getting together with family, giving loved ones gifts, and having time off work. I'm still surprised by the number of Christians I talk to who assume everyone celebrates Christmas because many of them don't equate Christmas with going to Church, Jesus' birth etc.
That said, the idiots on Fox and others who decry the "war on Christmas" when companies make it a policy to say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" do offend me. They're equating Christmas very squarely with Christianity, and they're offended because they think "Happy Holidays" is an affront to Christianity. They don't seem to give a shit that millions of Americans aren't Christians. Actually, they seem to be quite bothered by it, so maybe that's the point.
I was born into a Jehovah's Witness household, and we weren't allowed to say either, since Christmas and all the other holidays were looked at as pagan-based and deeply unChristian.
In the grand scheme of things, this whole "Happy Holidays" vs. "Merry Christmas" thing is not that big a deal.
I mean can any Christian really be that upset with someone wishing you a "Happy Holidays" during a time we should be especially focused on "Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men"? By the same token, if someone wishes a non-Christian a "Merry Christmas", is that someone arrogantly foisting their Christian religious beliefs on them? Or is it merely someone wishing you happiness on a holiday that they happen to celebrate? Why is this offensive? I have never been offended by one of my friends wishing me a "Happy Hannukah" or a "Happy Diwali", even though I don't celebrate those holidays. I respect that those holidays are meaningful to them and that them sharing their holiday with me should be seen as a blessing.
I'm with you on this one. I usually remember to default to "Happy Holidays," but I'm not entirely sure I understand why people get so upset about it. I'm a white Catholic, but I wish my friends, no matter their ethnic or religious backgrounds, gung hei fat choy ("Happy Chinese New Year" in Cantonese) and shana tova umetukah ("a good and sweet year," the typical Hewbrew Rosh Hashanah greeting) on the appropriate days. When I was living in Indonesia I wished my family and friends back home a happy Eid; now that I'm living in England I'm sending these same people "Happy Guy Fawkes Day" emails. Hell, I frequently say "Happy Tuesday!" (or whatever) to my officemates as we leave for the evening. Whatever you're doing on December 25th, I honestly couldn't care what it is, I just hope you have a merry time doing it.
As a Catholic you should know that the Immaculate Conception (Dec 8), Solemnity of Mary (Jan 1), and Epiphany (Jan 7) are all holidays and Holy Days of Obligation in addition to Christmas. Isn't "Happy Holidays" a more appropriate greeting, then? In Italy, where I'm from, there aren't PC hangups about wishing people the wrong holidaysince the vast majority of the population celebrates Christmas regardless of whether they're a practicing Catholic, yet the Italian equivalent of "Happy Holidays" is used all the time without positive or negative connotations.
It's the season. Literally. Winter Solstice. Seriously. Winter Solstice has been around since the Earth got its tilt. The oldest and most traditional of celebration traditions. Look at the history of Solstice and see that "Christmas" and many other holidays of this season stem from piggy-backing off the pre-existing Solstice celebrations (as well as Saturnalia festivities and others) in an approach of "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em". But that's fine. Any excuse for a party will do.
So glad to see someone mentioned Festivus. Perhaps you should post a small clip reminding everyone of the holiday.
Here to serve: