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Do You Say "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays"?

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I'm a dental hygienist, pyrography artist, avid gardener, writer, vegetarian, world traveler, and many other things!

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays

Every "Holiday Season" I'm again reminded of my yearly debate: Should I say "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays"? Should I stick to tradition, perhaps blindly, just to buck the trend of PC-ness swallowing the globe? Or maybe I should honor the quite possibly more inclusive salutation; after all, I'm open-minded.

It seems like everyone I ask has their mind made up one way or the other. My problem is that I'm too analytical about everything, generally. As a kid in the candy aisle, I could sit there for 10 minutes debating the pluses and minuses of buying each type of candy for that particular situation on that particular day.

Being able to view life from multiple perspectives is great, though at times I've suffered from an inability to finally "decide" anything one way or the other. Can it be a weakness? For sure. A strength? Yup, especially if it inspires me to write another article.

Which brings us here. This year I've decided to make a shortlist of pros and cons. Though not particularly religious, I consider myself spiritual. To remain unbiased I'll try to create this list based on what I think other people might feel about the debate. If you think of others, please include them in the Comments section below!


The Guilt Complex

There seems to be a guilt complex that's cropped up in the last few years surrounding "Merry Christmas," and the theme of "Christmas," generally.

Not Everyone Celebrates Christmas

Not Everyone Celebrates Christmas

Tons of department stores in the US have ceased to put up (or allow) Christmas or Christmas tree displays, for example. Sometimes they're allowed if there's a huge uproar (aka boycott) from customers or if the tree displays the politically-correct symbols of other religions.

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Many in America still see the country as a "Christian country." It's been the tradition for much of the country's history to celebrate Christmas and other Christian holidays. But with an increasingly "global" world, is this mentality out-of-date? Even if it is though, aren't Christians still entitled to celebrate Christmas however they want? And the same for non-Christians, agnostics, and atheists?

For God's sake (wait, is that too religious?), can't we all just get along without being stupid, small-minded, egocentric jerks?


Finally, despite the majority of US citizens still being Christian (75%), the majority of the world population is non-Christian. After perusing the pluses and minuses, I'm still not sure which thing to say to people.


In the past I've said "Happy Holidays" when someone has wished me a "Merry Christmas," and every time I get a surprised look that I didn't return their greeting. On other occasions someone's wished me a "Happy Holiday" and I've said "Merry Christmas," and they were irritated that I was so specific.

So, for now at least, I think I'll just opt for some parrotry. I'm not one of those people who goes out of my way to initiate a holiday greeting in the first place. If someone wants to greet me, I'll just parrot back whatever option they choose. If I was a hardcore Christian this wouldn't be the case, or if I was a hardcore atheist this wouldn't work either--but I'm sort of in the middle.

I'd appreciate any input from YOU on this subject in the comments section below. What do you think? Do you say "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays," or perhaps glare at anyone who says either? Your input is interesting and appreciated!


This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2011 Kate P

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