“Merry Christmas” — or “Happy Holidays?”

Christmas poinsettias

by Noella Noelophile™

By now, you’re probably hearing it all over the place: “Happy Holidays!”

Except…you won’t hear it from me.

In my opinion, “Merry Christmas” is one of the most beautiful phrases in the English language.  After all, when else do we use the word “merry” in a sentence?  And when did it get to be offensive to wish someone well, and voice a hope that that person is healthy, at a place that is peaceful in his or her life, and enjoying this beautiful season?

To me, “Happy Holidays” sounds generic, impersonal and antiseptic.  Kind of like going to a Christmas parade–and then staying behind a thick glass wall, for fear of catching cold, having mud splashed on you, or falling victim to any other far-fetched perils.  Sure, you can see the celebration–but you’re not committing to it wholeheartedly.  To me, a wish of “Happy Holidays” loses about ninety per cent of the “festive” element!

I recall one morning, leaving a restaurant in early December, thanking a waitress for her help and saying, “Merry Christmas!”  Her response was a stern look, and she rapped out, “Happy Holidays!”  She almost sounded reproachful, as if the wish was inappropriate!

A good wish is a good wish, no matter what the recipient’s faith, background, perspective or what holidays are important to him or her.  It’s not intended to be a rude imposing of our beliefs on anyone who may believe differently.  And, guess what?  If you wish me a “Happy Hanukkah,” “Happy Kwanzaa,” or a “Joyous Solstice”–I’ll smile.

What’s your input?  If your religion doesn’t celebrate Christmas, are you offended to be wished a “Merry Christmas”?  Do you think the wish fails to take into account your personal spiritual journey and perspectives?  How about if you’re an atheist or agnostic?   Do you say, “Merry Christmas,” or “Happy Holidays,” and why?