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Veteran Contributor

Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?

At the ortho office today, I was wished "Happy Holidays."  I looked back at her eye to eye with a smile and wished her a "Merry Christmas."  I got the "I have to say Happy Holidays" look.

 

I am a "Keep Christ in Christmas" person.

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24 Replies
Advisor

Re: Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?

I wish I could tell you accurately how much of our lecture and test emphasis this semester in nursing school has involved cultural diversity concerns.  I think the mindset of people serving the public now is that "Happy Holidays" covers everyone, and ought to offend no one. 

Advisor

Re: Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?

I wrote extensively on this n another post.  We Christians let our most sacred holiday be secularlized and commercialized and we have no one but ourselves to blame.  Can you imagine Jews letting Rosh Hashhana or Muslims letting Ramidan be highjacked like this and disrespected in this way?  No way!

 

I say, make Christmas a one day celebration and let those Christians who observe it do so.  Same with the Jewish and Muslim holy days. 

 

Move to a "winter break" some time in January.  That way NO ONE gets offended.  Right now I am hearing of more and more Christians being offended by the way things are now.  Don't we count in that "offend no one" scenario?

 

Just my two Christian cents.

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Veteran Contributor

Re: Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?

As for me and my house we will serve the Lord. Merry Christmas it is. I am not offended by people who say Happy Holidays, but I will always say Merry Christmas. My 2 year old granddaughter is also saying Merry Christmas to everyone in town. I have passed by stores that have the Xmas on signs. I will not shop in them. If they want to leave Christ out, I will leave my money in my purse. Merry Christmas to all.

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Senior Contributor

Re: Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?

I use both phrases when I deliver packages to the doors. It is nice to even acknowledge there is an event to celebrate! When you are speaking to people of many cultures day in and day out, a single phrase is easier to remember than possibly offending one culture. The medical staffs have enough to remember with the numerous health care plans' details.

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Veteran Contributor

Re: Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?

I agree with you.  Yes we are a Christian nation, founded on Christian principles but you have to think about a few things.  We also consider ourselves a melting pot and have prided ourselves on accepting people from throughout the world into citizenship.  And being realistic that means they brought diverse religions and cultural practices with them.

 

I cannot think of any other religious holidays that are so publicly promoted and marketed the way Christmas and Easter are.  I can be empathic with other religious beliefs feeling forced to recognize these Christian events.  Maybe Kwanza (sp) was a few years ago, but that was because it was a made up holiday and they were trying to get anyone to recognize it.  And then maybe Cinco de Mayo in some areas.  Of course there is Mardi Gras but I think even Christians have forgotten the religious background in that.

 

Do you feel forced to recognize and participate in Rosh Hashanah or Hanukah?  I imagine most Americans cannot tell you when they are or what they are.

 

So I think a simple Happy Holidays doesn't compromise Christian principles very much.

Advisor

Re: Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?

Our nation was founded on a formally expressed principal of freedom FROM religion...meaning that there is no "state" religion.  Many of the founding fathers were not at all rellgious, Jefferson being a notable example. 

One large reason people came here in the first place was to escape persecution for being outside of the circle of belief that was in favor in the land of their origins.   So-called Judeo-Christian values may have been held up as the majority of influence in our belief system as a people, but there have always been many here who do not ascribe to a formal faith, Christian or otherwise. 

I for one do not think that this makes anyone less of an American.  I do not want anyone to force their faith on me, and I would not presume to force mine upon them. 

When I look around at what Christmas has become, I think that if Jesus as I conceive of him and understand his beliefs would probably want his name taken off of our society's disgusting, commercialistic celebration. 

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Advisor

Re: Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?

I don't want to force my religious beliefs on anyone and I respect others' cultures and religions.  But I would never presume to commercialize and secularize their holy days.  Christmas is a Christian holiday. 

 

If people do not have Christian beliefs or don't want to be "forced" to celebrate it, then don't expect a paid NATIONAL holiday and school breaks and celebrations.  THe same people who have no problem taking these perks, then turn around and object by watering it down into something other than a Christian holiday.   

 

When someone says Happy Holidays, what holidays are they are referring to?  Of course they are Christmas and New Years.  No one argues that those are the holidays referred to.

 

High holy days in both the Muslim and Jewish faith are respected as such.  Why would Muslims or Jews get offended by our insistence that Christmas be recognized as a Christian holy day?  I would not ever attempt to secularize a holy day of religious significance to them by denying its Jewish or Muslim roots. 

 

It is not Christians who are forcing Christmas on other faiths...it is those who want to reap the financial benefits of our Christian holy day but not recognize its roots in Christianity.  Retail stores, airlines, restaraunts, gas stations, shipping companies, ALL make a ton of money because there is a group of Christian people who buy their goods and services to celebrate a day of importance to them.  Yet these same businesses slap these consumers in the face by secularizing their reason for spending their money at their establishments because they don't want to offend the other people they make money off from.  What hipocricy. 

 

Consider this....let's say people of another faith had a high holy day that generated as much gift giving, travelling, spending, services, revenue as Christmas does.  Do you think for a moment those business and services who benefit from their beliefs would risk losing their business by lumping their holy day into a secular day called "the holidays"???  No way. 

 

It has nothing to do with separation of church and state...it is about making money off of our beliefs then secularizing a very special day to us then getting angry if we want to keep the Christian roots in this holiday.  We have no one to blame but ourselves for allowing our holy day to be usurped by greedy retailers and marketers. 

 

If we Christians took just one year and refused to buy, spend, buy for Christmas we could bring them to their knees.  Just look what happened the past two Christmas seasons with the recession.  If we took a year off from all the frantic buying and celebrated simply they would get the message.  To win our business back they would very quickly make the change. 

 

In fact, I wish we Christians would fool them completely and celebrate Christmas on the Feast of the Epiphany the way the Old World Christians used to. 

 

 

Senior Contributor

Re: Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?

I don't mean to be disrespectful, but I do lump Hanukkah with Christmas and New Year's Day as holidays of this month. I think there is a Muslim holiday during this time too. If I'm not certain of a person's cultural background, it is a best practice to say Happy Holidays.

Now I will not disagree with your opinion of the holiday commercialization, including others such as Mother's Day, Valentine's Day, even Veteran's Day and Memorial Day. It is up to each and every one of us to decide how we want to celebrate these days, including the money spent on it. I think the reason why federal employees are given holidays off is because the religious majority of the nation at the time it was put into law. Laws can be changed.

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Advisor

Re: Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?

Christmas became a national holiday under President Ulysses S Grant in 1870.  He was president during the Period of Reconstruction after the Civil War.  It was pretty much a Victorian era and I am not too sure how religiious he (or the Victorians) were. 

 

Hannuka is an eight day holiday that can occur any time betwwen late Nov and mid Dec.  THere an Islamic New Year that varies anywhere from November to February.but other Islamic high holy days are no where near the end of December.  While I think of these holidays as important religious observances and cultural events, they are not fixed annual dates.  It is hard to imagine that the date of 25th of December would represent any holiday other than Christmas. 

 

It also seems illogical to me to argue that the Christmas trees, Christmas wreaths, Santa Clause (St Nicholas) symbols displayed everywhere (we are not allowed to display Nativity scenes anymore) represent anything other than Christmas. 

 

 I compare lumping a bunch of religious holidays into some sort of "season" that is ultimately celebrated to coincide with December 25th, to approaching a person who I know for certain is Muslim  and is celebrating Ramadan in August and wishing him/her "Happy Holidays!" 

 

I think both they and I would think that is silly and in no way reflects true respect for their culture.  When people take licencse with any religious holy day and attempt to lump a whole bunch of other special religious or cultural celebrations into it, we diminish the meaning and value of all of the celebrations.

 

I never felt disrespected by your comments.  In fact they forced me to do a bit more research into this issue.  THanks for the good discussion. 

 

 

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