"Merry Christmas" vs. "Happy Holidays", do you have an opinion?

United States
November 25, 2008 5:56pm CST
Recently (and by recently, I mean in the last few decades) the trend has shifted from shops, companies, and TV shows wishing people a merry Christmas to wishing them a happy holiday instead. This is to include people celebrating other winter holidays such as Hanukkah or Ramadan (most people who celebrate Kwanzaa also celebrate one of the others). Anyway I usually say happy holidays in cards and the like to avoid creating an awkward situation for others, but I know some people who seem to have very vocal opinions AGAINST saying happy holidays for some reason. What are your thoughts?
4 people like this
16 responses
@ksherrie (891)
• Singapore
27 Nov 08
Hi ThePaintGuru, personally i used both... I understand that Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ.. But in my country, not many celebrated that and i mean the non-Christians or non-Catholics..(There still quite a lot of Muslims, Hindus, Buddists, Taoist, etc in my country, Singapore) Instead, they celebrate it as a day for us to be giving... Being more charitable in a sense... When i mean they, i mean the minority that are not Christians or Catholics. It ends up being another excuse for gathering for some of us here in Singapore. So we use both greeting, Merry Christmas and Happy holidays! Afterall, Christmas Day is a public holiday. It is also a nice way to wish people around me to enjoy that day.. SO have a happy holiday everyone, especially to the students!
@ksherrie (891)
• Singapore
27 Nov 08
I need to edit myself, we celebrate Christmas as a day of giving and sharing! That's where the Santa Claus comes in... = You know with the presents and smiles.. Its a happy season!
@Khayam (346)
• Romania
26 Nov 08
In a global world we have to think at all systems of values that orbit around us. Although for many people religion represents a pillar of their life, for other it doesn't. My oppinon on this subject is that if we want to talk "politically correct" we have to include in the slogan also the people that believe in their own egocentric spiritual system. The atheists. On another hand, you are wrong. Ramadan, although an important Muslim celebration is not antagonistic with Christmas. Don't forget that Jesus/Isa is one of Islam's 12 great prophets. The only religion that is practically against Christmas is Judaism, that celebrates Hannukkah in the almost same period.
• United States
26 Nov 08
Thanks for that. I didn't mean to give the impression that I thought Ramadan was "antagonistic", just that I find usually people who celebrate Ramadan don't celebrate Christmas and vice-versa. I have to admit, though, I don't know very much about the Muslim faith. I do know many Jews who actually celebrate both Hanukkaha and Christmas in their house either for cultural reasons or because one parent is Christian.
@tracymw (53)
• United States
26 Nov 08
I think Christmas should be celebrated for it's true meaning which is the birth of Jesus CHRIST!
• United States
26 Nov 08
I agree with you tracymw..thats what I think too, and I don't care what people think when I tell them Merry Christmas or if I write it in my Christmas cards, I have a right to say what I want, and so do others.
@mariposaman (2967)
• Canada
27 Nov 08
Hanukkah is a minor Jewish holiday that has been inflated because of its proximity to Christmas. Kwanzaa is a made up holiday invented about 50 years ago so blacks could celebrate instead of the traditional white Christmas. This was about the same time that the original Festivus was invented. Only western countries would dilute their own traditions and cultures to accommodate other traditions and cultures. Jesus is the reason for the season so I am keeping Christ in my Christmas. When did my traditions and culture become so offensive that I can not even say anything about it out loud or celebrate it in public places. I am not ashamed and I wish people would please stop being offended by Christmas. Merry Christmas. [I am so sorry for saying that please do not be offended . Not! ] See also Festivus: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Festivus See also Kwanzaa: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kwanzaa See also Hanukkah: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanukkah See also Christmas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas
@Galena (9123)
26 Nov 08
a holiday is when you go away and relax somewhere away from home. Seasons Greetings is okay. Blessed Yule is better still. pretty much every religion has a Winter Solstice or very close to it festival, celebrating the return of light to the world in one way or another, more often than not in the form of a Solar God. so while Christmas means different things to everyone, it's also sort of the same. and to me, no meaning of Christmas is greater than that of being with the ones you love, and appreciating that you've made another turn of the wheel together.
@Pose123 (21667)
• Canada
26 Nov 08
Hi PaintGuru, Most of the people that I sent cards to are celebrating Christmas, so I have no problem with saying Merry Christmas to these people, in fact I know that many prefer it. I do have one close friend whose family do not celebrate Christmas, so I send a card wishing them a happy new year. I see no reason to upset anyone, especially at such a festive time of year. Blessings.
@mssnow (9493)
• United States
26 Nov 08
I think they should say whats in their heart. I celebrate Christmas so why cant i say "merry Christmas" Its not that big of a deal. if they celebrate differently then let them wish me a happy chaunika or happy kwanza. But I should be able to express it how i feel. It is a free country with freedom of speech.
• Philippines
26 Nov 08
hmm, I used Happy Holidays to those people I know and think that isn't Christian, just to be safety. However, I always use Merry Christmas to my family and close friends. I think using these greetings are up to the people we will be greeting, although they have the same meaning but it's more safe to greet a "Happy Holidays" to those people who celebrate other winter holidays.
• Vietnam
26 Nov 08
personally,I like Christmas holiday very much because most people whether are Christian or not celebrate together small parties in happiness.Moreover,they also give each other best wishes,even some meaningful presents.People have a chance to become closer together as well as share every thing they want. That is also a great occasion to permit themselves resting after long time on working or learning. For all of these reasons,I reckon that there is not any problem happening for celebration of Christmas.
@Pigglies (9339)
• United States
26 Nov 08
I prefer Happy Holidays really because you never know what religion someone is. But personally, I still celebrate Christmas in the commercial sense even though I'm an atheist.
@magojordan (3254)
• Philippines
26 Nov 08
Well sometimes I use Happy Holidays too for friends who are not Christians. Although they don't really celebrate it, the spirit of giving and joy is just too good to be passed that's why we greet them too. Although sometimes I forget to greet them Happy Holidays and use Merry Christmas instead it really doesn't matter to them.
• United States
26 Nov 08
I just cant seem to say Happy Holidays. For me its Merry Christmas and if people dont like it then I guess they just dont have to listen to what I say. I celebrate the birth of Christ every Christmas and for me its Christmas a Celebration of the Birth of Christ its not a holiday its the birth of Christ.
@coolseeds (3921)
• United States
26 Nov 08
I prefer "Happy Holidays". Anything else would be disrespecting the beliefs of others as well as imposing your religion onto them. Therefore possibly creating an awkward situation. I always love those who get mad about people telling happy holidays in some form that what they feel is appropriate. It is at that point that I give them my opinion about their religion that I held to myself out of respect until they wanted to bring up "their". LOL
@dogsnme (1266)
• United States
26 Nov 08
I believe the choice of saying Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays should be left up to the individual. There are organizations such as the ACLU and politicians as well that would like to see the Christmas season secularized and the words Merry Christmas changed to Happy Holidays or some other similar greeting. This is wrong! America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles and the secularization of the Christmas holiday is just one of many ways that these organizations and politicians are trying to remove God from American society. Approximately 80% to 90% of Americans profess to be Christians and celebrate Christmas not a winter holiday. I for one am going to wish someone a Merry Christmas because that is how I believe and I think people who say they are offended by it because they believe differently, should just get over it. If someone of a different faith or religion wants to wish me a Happy Hanukkah or Happy Ramadan or whatever other greeting they may have, then that is their prerogative, but just because I don't believe the way they do, doesn't mean that I'm going to condemn them or shun them for it. I'll just smile and be on my way.
• United States
26 Nov 08
Not being a Christian, I used to feel a little weird at Christmas time. I've very happily joined the "Happy Holidays" throngs. Among my friends are just about every religion and lack thereof, so avoiding something Christian makes sense. When I was in preschool and my friend next door was, too, she told me about the Christmas decorations and tree and all, at her Catholic school. I asked my father a lot of questions, and finally understood that they were celebrating the birthday of Jesus Christ. My synagogue school had nothing going on like that, so I asked my dad, if we don't believe in Jesus, what do we believe in? His answer was, "Education." That education has, I thinnk, made me aware of and accepting of diversity, and I love the differences. Miami isn't much of a winter town, but people still decorate like crazy. It's pretty, but increasingly secular. Maybe the day will actually arrive when we all accept and respect others' beliefs.
26 Nov 08
I think Christmas cards should have some form of Christmas greeting in them, and other cards should have a relevant greeting for whatever faith they are aimed at. I think it's more of an American thing to say happy holidays, in the UK it seems that Merry Christmas is still used a lot more, unless talking to someone who is celebrating Hanukkah or another religious festival.