Tis the season for well wishes and controversy. Will “Merry Christmas” offend? Is “Happy Holidays” too generic? Who can say “Happy Hanukkah” and to whom? What does “Season’s Greetings” even mean? Not surprisingly, each and every holiday greeting can offend somebody. Personally, I use both “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Holidays” and I think everybody should relax, accept the well wishes, and bring some joy to the season.
From me, “Merry Christmas” is not an evangelization or suggestion that one should be or is Christian. No one can deny that December 25 is labeled Christmas the world over. In the West, most businesses are closed, giving people time to spend with family and friends. “Merry Christmas” may as well be “Have fun on December 25”.
“Happy Holidays” is considered by some to be somehow ignoring or hiding Christmas. I see it as shorthand. This time of year encompasses Christmas, the New Year, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Festivus and the Winter Solstice. Rather than enumerate them or try to determine which are appropriate, Happy Holidays can be a real time saver.
I am constantly bemused by mankind’s ability to vilify innocent gestures. This time of year is hard enough with the stresses of travel and the end of the work year, with winter storms, short days and long nights. When a friend or coworker or stranger wishes you well, please consider that they are just trying to bring a bit of light and warmth to a season of darkness and cold. Unless you’re in the south of the equator where I can only wonder what they think of White Christmas.