Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

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.


Author: Kevin Hickey

I have been a professional software engineer for over fifteen years. I currently work at Intuit as an architect. I have written bootloaders, ported the Linux kernel and Android to new platforms, written CPU diagnostics, developed control software for CPU manufacturing and worked on enterprise web sites. As both a developer and program manager I have been helping software organizations become more agile for over a decade. I am passionate about helping teams deliver world-class software solutions to interesting problems. My current focus is on pragmatic agility for the enterprise. When I’m not behind a keyboard I enjoy spending time with my wonderful wife Amanda, rock climbing and hanging out with my dog Tex. In the summer you can find me in my pool or climbing something. In the winter I count the days until summer returns to Texas (I never have to count too long).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: