By now pretty much every shop and mall is decorated for Christmas and every service person is passing along a holiday well wishing to their customers. Some stores have pledged to say ‘Merry Christmas’ while others are sticking with ‘Happy Holidays’. I do not envy whoever has to make the decision each year on what greeting will be given. This Cyanide and Happiness comic sums up the problem nicely;
I can’t speak to how Non-Christians should interact with being wished a ‘Merry Christmas’ but I would like to to address how Christians interact with being wished ‘Happy Holidays’.
We need to drop the attitude and the crankiness. We need to stop hearing the phrase as a slight against our faith and our holiday and hear it for what it is intended, a genuine well wishing.
I think our problem is one of perception more than one of reality. We are so sure that the person who is wishing us Happy Holidays is actually saying something negative we can’t hear the blessing in it. When many of us hear Happy Holidays I think this is what we think is being said,
‘I hate you, your holiday, and your faith. I wish that your celebration would come to an end so I can enjoy my own Christless and Godless celebration. A pox on you and your house of worship!’
When this is our starting point it is pretty hard to accept that the person speaking to us is saying something kind and loving to us. But like I said I think this is a problem of perception more than anything. So I have decided that when someone wishes me a Happy Holidays I will perceive it differently. I will perceive it positively.
This is what I have decided to hear when someone wishes me a Happy Holidays;
‘Sir I recognize that you are a Christian who is entering into a season where you celebrate multiple holidays. I know that you are celebrating Advent, Christmas and New Years. I possibly will not see you at the appropriate time to pass on a more specific holiday greeting for each holiday. Therefore I hope all of your holidays will be happy and joy filled.’
I choose to hear the store clerks say such kind things to me all contained in those two simple words, Happy Holidays. Because of that choice I walk away from every cash register feeling blessed, edified and not the least bit cranky. Will you consider hearing ‘Happy Holidays’ this way with me as well?
Well said, Chris! Merry Christmas Holidays to you and yours ♥
We will! I hope you and yours have a great holiday as well!
So very true!! Beautifully written post!
Thank you so much for saying this!
I work in a clinic, and on a day to day basis, we usually see upwards of 100 people come through our doors. It is hard this time of year to say the “right” thing, at the right time.
Usually I find myself saying Happy Holidays, because one, is is broader, and will cover any religion of any person coming through my doors, and two, even if one does celebrate Christmas specifically, but I only see you once a month at my work, it covers that larger span of time.
People get so worked up nowadays about seemingly silly stuff. You can’t even say a happy greeting without people crapping all over you.
I celebrate Christmas, but not everyone does. Just because someone celebrates a different holiday doesn’t make it any less meaningful or less important in their eyes. You can’t tell by looking at someone what their beliefs are, so Happy Holidays is safer, covers all the bases and a long time frame if you won’t be seeing someone.
People need to pick their battles and stop being so damn grouchy and uptight lol.
I agree, I think we we all do a lot better if we assume the best in each others intentions most of the time.
Great post, Christopher! I think even the attitude behind your words is more Christ-like as well! 🙂
Thanks Laura. I really enjoy this season, except for all the craniness we cause ourselves.
Thank you!!! this needed to be talked about somewhere! I couldn’t care less if someone says hoppy holidays or merry christmas or happy hanukkah or happy kwanza, honestly doesn’t matter to me. But I know ALOT of people it bothers way too much. Thank you for writing something on this topic. I wish I could have everyone read this 🙂 thanks for sharing as usual 🙂
It is a funny thing to get into a snit about for sure.
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Yup, me too, Christopher. 🙂 I still say “Merry Christmas” since it is what I grew up with. But I take the greetings from staff in the spirit in which it is meant. Besides, many of them probably don’t have a choice, being in retail and all. The photo of the boys’ is twenty kinds of adorable–thanks for sharing it! 🙂 ~Aron <
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I wish most people a Merry Christmas as well, unless I am in a social situation where I am not sure how that would be received. And thanks for saying about the kids.
Wonderful! I really got a kick out of your Cranky Christmas Christian interpretation of “Happy Holidays.”. This is an excellent message that everyone should hear.
lol I am glad you enjoyed it. And the way a lot of us react to Happy Holidays that has got to be the way we hear it.