Is Happy Holidays The Right Thing To Say?

In the ongoing debate about wishing someone “Happy Holidays” vs wishing them “Merry Christmas,” The Blaze reports that Professor Terri Susan Fine feels neither expression is inclusive enough and suggests that we start wishing each other a “Happy Federal Holiday.” In her editorial, published recently in the UCF Today, she states in part the following.

“Suggesting that Christmas is a minor holiday, which it is not, insults the Christian celebrant, while elevating Chanukah to the same level as Christmas denies the holiness associated with the major Jewish holy days and festivals, such as Rosh Hashanah (the New Year), Yom Kipphur (the Day of Atonement) and Shavuot (the Feast of Weeks), none of which falls in December.”

She says that even wishing someone “Happy Holidays” is not inclusive enough because many people don’t celebrate any holiday during the “holiday season” and that she and her friends wish each other a “Happy Federal Holiday” because federal and state governments officially recognize Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day as holidays, and as such, we are all forced to celebrate them to some extent.

Michael Dutton recently wrote in News Times about why he refuses to wish people “Happy Holidays.” He explains that he and his wife are not Christian, but enjoy the celebrations. He expresses respect for the reverence with which Christians regard the birth of the Messiah and the spirit of giving and joy the holiday brings out in people.

Happy Holidays [Photo courtesy of id-art/Shutterstock]It’s for these reasons, he says, that he will not wish someone “Happy Holidays.” The celebrations and the spirit the season brings are part of Christmas and we should recognize it as such. He also states this unique point of view of Christmas as an inclusive holiday, contrary to a popular argument to say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”

“Is Christmas inclusive? In the strictest sense, it is not. Christmas is a Holy Day for one religion and one religion only. In the larger sense, Christmas denotes the continuing love our Creator has for all of His children as He continues to send messengers to guide us toward our maturity as spiritual beings living in a physical world. When viewed in that light, Christmas reveals its inclusive nature.”

One could argue, however, that this perspective excludes those who don’t believe in a creator. But does it matter? Many who fall between the “Merry Christmas” point of view and the “Happy Holidays” point of view feel it’s much ado about nothing.

Happy Holidays [Photo courtesy of fotorutkowscy/Shutterstock]In an article posted to Huffington Post Religion today, Kristen Hotham Carroll wishes readers a “Merry Freaking Christmas” and voices her dismay at the arguments over “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Holidays.”

“I would hope that the holiday season would bring joy and humanity to the forefront, but we’ve instead supplemented our election rants for the fight to save Merry Christmas — from no clear or suggested threat.”

She provides this interesting comparison.

“I celebrate Christmas, and I wish people a merry Christmas when it’s Christmas. I even wish some of my Jewish friends a merry Christmas, because many of them celebrate both. I don’t know anyone who celebrates Kwanzaa, but if I did, I’d be more than happy to wish anyone celebrating, a happy Kwanzaa. It’s like when it’s someone’s birthday, and you wish them a happy birthday, even though it’s not your birthday… because it’s theirs and they are celebrating. I also wish people a happy anniversary, even when I’m not celebrating an anniversary. I’m really just a heck of a person that way.”

The “Merry Christmas” vs “Happy Holidays” debate is one that will not go away any time soon. Regardless of where you stand on the issues, or whether you think there is no issue and people need to just get over it, I think it’s safe to say we all wish for peace, joy, and goodwill at this and every other time of the year.

[Photo courtesy of Africa Studio/Shutterstock]