This year there is once again a hoo-ha over whether people and retailers say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays.” (for a sane perspective on this, see here and here) Some people even go so far as to encourage you to steer your consumer dollars away from retailers who do not greet you with “Merry Christmas.” I don’t particularly care about whether people greet me with “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays,” for the following reasons:
1. “Holiday” comes from the Old English for “holy day.” Even though most people now take it to mean “vacation,” if taken in its original sense it’s just as good as “Merry Christmas.”
2. There actually is more than one holiday this time of year, and three that most U.S. Christians celebrate: Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. The latter two are only a week apart, so “Happy Holidays” could just be shorthand for “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.”
3. When people and organizations make a big fuss about whether retailers say “Merry Christmas,” retailers are going to start saying “Merry Christmas” – not because they care about the True Meaning of the Season, but because they care about the bottom line. Therefore, putting pressure on retailers to say “Merry Christmas” is indirectly, but effectively, encouraging people to worship Mammon instead of Jesus.
4. Not everyone I encounter celebrates Christmas, so it would be manipulative of me to insist on everyone greeting me with a “Merry Christmas.” If I owned a business in a Hindu-majority country, how would I feel about it if everyone around me insisted that I wish them a “Happy Diwali,” and threatened to take their business elsewhere if I didn’t? I might do it, but I wouldn’t have a particularly high opinion of people who forced me to. Christians who insist on everyone greeting them with “Merry Christmas” may win a cultural battle, but I don’t think they win anyone’s heart for Christ.
No, it doesn’t matter to me whether someone wishes me “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays.” The real travesty, in my opinion, comes in February. George Washington’s birthday, February 22, was made a federal holiday in the 1880’s. Since the 1980’s, though, many states have begun to call the third Monday in February “Presidents’ Day,” and many car dealerships have taken advantage of this holiday by using it as an excuse for sales. Never mind that Washington’s birthday never actually falls on the third Monday in February. I think that this is a conspiracy by Washington-haters, for one of three reasons:
So I invite you to take back Washington’s Birthday. He is the Father of our Country, and lumping him together with all the other presidents is an affront to the history of the United States and all our nation stands for. Fight back in the War on Washington’s Birthday by purchasing my “We Say Happy Washington’s Birthday” bumper stickers for only $5.95. Then go in to an auto dealership and buy a car to put it on. But please, only buy from a dealer who greets you with “Happy Washington’s Birthday!”