We Say “Happy Washington’s Birthday”

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:

  • they don’t like it that he mentioned God in his speeches,
  • they don’t like it that he owned slaves, or
  • they don’t like it that he had wooden teeth.
  • 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!”

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    2 thoughts on “We Say “Happy Washington’s Birthday”

    1. Michael December 26, 2009 / 11:03 am

      Brilliant. Merry Christmas!

    2. Elliot's Mom February 22, 2010 / 10:11 pm

      What about Lincoln? When I was going to elementary school in the ’50’s, both Lincoln’s Feb 12th and Washington’s 22nd b’days were celebrated. Lincoln’s primarily called for making shadow silouhettes or construction paper stovepipe hats and Washington’s birthday made cherry pie filling go on sale (Can’t remember any Washington school activities. The conspiracy must have already begun). When they combined the two days into a Monday holiday it was understood that the holiday was for both L & W. Are you telling me now it’s for ALL the presidents?!? That’s devolution of the worst kind and should definitely be opposed. I don’t want any holiday celebrating the presidency and, of course, I think less of Lincoln all the time, so Happy Washington’s Birthday! I’ve forgotten the cherry pie filling sales in recent years, but I’d rather go back to buying that than a car. Maybe cherry pies were abandoned when the rumour surfaced that the cherry tree story was a myth, but we could revive the myth! Truth-telling stories are good!

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