According to a poll conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute in 2016, 66 percent of Democrats said that stores and businesses should greet customers with “Happy Holidays,” “Season’s Greetings” or some other general greeting, rather than “Merry Christmas,” as a show of respect for different religious faiths; only 28 percent of Republicans felt the same. It is unfair to assume this. Happy New Year, but Merry Christmas.” Christmas is a federal holiday celebrated widely by the country’s Christian majority. But Christmas turned from a religious occasion to a largely secular one for many people, the phrase “Happy Holidays” also expanded its usage, becoming a more universal greeting used to include people of various religions, and even a nod to the New Year. The word for … The commercialized aspects of Christmas have no historical basis in Christianity, but we enjoy it anyway. The answer to this question depends on whether Christians would say yes or no. In the book Season’s Greetings From the White House, first published in 1996 and updated in 2007, author Mary Evans Seeley offers details of presidential Christmas cards, messages and gifts through the years. Setting aside politics, what’s the history behind the different greetings? One Jewish friend recently told me that her family has always celebrated Christmas, but they made sure that no Christmas artifacts can be seen from outside. When asked about how stores should greet their customers over the holidays, 42% of Americans prefer “Merry Christmas,” 12% prefer “Happy Holidays” and 46% say it doesn't matter. But you know, this year the emphasis almost has to be on the "Happy New Year" part of the traditional year-end greeting. If a Jewish person said "Happy Haunnikah" (did i spell that right?) Imagine Chinese-Americans digging out a historical event around St. Patrick’s Day just so that they can compete with the Irish on the street. Besides, if “trivializing” of other people’s religions is unethical, how about trivializing of their own religion? How did a simple salutation get so controversial? What started as a dispute forged by religious preference became … Pray in Jesus’s name. A 1937 ad proclaimed: “A gift of Camels says, ‘Happy Holidays and Happy Smoking!’” Other ads from the 1930s and early 1940s stuck to “Season’s Greetings,” but all featured jolly, grinning Santa Clauses, reindeer, Christmas trees and other recognizable Christmas symbols. Example: [Collected via e-mail and Twitter, November 2015] Saw on Facebook a post claiming that the President has banned Christmas trees at veteran centers. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays From BRB . In recent years, the debate over whether to say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” has become as reliable a post-Thanksgiving tradition as the Black Friday shopping craze. From this perspective, it makes sense that the second-generation Jews began questioning the idea of celebrating Christmas. January 4, 2004    I was impressed, or shocked, by how spectacular it was. If Jewish people are envious of the dazzling nature of Christmas, why don’t they just celebrate Christmas? ©2004 DYSKE Continue Reading. Very few care. But in 2005, just as the idea of a “War on Christmas” was gaining momentum in conservative circles, critics spoke out against President George W. Bush’s omission of the word “Christmas” from his White House holiday card. “The company’s first line of Christmas cards prominently featured the sentiments ‘Merry Christmas,’ ‘Christmas Greetings’ and ‘Season’s Greetings’ on the front of each design,” says Samantha Bradbeer, archivist and historian for Hallmark Cards, Inc. Other sentiments, such as “Joyful Greetings” and “Yuletide Greetings” also appeared on early 20th century cards, Bradbeer explains, but they weren’t as frequently used as the Christmas greetings. White House Christmas card from George H. W. Bush, 1989. If by “trivialize” the authors mean enjoying the common customs associated with Christmas—installing a tree, exchanging gifts, singing carols, reading stories—the answer by the vast majority of Christians would be yes. The use of “Happy Holidays” spread in the late 20th century as a way for retailers to greet customers without fear of offending those who might not celebrate Christmas. Merry Christmas is felt to leave out too many people. All Rights Reserved. If anything, it’s a generic, catch-all greeting employed by companies looking to increase their customer demographic. At that time, Seeley told the Washington Post that the last time a presidential holiday card had mentioned Christmas was 1992, during the administration of Bush’s father, George H.W. No festivals of religious origins would be enjoyable. Growing up in Japan, my family casually celebrated Christmas. A day to celebrate! When I was sixteen, I moved to the States to live with an American family in California. The term appears in 1534 in a Christmas letter between the Catholic Bishop John Fisher and Thomas Cromwell. • America. MERRY CHRISTMAS!” … for which I was summarily. So where did the idea that it is threatened come from? The greeting “Merry Christmas” has a pretty long history. https://www.history.com/news/the-war-of-words-behind-happy-holidays Which makes more sense? And, as offensive as it may sound to some Jewish people, I hold Hanukkah responsible for tainting Christmas. It was in the early 90′s that I started feeling the pressure to stop saying “Merry Christmas” around the holiday season. Otherwise, what else would Christians expect non-Christians to do on “Christmas Day”? By Jeremy_Brener @JeremyBrener Dec 25, 2020, 6:00am CST / new. Bill O’ Reilly said that Christmas is “under siege.” He was mad that Macy’s was using “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” President-elect Donald Trump joined the “War on Christmas” bandwagon this year. Seasonal greetings have never been so controversial. The Christians celebrate their Happy Holidays beginning December 15, through Christmas Day on December 25, until Feast of the Three Kings on the first Sunday of January. Happy holidays includes more religions than Merry Christmas, which is why it is better. Much like “Merry Christmas,” it turns out that “Happy Holidays” also has religious roots. Until I moved to New York where I made many Jewish friends, I had never heard of Hanukkah. His campaign is selling a Christmas ornament for a whopping $149. What if he wants to celebrate Christmas? Then again in 1565 in a document called the Hereford Municipal Manuscript. As someone who is religiously neutral, I would like to suggest that we all let others fully enjoy their religious holidays without tainting them. Christmas cards on sale at a Target store for the 2017 holiday season. As for “holiday,” the word emerged in the 1500s as a replacement of the earlier medieval word “haliday,” which itself had supplanted the Old English “haligdæg,” meaning holy day. The identities our society projects on us are in conflict with the identities we feel inside. Christmas is the Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, which, in Western Christian Churches, is held annually on 25 December.For centuries, it has been the subject of several reformations, both religious and secular. Back in the 1950s, her research shows, Dwight D. Eisenhower’s holiday cards read “Season’s Greetings.” Later presidents, from John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson to Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, also tried not to alienate non-Christians in their holiday missives. Imagine if we were no longer allowed to say “Happy St. Patrick’s Day!” and instead had to say something like, “Happy drinking day.” Imagine if all holidays were used as platforms for asserting our religious identities, each religion digging out some minor historical event as an excuse to compete with the major one. Saying “Happy Hanukkah” to someone just because he is Jewish, could also be offensive. Now, however, these phrases have become casualties in the battle of political correctness. It was replaced by a more generic, politically-correct version, “Happy holidays.” For me, being able to say, “Merry Christmas!” to anyone was a beautiful thing, even though I’m not Christian. If you were confident of your own religious beliefs and identity, appreciating the customs of other religions should not be harmful. Doctor is bombarded with abuse for 'excluding Muslims' by wishing his followers Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays. Now, I have to keep my Christmas spirit in check to avoid offending Jewish people. Historically, “Merry Christmas” appeared in English literature in the 16th century and has been popularized in various books since then. “Happy Holidays” was increasingly (rather exponentially) pushed on people during the 70s, 80s, and hugely in the 90s as part of the whole PC movement which was just fronting for the Neomarxist assault on Western Civilization, and especially Christianity. (Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images). Share this story. If Jewish people want to trivialize Purim by turning it into a Halloween-like costume party, I would gladly join the fun. Whether you choose to say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays,” sincerely wishing someone else well at this time of year—or any time, really—is never a bad idea. Now we say “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings” rather than “Merry Christmas.” While growing up we were always taught that saying Merry Christmas to whomever we saw was polite and courteous, we did not have to worry about offending anyone with the phrase. Wishing everyone a very Happy Holiday season! Contact: dyske@dyske.com. Most notable is Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol published in 1843. And before the 18th century, you could hear both “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Christmas.” The most likely reason for this is the fact that, well, “merry” was … Before this, the term “Happy Christmas” was more common. To trivialize something that you are invited to trivialize, or to trivialize your own religion that you are not supposed to trivialize? (In fact, each year, Queen Elizabeth continues to wish her citizens a "Happy Christmas," rather than a merry one.) While on the campaign trail in 2015, he even vowed to "make Christmas great again" by requiring people to greet others with "merry Christmas," not "happy holidays." If Hanukkah truly was a major holiday, it would be understandable, but it isn’t. It was in the early 90′s that I started feeling the pressure to stop saying “Merry Christmas” around the holiday season. 'Merry Christmas' versus 'happy holidays': A tale of two expressions. Hanukkah today is clearly a trivialized version of the original. © 2021 A&E Television Networks, LLC. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! Christmas is not a major holiday in Japan, but the commercial aspects of it are enthusiastically embraced by many. Share this … Why should they have to feel guilty for celebrating Christmas? (Credit: White House/White House/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images). Twice a week we compile our most fascinating features and deliver them straight to you. Because of this, it has been abandoned by a lot of official … If you know someone celebrates Christmas you can go with “Merry Christmas,” but ‘tis the season for interacting with strangers (selling to them, buying from them, bumping into them on your way out of Target). Fight back against that by doing one thing: say “Merry Christmas.” Don’t say Happy Holidays. Thank you for the great news coverage and the great videos and fun articles. If trivializing of Christmas is unethical, trivializing of Hanukkah by Jewish people should be immoral by their own standard. By looking at historic literary works, you will see how far back this greeting can be traced. You may be surprised to find that while many people think of “Merry Christmas” as the more modern of the two phrases. But some people take offense to that simply because they don't celebrate any holidays on that particular day. In modern day England, however, it is popular to say “Happy Christmas.” I mean seriously. Since most Japanese are not religious, they readily import anything festive regardless of their religious origins. Let everyone know about the miracle that happened today all those years ago and why you are so excited to celebrate it. By saying “Happy Hanukkah” to him, we would be insinuating that he is doing something wrong. Merry Christmas - and any holiday, for that matter - to the lovely staff and users of NintendoLife! That is, they would encourage Jewish people to “trivialize” Christmas. The phrase "Merry Christmas" ignores non-believers, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, and other religions, too. For me, being able to say, “Merry Christmas!” to anyone was a … What is wrong with enjoying a festival that happens to originate in a religion other than your own? Both are derived from Old English: Christmas comes from “Cristes Maesse,” or the Mass of Christ, the first usage of which (in 1038) described the mass held to commemorate Christ’s birth. — …    Providing you do it in December. Since second-generation Americans only have secondhand knowledge of it, they naturally feel insecure about it. Why do they have to invent their own holiday to compete with Christmas? The great holiday greeting debate doesn’t seem to be reflected in the history of greeting cards themselves, which have a long tradition of varied offerings for the holiday season. A Merry Christmas … Happy Holidays vs. Merry Christmas: The Last Thing That Ever Needs To Be Said About It 12/04/2013 04:00 pm ET Updated Feb 03, 2014 Every year at the beginning of December some Americans engage in a ridiculous rhetorical ritual that recycles righteous arguments about whether people should say to one another Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas. If I know my client well enough it's a no-brainer, but if it's a new client, I'm often worried I may offend them whichever way I go. In effect, they used the holiday season as a platform for asserting their religious identity. By the middle of the 20th century, the phrase was well established in popular usage, as shown in a study of ads run by the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, in Carolina Magazine from 1935 to 1942 to encourage giving the gift of tobacco. Jewish people simply used the otherwise minor festival as an excuse to compete with Christmas. ... Willie Nelson, wrote in 1963, and which Roy Orbison first made famous in the years before Willie became Willie, and he still sold his songs to anyone who’d buy ’em. Here the desire to discourage Jewish people from enjoying Christmas is disguised as their respect for Christians. Over the years, Hallmark has expanded its options to reflect consumer trends and incorporate more religious and cultural backgrounds; Hanukkah cards were added in the 1950s, and Kwanzaa greetings were introduced in the 1990s. The “Happy Holidays” tyrants want to get rid of Christmas … FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. Controversy over phrasing rarely figured in to historical presidential holiday greetings. If Christians are happy with Christmas being a national holiday, non-Christians have the right to do whatever we want to do with Christmas. However, we did find a prominent non-political figure spreading “Happy Holiday” cheer in 2010. Merry Christmas to all who celebrate Christmas; happy holidays to everyone else. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays used to be easily interchangeable. Trump, Obama and the War on Christmas A look at how the phrases "Merry Christmas" and "Happy Holidays" were used under President Donald Trump and President Barack Obama. … It was replaced by a more generic, politically-correct version, “Happy holidays.”. “Christmas for Jews—How Hanukkah became a major holiday” by David Greenberg explains the history and the politics of Hanukkah. So no, “Happy Holidays” isn’t some PC alternative to “Merry Christmas”. "The phrase "Happy holidays" ignores non-believers, Muslims, Buddists, and a handful of other religions I mentioned and cited in R1." Therefore, then or now, to wish someone “Happy Holidays” is to wish them happiness from the first night of Advent through the Feast of the Epiphany, including Christmas. 1925 Hallmark Christmas card. If they invite everyone to join in their fun, let’s gladly accept the offer. 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