Holidays shouldn’t offend; don’t get so defensive

With the holidays coming up, joy and merriment fill the air. But often times, we also see people getting irritated for silly reasons.

One of the most common complaints I’ve heard around the end of the year is about posters that say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. Being that I was from a small town in the middle of nowhere, I thought that would be just a regional thing.

Then, while I was working, someone told me “Merry Christmas,” as they were leaving. As a polite response, I said “Thanks, Merry Christmas to you too,” and they thanked me for not saying Happy Holidays because “It’s Merry Christmas.”

Now I see the perspective from both sides of the coin. Some people who celebrate Christmas feel as though the phrase Happy Holidays takes the “Christ” out of “Christmas,” which they see as the “reason for the season.” However, businesses use the phrase Happy Holidays because it offends less people.

The end of the year is filled with holidays across religious and cultural backgrounds: Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and New Year’s Day. It seems self-serving to favor one over the others, but it also takes too long to say Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah/Happy Kwanzaa, so to simplify it people say Happy Holidays.

I hate to say it too, but most of the time, it’s people complaining that we don’t say Merry Christmas. I have never heard in my life that “It’s Happy Hanukkah/Kwanzaa” as opposed to Happy Holidays.

But at the same time, I also think it seems a bit silly to be offended by someone giving well wishes for one or all holidays. Most people that I know who don’t follow Christianity don’t get offended when I tell them Merry Christmas, so why do others get bent out of shape when someone says Happy Holidays?

I’m not trying to discount Christmas as a holiday, because I do celebrate it, but I also understand that some people do not celebrate it.

Like I said earlier, it’s unusual, to me anyway, that someone would get offended by well wishes from another cultural or religious background. Believe me, the point of saying Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Kwanzaa isn’t to offend other people.

When someone gives you this kind of farewell, the best response you can give to them is “Thank you.” And if you really feel like being a nice person that day, you can say “you too.” That doesn’t mean you have to start practicing a different tradition if you give a polite, friendly response; it just means you’re a polite and friendly person.

Some people spend a lot of time being offended by holiday wishes when we have so many more offensive things that could be thrown our way.

Quite honestly, if the worst thing I hear from someone this season is “Happy Holidays,” I think I’ll be in pretty good shape.




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