Opinion: Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays

For Patch contributor Bill Buckheit, tolerance is a two-way street.


Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year! People are smiling and everyone is generally pleasant, until I greet them with “Merry Christmas”, and then I get “the look”.

I have to ask myself, how could anyone be offended by me wishing them a Merry Christmas?

When I was growing up and even a few years back, saying “Merry Christmas” was our tradition. It’s what we, as Americans have said our whole lives. Now suddenly, it is no longer politically correct.

How did this happen and why? It seems some over-sensitive representatives of various religious groups took offense to our tradition. They believe we should say "Happy Holidays" as to not offend anyone.

Not to offend anyone? How about the American people? I see the debate raged all over Facebook, and Twitter and it seems most people don’t understand why there is an uproar over this subject.

Most people take a stance on one side of the fence or the other. They are either offended and feel it is Un-American to have to say “Happy Holidays.” Others preach of tolerance and say they have no problems with it.

I feel there is a valid reason to be upset. American people are proud of our past and traditions. We don't force our customs on other countries.

The folks representing other groups are the ones that brought the issue up and requested we say “Happy Holidays” as to not offend them. We are not opposed to having other religious groups celebrate their way. But we are justifiably offended when they request we change our traditions and beliefs to appease them.

There are people who say we should be tolerant of others and it’s not a big deal. On one level I agree, but on another I simply can’t go along with it. It is very pompous of any group to try to force change onto another. I don’t think many Americans really care how a certain group treats Christmas. Your beliefs are yours and should be respected.

I feel the folks complaining about our traditions are the ones who are out of line. They have no right to attempt to force us to change our traditions.

Tolerance is a two-way street. It's not about right or wrong, but traditions. Respect of traditions is a part of tolerance. I should not have to change my beliefs and views for someone. That same viewpoint of tolerance should be observed by all.

That's why I say, “Merry Christmas.”



Bart December 24, 2011 at 03:17 AM
If someone is offended by your saying either "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays" then that's their problem. I don't care either, I take it as a kind gesture on someone's part to wish me well. I have neighbors who are Muslim, some who are Jewish. I sent them Holiday cards, and wish them Happy Holidays. Why must there be such a nasty argument about it?
Bighead December 24, 2011 at 06:02 AM
I believe it's an issue when someone (for example) is speaking to a person that they know for a fact is Jewish but still insist on wishing them a Merry Christmas, knowing full well that they celebrate Hannukah. Doing that just proves how intolerant they actually are of other people's religious choices.
sam December 25, 2011 at 01:59 PM
when you wish a muslim a happy ramadan, they don't take offense because you are extending your respect and recognizing their religeous holiday. The same for Jews when you wish them a happy Hannukah.Now why is it incorrect for christians to address christmas as christmas after all its the birth of christ the founder of christianity.If others dont want to recognize christmas,then they are discriminating against christianity.MERRY CHRISTMAS.
David November 30, 2012 at 09:28 PM
In my view, the point is really about public greetings rather than personal ones. I am sure no one cares if a Christian says Merry Christmas to another Christian. But, to greet everyone with "Merry Christmas" at your local department store whether they celebrate it or not is off-putting. Would you ever wish someone else "Happy Birthday" on your birthday? Of course not. Think about if when you went into your local deparment store, bank, grocery store and restaurant in your town and were regularly greeted with "Happy Chanukah" by all the good folks who worked there. You might say to yourself, well, heck, that's aweful nice of them to wish me a "Happy Chanuka", but I don't celebrate Chanuka. I'm proud to be Christian and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ! But they must all think I'm Jewish or maybe they think everyone is Jewish or maybe they really don't care what I am because it's more important to them to wish me their holiday greeting then to give any consideration or courtesy to the fact that I may not Jewish. How would that make you feel? Fact is that no one who's Jewish is interested in trying to stop or supress anyone from celebrating their holiday. But from the receiving end of this, if feels like it's some form of assumption, laziness or inconsideration from those well wishers who can't find any satisfaction in wishing you "Happy Holiday" instead of Merry Christmas. So much for "holiday spirit". Happy Holiday!
Stan The Man December 22, 2012 at 04:15 PM
In the United States of America,our money reads In God we Trust,we have always been a predominately Christian Nation,as a Nation in this country on Dec 25th we celebrate the birth of Christ. Every year people normally have the day off work because of This Holy Day in America,we have always greeted everyone with Merry Christmas,until recent years. No one has ever rejected this greeting,but retailers are only concerned about the almighty dollar and not wanting to offend your wallet or purse. We are not being rude or insensitive in saying Merry Christmas,it is just what the 25th of December has always meant to Americans. You never hear anyone protesting others traditions in their home land. If it offends those who are here from some other country,remember this is America,it is who we are."Merry Christmas"! If you say Happy Holiday and we respond with Merry Christmas just let it go,it's only one day out of 365,tolerance is the key.


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