Should we say Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas?


With the arrival of the Holiday season, arrives the controversy of which greeting is the proper one to use.

With the holidays quickly approaching, there are many questions on everyone’s mind. What should I get my friends and family members? Do I have enough money to get everyone something? Will there be any holiday parties to go to? But there is something a bit heavier weighing itself on our collective consciousness: should I say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?

There’s absolutely no issue with saying “Happy Holidays” if you’re not sure which holiday someone celebrates or simply for the sake of inclusivity. With that being said, it’s a non-issue turned political correctness scandal, like so many other things in today’s society. Politically correct culture creeps into each and every aspect of our lives and dictates the way we speak with and interact with each other.

People aren’t mad at the notion of saying “Happy Holidays” because they’re bigots, racists or anything of the sort. People are frustrated because the “Happy Holidays” debacle is yet another symptom of the pervasive PC culture in which we live and did not ask to be a part. We are constantly walking on eggshells out of fear of offending someone, which isn’t hard by any means to do. Not so long ago, baristas, cashiers and strangers in public would greet you with “Merry Christmas”. There was no malicious intent behind it and people seemed to understand that.

Starting in November, you leave the house and see Santa Claus statues, Christmas trees, ornaments for those trees and festive Christmas displays all around. You turn on the TV and see Christmas special episodes, movies and commercials. You turn the radio on in your car and dozens of stations are playing Christmas songs. I wonder, what’s the point of saying “Happy Holidays” when Christmas is clearly the dominant holiday? It’s just talk by people who want to feel righteous, as if they’re fighting for something revolutionary, but talk is cheap.

The fact of the matter is that the majority of this country is Christian, so most people will naturally assume that you celebrate Christmas, even if you don’t. Although I don’t celebrate it myself, I still enjoy getting into the Christmas spirit. I love the shared communal happiness of an up-and-coming Christmas amongst strangers. It’s something that needs to be kept alive, especially in today’s climate of isolation and division.

Just a week ago at CVS, the cashier told me, “Merry Christmas or Happy Hannukah or whatever you celebrate,” and we laughed. That’s the only thing we can do because this entire debate is so ridiculous. Asking people what they celebrate and basing your response off of what they say is a much more personalized, organic approach to inclusivity than the generic and cookie cutter “Happy Holidays”. When you create something intended for everyone, it belongs to no one.