Everywhere I go nowadays I hear “Happy Holidays!“ And everywhere I go I say “Merry Christmas” with an emphasis on Christ-mas.
People usually respond back with a big smile and quickly say “Merry Christmas.” It's as though they're afraid to offend someone. When I say “Merry Christmas” it's like they sudden they received the secret handshake which allows them to relax and be themselves.
The chart to the right makes me wonder what we're afraid of. Not only is “Merry Christmas” an established custom in our country, practiced for hundreds of years, but the vast majority of us associate ourselves with Christianity. Who and what are we afraid of?
(The chart was included in an excellent National Catholic Register article “Christmas Wars“, Dec 11-17, 2005)
Those who are not Christian can just accept the fact that “Christians” are what most people are and it is a timeless part of our custom. I don't go around knocking the Yalmukas off the heads of Jews, or kicking Muslims who bow to toward Mecca just because I am not a Jew or a Muslim. I respect them. Other faiths and those of no faith can respect the majority of Christians as we celebrate Christmas. If they don't like it — tough, get over it.
The whole thing seems rather silly to me. And there is one comical element in the whole thing. Every time someone says “Happy Holiday” I ask them if they know where the word “holiday” comes from. Dare to venture a guess? It comes from “holy day” — just what Christmas is! Even in changing the greeting, you can't get away from it!