Happy Holidays

A few weeks ago I read a letter to the editor which basically said that anyone who says, “Happy Holidays,” is a P.C., Christmas-hating, God-ridiculing, Communist.  Okay, so those weren’t his exact words, but he was clear that he was not a fan of the alliterative greeting.

I really do not understand why people do not like the greeting “Happy Holidays.”  I too celebrate Christmas, but if I want to say, “Happy Holidays,” does that make me less Christian?  Is saying “Merry Christmas,” really the badge of true Christianity?  When someone says “Merry Christmas,” are they then keeping the day holy?

The only reason most people care about whether or not you say “HH” or “MC” is because Bill O’Reilly made it a big deal.  Before he claimed that there is a “war on Christmas,” no one noticed said war.  “Seasons Greetings,” and “Happy Holidays” have been accepted greetings for years.  There is an old Christmas song, “Happy Holidays,” that no one seemed to mind.  The word holiday is a contraction of the words holy day, so in effect, we are saying “Happy Holy Days,” thus keeping Christmas holy.

Plus, this is simply the time of year when there are a lot of holy days.  Beginning with Thanksgiving, then Christmas, and New Years, this is considered the holiday season.  I’m not sure why acknowledging a coincidence of our calendar is somehow seen as “attacking Christmas.”  Another holy day in this season is Hannukah.  Hannukah is actually a minor feast day in the Jewish tradition, but has been co-opted for commercial reasons.  Much like Christmas was.

For many centuries Christmas was not a holiday.  Two of the four Biblical Gospels give no account of Jesus’ birth, and Matthew and Luke have almost no references back to the birth stories once they are over.  The birth stories were not a big deal to early Christians.  Christmas only became a holiday as a way to appease pagans in the Roman empire.  It is little more than a co-opted winter festival.

But today it has become an important holiday.  Not only in our religion, but more so in our culture and economy.  Many retailers depend on the holiday season to survive.  And mind you, not everyone buying a bunch of crap at Christmas time is Christian.  For the most part, Christmas has become a cultural holiday – driven by economic need much more than religious fervor.

So when people get angry when someone says “Happy Holidays,” I get angry that they are angry.  If you want to keep Christ in Christmas, worry about things more important than the signs and decorations at JC Penney.  You think Christmas should be about Christ?  Then take up your cross and follow Jesus – not into department stores, but into the prisons, the hospitals, among the poor and the outcast.  You get angry when someone doesn’t say “Christmas?”  Try getting angry over Christ’s children dying of malnutrition or AIDS.  Try getting angry over the fact that the Christmas chocolate you love so much was kept cheap on the back of the working poor.  Try getting angry over the fact that Christians are keeping people out of churches with their closed minds and closed doors.

You want to keep Christ in Christmas? Try putting Christ in your life first.  Then we’ll talk about how to greet each other.  And if you want a truly Christian greeting, one that makes no mistake whether or not you follow the Christ child, try, “the peace of Christ be with you.”

You brood of vipers.  You hypocrites.  Try getting upset over something that matters.  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.christmas meme 2

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82 responses to “Happy Holidays

  1. Scott Elliott

    Amen, Brother Robb. Preach it.

    How ironic that the hate mongers who whine about a need for the salutation “Merry Christmas” seem to have no sense of what either the word “merry” or “Christmas” mean. Consequently in the end (at best) all they can really hope to experience is a “happy holiday.”

    Thanks for this post!

  2. Pingback: Keep Christ in Christmas « The Fat Pastor

  3. Mary

    Well said, can’t agree w/ya’ more.

  4. PeggyOrMargaret

    I am going to be linking to this from now to Christmas. So well said!

  5. Personally, I always wondered what the sheperd was allowing his flock to graze on when he spotted the star of Bethlehem. If it was the middle of December in the desert, I’m sure there was nothing out there but trouble for the sheep. I don’t think Jesus Christ is a Sagittarian at all!

  6. jim spittle

    Cheers!

  7. Wow. I’ll be linking to this from my blog, I’ve already shared it on Facebook and I can’t tell you how energized I feel after reading it. Happy holidays! And – from the bottom of my heart – the peace of Christ be with you.

  8. Conservatives accuse liberals of being whiners, but they whine constantly about the stupidest things.

  9. C A Collins

    Wow, I can skip my usual Xmas rant this year. I usually get testy about the combination of Saturnilia and religious self righteousness, as people with carts full of consumer electronics snap at any one who tries to be inclusive. You said what I usually say, but much better.

  10. Great post! I feel the same way about this and people raging against those who use Xmas in their signs to reference Christmas.

    I blogged a little about this from the “Santa” point of view yesterday. ( http://www.kriswparker.wordpress.com/2011/11/29 )

  11. Sorry, this just adds to the self-righteous dialogue out there. More Scripture, less anger: “Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.” Colossians 2:8

  12. Roger

    It is not about hating Christmas. It is about being respectful to people of other faiths. The problem with many “Christians” is their attitude which says, “Christianity is the only RIGHT way!”

  13. I disagree. The problem that many Christians have with the whole “Merry Christmas” issue is mostly stores who decided to restrict how their employees greeted customers. I’m not offended when people wish me a Happy Hanukkah, because they are wishing me something well from their hearts. Why should anyone else be offended when a Christian wishes someone a Merry Christmas? Why censor someone when they are wishing someone something nice in their own words?

  14. W. Lotus

    Shared far and wide! Thank you!

  15. joanieh

    I think that the main reason that Christ is coming out of Christmas is a lot more due to how so many Christian practice their religion more so than any other aspects. I would think that this is a better response than I can write here.

    I feel that Christians are destroying their credibility on two fronts and if they want Christ back in Christmas, then maybe they should look inward a bit to see what they are doing to take Christmas out in the first place. My response is here:
    http://joanieh.wordpress.com/2011/11/28/just-a-few-thoughts-on-putting-christ-back-in-christmas/

  16. Brooke Newell

    Thank you!

  17. tamara sample

    You sound pretty angry. May the peace of Christ overtake you, too…………

  18. Not quite Vegan

    preach! this is fantastic. thank you.

  19. David Lettvin

    Well said. Those who make a fuss about such stuff are a minority but, sadly, a vocal one. Unfortunately they form a bitter, hard shell around the nutritious kernel of Christianity making it seem inedible or even repulsive to those whose only experience is with the bitter superficial covering.

    In other words, Christianity is like a cashew. You need gas masks and rubber gloves to get through the caustic outer layer to the healthy treat within. But hasn’t it always been that way?

  20. rmains

    @susie: back in the day, when i worked at mcdonald’s, i was told to suggestive sell during every order. it is where the phrase “would you like fries with that?” came from. i was not allowed to use my own words nor did i have the freedom to not offer the suggestive sell. i was working at mcdonalds. i was told what to do. it had nothing to do with “restricting” my freedom of speech or violating any civil rights. when i had on their uniform (oh yes, and the hat), they told me what i had to say as a representative of their company.

    if a company asks you to greet customers a certain way that isn’t censorship. it isn’t restriction. it’s the company, who signs your paycheck, asking you to do things their way.

    i don’t want to lump you in with a certain political view point, but i would be willing to bet that those who would claim this as censorship would be first in line to censor a gay teacher or an islamic imam for saying something “nicely in their own words.”

    btw, great article…well put. i don’t know about the whole visiting prisons and the poor thing…we really shouldn’t take this christian thing too far, should we?

  21. Lotus,
    Merchants who instruct their employees to say “Happy Holidays” aren’t anti-Christmas. They just want to draw in the broadest group of shoppers possible, including those who might be shopping for Hanukkah or Solstice or New Year’s, etc. I think it’s a bit silly if/when they tell employees NOT to say “Merry Christmas,” but it would be equally silly for them to demand that employees say “Merry Christmas” and forbid them to say “Happy Hanukkah” or “Happy Holidays.”

  22. Amen and thank you for your words and sentiments! I try to explain the same thing to my friends.

  23. I’m an atheist, and I have to say that this is the first time in quite awhile that a Christian and I have agreed so emphatically. Even if I don’t believe in the metaphysical aspects of Judeo-Christianity, I believe there was at least some good advice for the material world in the New Testament, and it’s the advice so many modern religious types completely ignore in favor of the inconsequential, proverbial low-hanging fruit. They’re the people who obviously get more personal satisfaction out of aggressive kvetching and that miniscule thrilling rush of danger from “being persecuted” than they do out of making a difference in the lives of people who need goodwill during the holiday season (and throughout the year).

    “Happy Holidays” simply says, “There’s room for all at the table”. Christmas is not the only winter holiday. The sooner people get over that little piece of drama, the happier everyone is going to be.

  24. @Dawn – So addressing a problematic practice is “just adding to the self-righteous dialog”? Most of Paul’s letters were written to address certain practices or behaviors in each of the respective churches that he felt were troublesome or not in the spirit of Christ. Was he “just adding to the self-righteous dialog” by interjecting his opinion? After all, he wasn’t Christ; he was just an apostle.

    If Christians are sincere about Christianity being about love, redemption, peace, and acceptance, then reminding Christians about those principles should not be seen as “self-righteous”.

  25. Wonderfully written! Shared far and wide!

  26. Ross Collins

    You can tell the anti-holiday ranter was an cranky old geezer: He’s still worried about Communists.

  27. Floyd Miller

    Considering many so-called “Christians” in this country have taken Christ out of Christianity and replaced him with Ayn Rand, the war on Christmas is simply a misdirection to distract from the real issues.

  28. Floyd Miller

    Christ has been taken out of Christmas by the companies that have their products made in atheist China. Of the gifts given at Christmas, more than half are Chinese-made.

  29. Kimberly Shinabery

    Very well said. I’m posting this on Facebook.
    @Susie: it’s not about censuring people who want to say “Merry Christmas.” It’s about attacking people who want to say “Happy Holidays.”

  30. Carolyn

    Wonderful!! I just discovered your blog after the Christian Left posted it. I know I’m going to be reading a lot more of your writings. Thank you so much.

  31. MBT

    I’m not offended when people wish me Happy Holidays, Happy Kwanza, or Happy Hanukkah. I say thanks and smile! But I am upset that it’s almost taboo to wish someone a Merry Christmas now. It’s gotten to the point where it is almost uncomfortable to say it because I don’t know who it will offend or how they will react (and I have had people react badly). As long as someone is offering a well wishing from their hearts, I don’t understand why people get upset.

  32. Karen

    You’ve said it well…thanks! The Cosmic Christ whom I celebrate is much more than a babe in Bethlehem, & I believe, as a life-long Christian, is part of the new creation…& known in every heart who loves neighbour as self, regardless of religious path.

  33. Karen

    Also…Merry Christmas is about as secular a seasonal greeting as I can imagine! Completely co-opted by everyone celebrating the seasonal giving
    partying bash which has begun & continues until the 12 Days Dec. 25-Jan. 6 the church celebrates the reality of God with us…Emmanuel!

  34. I just starting saying it when I started working with Jewish people and became aware that there are many around me who celebrate a different holiday. I’m not sure why that is such an issue. I’m sure there are many much more important things to worry about. I think it’s more important to just pass along a positive message than it is to assume that everyone should acknowledge Christmas as opposed to Hanukkah and Kwanzaa…none of my business. Happy Holidays to Everyone!

  35. Stephanie

    Stuff like this only goes to show that Jesus himself was absolutely right when he predicted that the world would hate anyone that followed him because they hated Him then and they hate Him now. Any REAL Christian knows that Jesus wasn’t born on Dec. 25th. Because we don’t know the actual date, a day was chosen as commemoration of His birth. The “worship” or “mass” of the Christ (not Jesus’ last name!) was meant for commemorating the gift of God, the sacrificial gift of his Son for all of mankind…not just SOME of them.

  36. Andrew Raymond

    Well said, and I particularly like your comment about the early Christians. We forget FAR to easily that Easter is in fact the core and most important holiday in the liturgical calendar.

  37. Wayne

    Amen and amen and if you are going to be ticked off about Happy Holidays then try going to church more times during the year than Christmas Eve and Easter. The folks I know who complain the most about Happy holidays and other such things I only see in the congregation twice a year. Love not pickiness. As for the stores well they are not the church let them require what they will they get better Sunday attendance than the church anyway.

  38. Pingback: Does “Happy Holidays” offend you? | She Dreams In Digital

  39. Tyler

    I’m a non-believer, yet I thought your post was right on. Thank you. I believe that Christmas is a time to strive to become closer to your fellow man, even those who differ somewhat in values, beliefs, culture, etc. Getting hung up on phrases or decorations or whatever seems to be the antithesis of the spirit of Christmas.

  40. Clara Hoed

    I loved the article, but please don’t gereralize and lump all conservative Christians together. Most of the people I know prefer MC to HH and most of those people are the ones who take up their cross and follow Jesus into the prisons, the hospitals, among the poor and the outcast. These Conservative Christians do not have closed minds and are not keeping people out of church. We truly believe the words of Jesus, “when you have done it unto the least of these you have done it unto me.” Merry Christmas and may the peace of Christ be with you. Oh, and it doesn’t bother this
    conservative Christian if you say Happy Holidays, if you are wishing me something good, I’ll take it!

  41. Jeff G

    Bravo! Well Said! this has been deservedly re-posted far and wide.

  42. Katie

    Wow, there are some great comments here! I particularly like the point about employees being asked to use a certain phrase as it does reflect the companies policy not a personal one. I think the problem is that for a while the phrase MC was being frowned upon to such an extent it made people rather defensive. I think it is the perceived loss of personal expression that causes the friction rather than the phrases themselves.

  43. bluegrrl

    YEAH!! I am not a Christian, and I don’t have anything against anyone who is, but I can’t stand the people who use it as an agenda, people who say they are Christian just to go along with the crowd but really don’t practice the basic tenets of human kindness (those who are bigoted, prejudiced, what have you). This post was great! Thank you! (Although I thought it wasn’t created “to appease pagans” but rather to obliterate their holiday by stealing it and turning it into “Christmas”. Still a great post!)

  44. I am not Methodist but I am aware of the trend in our country, so I would like to offer my comments. I don’t know anyone who is offended by the words Happy Holiday and it is unfair to indicate that they are. I _do_ know lots of people who are extremely offended by not being able to say Merry Christmas or call a tree a “Christmas” tree. No it is not a Holiday tree. Christmas is the only holiday that has a decorated tree. The reason folks are so angry is politically based as well as religiously based. If you notice in this country, only Christians are being stopped from using whatever words that they want, having prayer in school, celebrating their holidays as they choose. In the current trend of Islamization, Chirstians will soon have no rights and will have to go underground to worship. I wonder how many who are not concerned about being able to u Christmas will be able to with stand underground Christianity .

  45. Keep in mind the First Ammendment is for Christians as well as non-Christians. If Christians don’t fight to keep their rights, they will soon lose them.

  46. C A Collins

    @ Judy: Christmas the only holiday with a decorated tree? When the evergreen is sacred to Baldur? Saturnalia was celebrated with evergreens as well. Oliver Cromwell, his own self, preached against the “heathen traditions” including decorated trees, so if someone else calls it a holiday tree, they might not be celebrating your holiday.

  47. I love this! Thank you! I am a Christian who truly and wholeheartedly agrees!

  48. Janice Fahy

    Great article. Jesus is a Leo!

  49. C A Collins, I stand by my statement. If you can find those who celebrate Baldur, Saturnalia, etc. they did not cut a tree, keep it up right and decorate it. Yes, greens were used by other religions and so was the Yule log, but that is not what I said. Also, PLEASE tell us what other holiday has a “Holiday” tree besides Christmas. And by the way, I wish you a very Merry Christmas.

  50. Vistar

    The only people perpetuating a “war on Christmas” is Christians. No one else cares if Christians say, “Merry Christmas”.

  51. Pingback: Happy Holidays | The Fat Pastor « Chapstick, Chapped Lips, and Things Like Chemistry

  52. Thanks Preach… Recently I was asked to do a poster – and I used “Happy Holidays” to indicate that the Holidays also included the New Year – but that was not accepted, I was told I needed to use the words “Merry Christmas”. Happy Holidays is inclusive, Christmas is not.. my spouse was asked to produce a Christmas Album with “no religious” music in it (!) which was just as odd. Stupid Fox News, none of this used to matter… fine, we’ll call it “The Winter Season” then. At least in this hemisphere. And here I offer the poem by Edna St Vincent Millay, “To Jesus On His Birthday” which I have used on…uh.. Holiday Cards…

    For this your mother sweated in the cold,
    For this you bled upon the bitter tree:
    A yard of tinsel ribbon bought and sold;
    A paper wreath; a day at home for me.
    The merry bells ring out, the people kneel;
    Up goes the man of God before the crowd;
    With voice of honey and with eyes of steel
    He drones your humble gospel to the proud.
    Nobody listens. Less than the wind that blows
    Are all your words to us you died to save.
    O Prince of Peace! O Sharon’s dewy Rose!
    How mute you lie within your vaulted grave.
    The stone the angel rolled away with tears
    Is back upon your mouth these thousand years.

  53. I agree that holiday means holy day. I agree that 2 of the 4 gospels have no mention of the birth. I agree that anger on all sides should be diminished. I don’t agree that the birth was not held in high esteem by the early church. For in the birth is the idea of “Theotokos (the mother of God)”, and the doctrine most importantly of the Incarnation. Without the Incarnation and the hypostatic union of two natures, salvation would not exist. We must, therefore, realize the importance of the birth and promote it.

  54. Andrew Raymond

    @C A Collins —

    If you’re going to quote that genecidal maniac Cromwell, then you just managed to invalidate anything you have to say. Well done.

  55. @MBT: I agree that it is best to accept a greeting in the spirit in which it is intended.

  56. memory j richey

    So enjoyed reading this. So true

  57. So…You think that Christians are a persecuted minority, one step from the Circus Maximus, Judy? This is ridiculous. What someone calls a tree they have and decorate in their home in December couldn’t possibly affected you less. You co-opted most of the ‘Christmass’ traditions from the Pagans. You’ll forgive me if I don’t weep bitter tears for you.

  58. Not wanting to start any kind of fight, but I see some logical fallacies in your discussion of this issue. First, you say that no one noticed the “war” on Christmas before Bill O’Reilly pointed it out. I would beg to differ. Many of us have felt that Christmas, and, frankly, Christianity in general, have been under attack in the general culture for some time. We can debate the merits of the actuality of this, but to state that no one was bothered by how Christmas was being dealt with in the culture until Bill O stepped up, is not the case. Another logical fallacy in your argument is the implication that anyone who objects to the de-Christianizing of a Christian holiday has no credibility or right to speak on the issue unless they are performing the acts of service that you specify. Again, this is a way of silencing legitimate discussion by implying that only those who meet your criteria of Christian should be allowed to hold an opinion about the cultural trends affecting Christmas.

    To be clear, I don’t really disagree with your opinion about Happy Holidays. If that is your greeting of choice, I have no issue with that. I do believe that the ENFORCED use of this greeting by organizations in an attempt to remove the name of Christ from the name of the holiday is wrong. Origins, economic implications and ecumenism aside, Christmas is for many the celebration of the birth of the Lord and Savior of the world and the Son of God. For those for whom this is the real meaning of the holy(i) day, they should not be forced to abstain from saying its name.

  59. Cassandra

    @Judy Mortkowitz – you don’t know anyone offended by happy holidays??? really?? do a quick google – there are entire groups devoted to it. also a bit incredulous over your persecution complex; we pagans are always a bit flummoxed by what you believe is persecution.

    @dan long – December 25th would make him a capricorn 😉

    To the author: Thank you. I’m a pagan but many of us are big fans of your Jesus and utterly confused and annoyed when we see Christians sullying his name with this kind of poop.

    “Happy Holidays” is inclusive – it’s really that simple.

  60. Cassandra

    oh, and i might add – it was initially illegal to celebrate christmas in the united states

  61. Ceadda Theodoricson

    Still trying to figure out how Christians are having their rights taken away? Cry me a river? You have the right to be Christian every moment of the day..your rights end when they infringe on mine. I also want to point out that the “christians” that whine the most about the Happy Holidays things…..typically are the same denominations etc that cancel church services if Christmas day is on a Sunday….that has happened in Oklahoma a bit. Those Godless liberal Episcopalians and United Church of Christ etc …they all had church but the Spirit-Filled, conservatives cancelled.

    I think the Gods I left the Christian faith….enough is enough.

  62. Cassandra

    but in a free market society doesn’t an organization have the right to choose its greeting?

    re: the persecution – can you tell me the last president who was part of a campaign to have your religion removed from the military because it was immoral? for me it was george w. bush.

  63. I’m going to speak from my experience first, and then acknowledge those of others: I’ve never personally witnessed a time (other than within certain businesses that prefer Happy Holidays because of their diverse customer bases) when a Christian was either forbidden or even really discouraged from saying Merry Christmas. To be forbidden from doing so in any public venue would be terrible, and I’d vociferously defend any Christian’s right to use the greeting he or she wants to. As for being ‘discouraged’ from saying it, unfortunately, this falls into the realm of someone else’s right to expression; if you sense that someone else disapproves of someone saying “Merry Christmas”, that’s unfortunate, but how you deal with that is up to you. If it’s your decision to say it, then make that decision and stick by it in as honorable a manner as you can. Of course, there’s also nothing wrong with it if someone responds, “Oh, I celebrate _______ instead of Christmas”, to then wish them a similarly happy holiday. In such instances, I welcome the correction; the truth is, I want everyone of every faith and practice to feel included, and to have a genuinely happy holiday. That obviously includes Christians. While I speak for no other humanists, secularists, atheists, agnostics or anyone else who isn’t religious, from what I’ve seen, I’m willing to guess that most others are the same way. I know I’ve never wanted for Christians to ACTUALLY feel or be persecuted; all I’ve ever personally wanted was just a little consideration, a little acknowledgment that there are all kinds of belief systems (or non-belief) in the world and that, hey, we walk among you. We’re your next door neighbor, we’re the person across the aisle from you in the supermarket. We’re people of all different kinds of beliefs aside from Christianity, and it sure would be great if we could all respect one another.

    That said, IF you have personally ever felt discouraged from saying Merry Christmas as you are wont to do, then I take it upon myself to say, “I’m sorry.” No one wants to disregard your experiences, positive or negative, and it’s never productive to tell people that their perceptions are just flat-out wrong. Maybe there was a misunderstanding, or maybe you really encountered someone misguided enough to tell you that saying Merry Christmas wasn’t okay. From the bottom of my heart, if this has honestly happened to you, I’m sorry. Please understand that the purpose of saying “Happy Holidays” is, for the most part, a commercial endeavor so that businesses don’t alienate people who celebrate other winter holidays, and secondly, just a way to include everyone. “Happy Holidays” DOES also include Christmas as well as Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Saturnalia, or whatever people happen to celebrate. No one is trying to “take Christ out of Christmas” on a grand scale; for some people, there is no Christ or Christmas, because they observe a completely different faith, which may not be obvious just upon looking at someone.

    No one is trying to take Christmas from you, or change it, or do anything to it — we’re just trying to be respectful of EVERYONE with a winter holiday. That’s all.

  64. ‘fat’ pastor- I SO agree with you- I guess I am a sucker, but anything that gets people of today’s age to smile is great so….HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

  65. Indeed, the thoughtless, intellectually lazy, nonchalant way that some people continue to presume — despite the Constitution and the efforts of the founders — that America is a “Christian Nation”, is getting so tiresome. The inevitable next step, as the letter-to-the-editor you mention demonstrates, is to whine about people not agreeing with the whole silly idea, and subtly needing to offend others. The next step after that is even worse.

  66. Josie

    I despise Happy Holidays – it’s a pathetic cop out – So Merry Christmas to one and all – and if that offends you, then you shouldn’t be celebrating the Christmas festival.

    Go and celebrate whatever it is that pleases you – but don’t offend me by wishing me Happy Holidays.

  67. Michelle

    @Judy. If what you say about the “islamization” of our culture is true, this will resolve your issue with prayer being taken out of the schools, as those of the Islamic faith are called to prayer multiple times per day and the schools will undoubtedly have to accomodate that. This will give cover to the poor persecuted Christians who are being oppressed by the tyranny of our founding fathers who used the Constitution to establish this secular nation we live in. Every cloud has it’s silver lining. Happy Holidays!

  68. Dara

    I love you Fat Pastor–you really struck a nerve with me. I’m a non- churchgoing Christian who has struggled with many questions through the years since leaving my childhood faith. This was my facebook status yesterday:
    “So here’s my opinion on the Happy Holidays/Merry Christmas debate. I completely understand both schools of thought. When I was a Jehovah’s Witness kid, both greetings made me sad because I didn’t celebrate. But I always loved that someone said something to me anyway b/c they thought of me. They wanted to say something to wish me well during the magical season. They could have ignored me and said n…othing. So, if I know you’re a Christian, then I say Merry Christmas, if I know you’re Jewish, I say Happy Hanukkah. It doesn’t make sense to say Happy Hanukkah to a Christian. If you’re agnostic or athiest or I have no clue about what your beliefs are, then I just say Happy Holidays. Because I’d rather say something and there’s too much hatred and pepper spray being flung around anyway. :)”

  69. Shawna

    Justifactions always sound great. So to all the people who think this this blog is going to win some blog of the year award, do me a favor & “study and show yourself approved” ( that quote is actually in the Bible). Now dearest fat pastor. I do agree with your argument about why say it if your not keeping the day Holy. God looks at our hearts & He knows. But you pretty much lost me at your facts & research area: 1. it wasnt Bill OReilys war on Christmas but again somewhere in that big beautiful book called the Bible (assusming you do have a copy) that in the last days that the world (the one we are living in) is going to turn againts and phase Jesus our (well attempt to). So Happy Holidays is just another part of the red carpet being laid for the beast to come in stronger. And secondly: If you did your research and broke down the word Holidays, what about the word Happy! Not such a happy word.
    And lastly, if they didnt make a big deal about His birth back in the day, then why the big deal when He was born?

  70. Cassandra

    josie – plenty of people don’t celebrate the christmas festival. since you want to get uppity about it- you co-opted the pagan solstice celebration. you want to celebrate the birth of your savior – pencil some time in for april-ish. so you’re right – no more inclusiveness and wishing everyone well. i mean really! would jesus really have wanted you to love everyone after all?? oh . .. wait

    so i wish you a very very happy YULE!

  71. I will give you 2 Happy’s for one Merry Christmas…Happy Thanksgiving and Happy New Year….I will never remove Christmas from Christmas. Christ is the reason for the season. Some are forever learning but never comming to the knowledge their of….(that’s Bible). I love Jesus…

  72. Thanks for this. I’m actually an atheist (former Christian) who celebrates Christmas. It’s part of my religious ancestry – my family is mainly Scandinavian, so we have Catholic, Lutheran, AND pagan traditions (look up St. Lucia’s Day and tell me that’s not a Catholic and pagan holiday!). I’m actually afraid to say Happy Holidays lest people attack me for not saying Merry Christmas, but afraid to say Merry Christmas lest people assume I am Christian or conservative.

    At the same time, I’m still going to say whatever comes out of my mouth at the time. I make a point of simply being nice to everyone during the whole year, but especially at Christmastime, when everyone is out shopping and going crazy because of it, I try to project peace and kindness. If someone wants to take my well-wishes (however they manifest) and contort that into an insult, that is their problem. I’m more concerned with making sure that the people I come across see at least one smiling face that day. And even though I’m no longer a Christian myself, I think that’s the most Christian thing to do.

  73. This is America…if you want to say something nice, say it! However you want to say it. We have gotten way too hung up on “what will people think.” One thing is for certain, you cannot control what anyone thinks besides yourself. You are the one who lives inside your own head and who has to be happy with your own choices. If saying ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘Happy Holidays’ or ‘Happy Hanukkah’ or ‘Have a nice day’ makes you happy, say it. What others take it for is their own problem….or blessing!

  74. justanotherjen

    As an atheist that celebrates Christmas for cultural reasons not religious, I applaud you. Very well said. The only people having a “war on Christmas” are the Christians. As far as I can tell, they’re the only ones complaining about it. I’ve been saying it for years–Christmas is what you want it to be. If they want it to be about Christ then they need to make it that for their family and quit worrying about what everyone else is doing. If they don’t like how commercialized the holiday is then don’t celebrate that part, don’t shop at the stores, whatever but quit trying to decide how everyone else can celebrate.

    I appreciate the origins of the holiday but it has nothing to do with Jesus in my family. I still wish people a Merry Christmas. But I also say Happy Holidays. Whatever strikes my fancy and I don’t usually care what other people say to me except when I get a snotty, self-righteous Christian (not to be confused with the normal ones who actually represent their religion in a good light) who says Merry CHRISTmas like they’re clever or something. It’s condescending and ignorant and just plain rude. You people aren’t bringing anyone into your flock that way. In fact, I guarantee you are pushing people away with your crappy, un-Christ like attitude.

  75. Searcher

    I can’t believe that with everything else that is going on in this world that this is even an issue! If the offended Christians actually acted like Christ expected them to the child across the street wouldn’t be hungry. That woman that everyone gossips about and derides would be welcomed and offered help. There would not be hunger, loneliness, and above all, hate. The idea behind Christmas should be there all year.
    Although I believe that religion has gone bad, spirituality, love, and kindness can never go wrong. Practice these and MC or HH won’t matter

  76. Let’s get something straight, Christmas is ALL about Jesus! It don’t matter if His birthday is December or April or June, etc… the point is, this particular holiday is celebrated for His birth, therefore; making it a “Christian” holiday!! It started out a very humble celebration until the retailers saw money opportunities and made it to this crazy commercial over the top celebration that it’s absolutely offensive to the true meaning of Christmas. It wasn’t meant to be what you see today. Also, before Christmas became a national holiday, there was nothing being celebrated. So, Christmas is a “Christian” holiday for “Christians” in their own right to celebrate it! For any one who thinks that “Christmas” should be open to the general public, that being, non-Christians, and think they have the right to make remarks against the way it should be celebrated, like taking Jesus out of it, you are so wrong, very ignorant, offensive and you have no business celebrating it. If your not a Christian, you shouldn’t be celebrating a holiday that is reserved to celebrate the birth of Christ. I not Jewish, therefore, I’m not going to say “Happy Hanukkah” or put up a Menorah in my home! If you refuse to say “Merry Christmas” because it offends you, then I suppose you don’t have a Christmas tree in your home. I finish with this, say what you want as long it’s wishing someone well and happiness, or better yet, don’t say anything if your not sure. Just remember what Christmas really is. The word “Christmas” should not offend anyone. If your not Christian, then you probably shouldn’t say it or celebrate it! Hanukkah or Kwanzaa don’t offend me, I don’t celebrate it, but I’m not offended by it either. So, Merry Christmas to my fellow Christian families and Happy Holiday to everyone else who happens to celebrate a holy day during the season and Season’s Greetings to non-holy day celebrators.

  77. Gary

    This blogger made some very good points, but if I worked at a place where my boss told me that I had to say “Happy Holidays” to be PC, I would probably risk my job saying, “Merry Christmas” any way. If someone wishes me a heartfelt “Happy Hannakuh” or “Happy Ramadan,” I wouldn’t be offended. I would simply say thank you, and respond with an equally heartfelt “Merry Christmas. Here’s a link to an interesting lobg written by actor Ben Stein, who is of the Jewish faith. http://www.benstein.com/121805xmas.html So … I’m wishing you all a heartfelt and friendly Merry Christmas!
    http://www.benstein.com/121805xmas.html

  78. Josh

    > “Christ has been taken out of Christmas by the companies that have their products made in atheist China.”

    This is a statement fairly ignorant of China, and of communism. First, the original Marx statement that “religion is the opiate of the masses” has been grossly misinterpretted based only on a modern context, and ignores that given the historical context an opiate was the most effective means of reducing pain and other suffering. And in the same regard, religion – the statement basically says that religion is a soothing element for the masses, not a destructive drug. Both the USSR and the PRC opposed religion not because of the philosophies of communism but because as politically organized authoritarian regimes (since communism is an economic rather than political model – it is possible to have democratic communism) they resented competing authorities (i.e. religious authorities). If religious authorities have some power over the people then it means they are in competition against the governmental authorities. It also ignores the fact that while the government may be anti-theistic (it isn’t that they aren’t religious, but rather that they oppose religions – there is a difference) the people by and large are not. China is one of the fastest growing christian populations, has a large muslim population, and still has a large population of people practicing the various traditional chinese beliefs.

    “Many of us have felt that Christmas, and, frankly, Christianity in general, have been under attack in the general culture for some time.”

    When christianity is the religion of 99% of the lawmakers in federal government, and represents over 70% of the general population it is not physically possible for them to be oppressed. What christians like you are experiencing is the same thing that all priviledge classes experience when efforts for equality is pushed for – equal footing. Your complaints are the exact same complaints that the white male voiced when employers were stuck having to actually give equal consideration for similarly qualified females and minorities, and just as ridiculous. This is a country where there are laws on the books in many jurisdictions that prevent athiests from running for public office, first ammendment be damned. This is a country where athiests can’t put up billboards expressing their beliefs, while christian signs are prevelent everywhere. You don’t know anything about what it looks like to actually have oppression for your beliefs – you are so caught up in fear that you might not know exclusive priviledge that you are blind to the people who enjoy no priviledge at all

  79. @Shawna – If “the beast” coming is all part and parcel of the whole end-times prophecy (if you believe such a thing), then why are you trying to stop it? If you believe that tribulation is an inevitable and necessary part of “the end”, then why are you attempting to contradict your own scripture?

    Trying to wrest control of it just tells me that you’re less than happy with what’s supposedly to come. I never understood that. In the end, it’s supposed to be a good thing for Christians. Instead of worrying yourself sick over it, fighting and squabbling to somehow hold it back, why not enjoy your own life and let it go? If you think God is all-powerful, then he’s obviously powerful enough to set the dominoes in motion, no matter how you try to stop it.

    I don’t get why you insist upon toiling needlessly at something so futile (according to your own scripture).

  80. Rebecca Knapton

    Jeremiah 10 tells you to not put up a tree for it is Idol Worshiping! A heathen act! Christmas is a hoax! Have a Blessed Yule Folks!

  81. I’ve really been caught by surprise by the response to this post. It is something I wrote 3 years ago and until last week had been viewed about 150 times. In the last two days it has been viewed over 30,000 times. The vast majority of this discussion has been positive – even most of the posts that have been critical have at least been thoughtful. I fear that the discussion might be degenerating. Honestly, after 81 responses I just don’t think there is much new to say.

    I do say “Merry Christmas” to people. I also say “Happy Holidays.” I think the words of the greeting are not as important as the motivation of the heart from where they come. I think that is what Jesus and the prophets teach us – that while words are important, it is one’s heart and actions that really matter.

    My only regret about this post is that after three years of writing this blog, it has become far and away my most popular post. It was probably also the harshest post I’ve written. I’ve always wanted this blog to be a positive experience for all that read it. I’ll be closing the comments of the post soon, and I’ve only had to delete/edit two comments. I am always hopeful that what unites us is more powerful than the things that try to divide us.

    If you haven’t already, I encourage you to tweet at #BeChristThisChristmas to share positive experiences of how you are being the body of Christ this Christmas season. Also, check out this post https://fatpastor.wordpress.com/2011/11/30/be-christ-this-christmas/