Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays

Do we really need to do this perennial War on Christmas thing?

It’s that time of year again. We’re eating way too much. There are those commercials featuring cars sporting red bows. We’re running from one store to the next trying to find the perfect gift.

The checkout clerk in some of those stores will wish you “Merry Christmas.” In other stores, you’ll be sent on your way with “Happy Holidays.” And with the predictability of the return of the Hess truck, there will be some in the Christian community, egged on by Fox News' perennial "War on Christmas" segments, who register their outrage over the latter seasonal greeting.

I just don’t get the need for the annual Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays battle. Why are some so impassioned over this? Is this a hill really worth dying on? Are we who are Christians so insecure that we are driven to force everyone to recognize our holiday and ours alone? Is hearing a sales clerk wish us “Happy Holidays” really so offensive?

It is often argued that “Jesus is the reason for the season;” therefore, we must say this time of year is Christmas, not merely a holiday season.  But as I drag those seven bags of indulgent consumerism out of the mall, is Jesus really the reason for that? If not, why then should I demand that His name be invoked by the clerk while assisting me with my purchases?

Don’t mishear me. I’m quite alright with sales clerks wishing me “Merry Christmas.” But I’m no more or less alright when they kindly wish me “Happy Holidays.”

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David Brugger December 01, 2012 at 01:17 PM
The war on christmas is brought to you by Fox News and the right wing using religion to divide the American public. It is part of the fear, hate and division of America that generates audiences and profits for Empire Murdock. Reject him and his forces for evil and you win the Christmas Spirit.
Tom Bennett December 01, 2012 at 02:48 PM
Brilliant observation ! But you forgot Bush . George must have had a hand in this devide as well . Merry Christmas anyway .
Inga Williams December 01, 2012 at 03:03 PM
Its always been christmas. i dont know why america has to change everything to please cultures and other religions. No other country is willing to give their traditions away or make them culture friendly. i am american but family is from another country. i am a christian with many friends of different lifestyles
Lenny December 04, 2012 at 01:50 AM
I will always say "Merry Christmas". Happy Holidays just sounds too cheap and generic. If you are offended by Merry Christmas, then you have much bigger problems that need to be addressed by professional help. If somebody said "Happy Hanukkah" to me even though I am not Jewish, I would feel complimented knowing that the person who said it took the time to include thinking of me as part of their respective holiday.
Dan McKinney December 04, 2012 at 01:14 PM
Nothing wrong with "Merry Christmas", but the truth is that "the season" wraps around more holidays than just Christmas. Hanukah, Kwanza, Mawlid-al-Nabi, Martin Luther King Day, Eid al-Adha, Diwali, Yalda, Zoyal, Pancha Ganpati (to name a few) are all winter season festivals and holidays, So, if you want to wish someone "Merry Christmas" go ahead! And if you want to include people other than Christians, say "Happy Holidays!" No big deal. Fox just needs SOMETHING to talk about on a slow news day.
Gramma24 December 06, 2012 at 08:51 PM
Hey, Joe, you said it wrong....It's 'barack HOOOOOOSSSEEEEINNNNN obama'......get it right in your bigoted little mind. Now go back to your corner and keep chanting 'FOX is right, FOX is right' Let's not forget our current President is also personally running around the country stealing all the Baby Jesus' out of the manger scenes as well......
Jude December 06, 2012 at 09:44 PM
Let me remind all of you that "our" christmas started in the Middle Ages as a "pagan" holiday and that no one knows when Christ was born. Therefore, we made up the entire concept of Christmas. This is nothing but a rampant example of raw consumerism. It's gotten so bad, that they now play Christmas carols starting around Halloween and all the "Christmas" or should i say "pagan" spirit is gone by the time we actually get to December 25. Not to mention the people fighting in stores over Black Friday and over thinly disguised reasons to shop. Nothing Christ-like about them either.
Jude December 06, 2012 at 09:46 PM
LOL. With you Dan McKinney. Just one thing, Martin Luther King Day is in January.
Jaime December 07, 2012 at 08:56 PM
The winter solstice was practiced long before the Middle Ages. The Romans called it Saturnalia. When the Empire converted to Christianity the Pope declared the Holiday to be Christ's birthday. The official name for the holiday of December 25 is CHRISTMAS, not anything else. If you have a problem with this take it up with US Grant (he declared it). Look on your calendars, the day is called Christmas.
Maynard G Krebs December 08, 2012 at 11:09 PM
You think you're a Christian? Drop the hatred of anyone who disagrees with you. Jesus was a liberal.
Maynard G Krebs December 09, 2012 at 04:42 PM
Yes, I judge your so-called Christianity. You want to call yourself a Christian, try living like one. You and your right-wing friends are like the Taliban without the beheadings---yet. Happy holidays!
Maynard G Krebs December 09, 2012 at 05:56 PM
I'm proud of my liberal stripes. Jesus entered the temple and overturned the tables of the moneychangers. That's about as anti-establishment as you can get. And Jesus didnt write the Ten Commandments. Try reading your Bible - and understanding what it means. And it's Mr Krebs to you.
Leslie December 09, 2012 at 06:14 PM
MGK...that was NOT the reason Jesus overturned the moneychanger tables. I think YOU should re-read that portion of the Bible. It had nothing to do with anti-establishment. It was about disrespect and disgrace. Further, insofar as the initial topic is concerned, I don't get my panties in a wad over "Happy Holidays" ... Cmas isn't the ONLY holiday during the season...there are others you know. And quite frankly instead of blaming Bush (as someone did here), perhaps you need to go wayyyy back to the 30's or maybe even earlier where "Happy Holidays" was a big part of Cmas music because it was alliterative and easier to incorporate into some lyrics than "Merry Christmas" Goodness, if this is all people are worried about then perhaps they should catch up on the real issues going on in this world. PS: I'm not a liberal. lol
Maynard G Krebs December 09, 2012 at 06:38 PM
From Wikipedia: Maynard's middle name is Walter. Named for his aunt, the "G" is silent, he would explain.
Maynard G Krebs December 09, 2012 at 11:21 PM
There's no war on religion. That's something Fox so-called News & the Rush Bimbo crowd gin up to get ratings. It's the law of the land that you can't put up religious displays on public property. You can't use my tax dollars to advertise your religion, which I don't like precisely because of people like you. I do, however, enjoy pushing your buttons. Happy Hannukah!
Dan McKinney December 10, 2012 at 01:48 PM
December, January - what's the difference? (And don't say "about 30 days...")
Dan McKinney December 10, 2012 at 01:49 PM
Mr. Krebs, If you accept the tenet that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are represent one and the same deity, then yes, Jesus DID write the 10 commandments.
Craig Weidman December 10, 2012 at 01:52 PM
As I read the scriptures through their historically rooted context, I see myriad of examples of Jesus (as well as the directives and correctives of the Father and activity of the Holy Spirit) being both liberal and conservative. It seems to me that Jesus wouldn't be a Democrat or Republican, a Fox News loyalist or an MSNBC loyalist. Nor do I think he would take offense if his checkout clerk said, "Happy Holidays" or "Merry Christmas." Jesus transcended (and transcends) the labels, divides, cultural tribalism, and other polarities that pull us apart and against each other. And he wants to transform us who are his followers to respect, love, and live peaceably with those whose take on the world may be different than ours.
Dan McKinney December 10, 2012 at 01:57 PM
People complain because they see that state sponsoring Christian displays. And the basis for their objection is that pesky liberal document called "the Constitution". If it had nothing to say on the subject, the courts wouldn't even consider any of this stuff. But because the constitution bans state-sponsored religion, citizens are within their rights to object to state-sponsored religious displays. So, blame the constitution of the United States for this "war on Christmas!" The so-called war is not anti-Christian; it's ant-governement-sponsored-religion. And why do those on the right who complain so bitterly about overeaching government involvement feel that it's OK to use tax dollars for religious displays? Never quite understood that. And by the way, the same folks would complain if the state sponsored Muslim or Hindu devotional displays, too. Which is generally doesn't do.
Dan McKinney December 10, 2012 at 01:58 PM
And Maynard - shave off that ridiculous goatee! It's not 1959 any more!!
Al Fundo December 10, 2012 at 02:02 PM
wouldn't the checkout clerk just say happy birthday to Jesus? Happy Saturnalia everyone!
Salisbury Resident December 10, 2012 at 03:03 PM
The check out clerks should say Happy Holidays, because both Christmas and Hanukkah are celebrated at this time. How does the clerk know who to wish Merry Christmas to or Happy Hanukkah to? Better and easier to simply say "Happy Holidays!" What's the fuss? The government should not be favoring ANY religion due to the separation of church state issue. Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah is a religious greeting, so save it for your friends, family, and fellow church/temple goers. Personally, I think Jesus would be disgusted at this society's display of rampant greed and consumerism in his name anyway. If you're going to invoke his birthday in the mall (which educated people know is NOT really his birthday anyway) I think he'd be quite confused and want to have a talk with you about what it really means to be giving.


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