It is no longer safe to greet a friend or stranger with a festive holiday greeting for fear of offending them
Expressions of greetings and goodwill, such as Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, could be seasonal variations of standard diplomatic platitudes. The confusion over whether to say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays usually begins after Thanksgiving, when retailers put away the turkeys wearing pilgrim caps and instead put up their wreaths.
Some companies have gone so far as to neuter holiday celebrations that they ask people to say Happy holidays versus Merry Christmas/Eid Mubarak/Deepavali or any other religion-based festival. It is worth noting that few people are offended by festive greetings, be it happy holidays or Merry Christmas. Many people who observe Christmas in their homes disagree with what they say at work or school.
North Americans prefer to come up with neutral holiday greetings; in contrast, Britons prefer to keep Christmas open for all. Christmas is always mired in some controversy or other. Happy Holidays is an especially Trumpian flashpoint – it is unconventional, it is
multicultural, it is driven by a sensibility toward others who, you know, actually do not celebrate Happy Christmas.
We rarely wish others happy holidays at Christmas as we might have done if the Holy Day in question were simply December 25, Jesus Christ’s day of birth. Granted, it is more inclusive for those celebrating other traditions to wish people to enjoy the holidays.
We shouldn’t be insulted by the fact that someone didn’t say Have a Super Solstice; or that they took the safe path and said Happy Holidays. Holding on to both expressions is because of their pleasing sounds. Some Christian leaders advocated for a more inclusive phrase, believing imposing people wish others a happy Christmas is simply another form of political correctness.
Some think Christmas is too commercial; others believe that Christmas is too religious – or not religious enough. A Public Religion Research survey conducted in the United States found that 67% of Republicans did not think businesses should abandon their “Merry Christmas” greetings in favour of “Happy Holidays”; just 30% of Democrats felt the same way.
Greeting a fellow mate or stranger with a warm festive greeting has become political and taking away the true message and spirit of the holidays. Whether you say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays, they are better than being greeted with the words Bah humbug.