I’m a fan of Christmas. I am a Christian and I celebrate the holiday as a commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ, who I believe is the Son of God. Even though I joyfully celebrate Christmas, I recognize that not everyone does. For that reason, I’m not concerned in the least about the “Happy Holidays” controversy that erupts every year.


Every year there is a wave of indignant posts on social media where people denounce the phrase “Happy Holidays” as an assault on the Christian message of Christmas. People often take the greeting, as well as many other trivial matters such as a redesign of the Starbucks holiday coffee cup, as attacks on the Christian religion and react with anger and hostility.


Christmas greetings even became a political issue when Donald Trump vowed last year, “If I become president, we’re gonna [sic] be saying ‘Merry Christmas’ at every store … You can leave happy holidays at the corner.”


I’m not offended when someone tells me “Happy Holidays.” Christmas is a holiday and is included in that greeting. The phrase doesn’t exclude Christmas. Rather it includes New Year’s Day, Hanukah, Kwanzaa and probably even Festivus. The phrase is simply a recognition that there are other holidays that occur within the December time frame and bundles them into one greeting. It also has the advantage of being easier to say than “Happy Merry Christmahanakwanzika.” Stores often use “Happy Holidays” because not all their customers celebrate Christmas and it is poor marketing to alienate and offend your customers.


More and more, the flap over saying “Happy Holidays” seems to be a snowflake issue. By that, I don’t mean a winter precipitation problem, but an issue similar to the liberal faux outrages by those sensitive souls derided as “snowflakes.” These universally offended types find something to be outraged about in everything and it seems that many conservatives are taking a cue from this behavior on several issues. Christmas is one example.


Why do conservative Christians feel offended when some people choose not to say “Merry Christmas?” Christianity is a voluntary religion. People have to choose to accept Christ. Belief in Christ and repentance cannot be forced. Isn’t it equally futile to try to force people to pay homage to Christ by saying “Merry Christmas” when they don’t want to?


The United States has freedom of religion. People should be free to celebrate and say, “Merry Christmas,” but they should also be equally free to say “Happy Holidays.” The government has no constitutional role in determining appropriate holiday greetings.


There is a real war on Christmas in some quarters. Bans on nativity scenes, Christmas trees and banning “Merry Christmas” are clearly wrong and, to use the liberal phrase, intolerant. There are attempts by some to turn Christmas into a “winter break.” These attempts should be resisted and haven’t been widespread for the most part. How many of us have personally been involved in such an attack on Christmas? Not me. I’ve only read of them in the outrage media.


Saying “Happy Holidays” should not be considered an attempt to excise religion from the public square. The word “holiday” is actually derived from the Old English word for “holy day.” When someone wishes you “Happy Holidays,” they are actually telling you to have a good holy day. Christmas, along with Easter Sunday, is one of the most holy of holy days for Christians.


To take the matter a step further, even the word “X-mas” is not an attack on Christmas. The “x” is not crossing “Christ” out of Christmas, according to students of the Greek language and theology. The “x” is actually shorthand for a Greek word meaning “Christ” that starts with the Greek letter “Chi,” which looks the same as our “x.” Far from being a modern invention, the shorthand has been in use for over a thousand years.


For snowflakes who do get hot and bothered when someone tells them “Happy Holidays,” there is a simple solution. My response when someone gives me the controversial phrase is to give them a big smile and say, “Merry Christmas” in a friendly way. Often they’ll respond back with “Merry Christmas” as well. This technique even worked before Trump won the election.


Don’t be a snowflake. Let’s focus on important issues and not trivialities.


Originally published on The Resurgent

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  1. Gary L Thompson 3 years ago

    Basically, I agree. There is a holiday season from Thanksgiving through Epiphany, so there’s no harm in having a greeting in recognizing it (and undoubtedly the basic purpose of Irving Berlin in writing “Happy Holidays” for the movie Holiday Inn).

    There’s a simply way of exposing the stupidity of trying to use Happy Holidays as a replacement of Merry Christmas. If you use it that way for Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Advent Sunday, St. Nicholas Day, Hanukkah, Boxing Day, Yuletide, New Year’s Eve or Twelfth Night–does anyone know what you’re even talking about in trying to use Happy Holidays as a synonym for any of these other holidays (including Festivus)? So why single out Christmas, that’s simply foolish (and yes, especially since holiday is just a derivative of holy day, so it’s just highlighting Christmas as one of the holiest days on the calendar)?

    About those “liberal faux outrages”. Dennis Prager had a troubling insight on that regarding the left: ” If you don’t fight real evil, you fight make-believe evil. And here is another rule: If you don’t fight evil, you fight those who do fight evil. People who don’t fight evil hate those who do fight evil.”

    Now whether Christmas should be celebrated has been hot controversy over the whole A.D. era, and in American history in particular (in fact, Charles Dickens’ “Christmas Carol” proved to be a key battering ram in overcoming the Scrooges and finally getting Christmas officially recognized as a holiday in President Rutherford B. Hayes’ administration). It is best to leave all the aforementioned holidays, including Christmas itself, under the freedom of Romans 14. However, I would make an exception for Kwanzaa. The problem with that holiday is in its very conception, it has much the same purpose King Jeroboam I had in making up his own feast days and sacred places to replace the Mosaic-ordained feasts at the altar in Jerusalem. Christmas observation may have been an issue of controversy between well-meaning saints throughoout the ages–but I think they would all agree, including Paul the Apostle himself, that a celebration devised for the express purpose of diverting attention away from what Christmas is supposed to symbolize is just plain wrong.

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