Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?

It's a debate that now seems to arise every year around this time: Should people use the term "Merry Christmas" or something more generic such as "Happy Holidays" or "Season's Greetings"?

The latter has become popular due to the variety of religious holidays taking place this season, but those who say there is a "War on Christmas" have rallied in recent years, saying people who insist on "Happy Holidays" are being too politically correct. 

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Patch reader Kim Sullivan-Hoffman said that happy holidays and season's greetings covers the full spectrum of holidays and people who celebrate during the winter season.

"Happy Holidays and Season's Greetings covers all bases including New Years and what ever religious celebration you or the person you are wishing well may celebrate," she said.

"Use whatever you want or all," said another Patch reader, Rebecca O'Newell. "Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah are for specific holidays. The others for the season in general. It's a non Issue or should be!"
Others were adamant about being specific with the holiday that they celebrate.

"If people say happy holidays to me, I tell them "you can wish me a Merry Christmas," Suzanna DeSeve Closs said. 

Which do you prefer? Tell us in the comments section below.

Carisa Giardino contributed to this article.

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Kasey December 14, 2012 at 09:35 AM
Unless it is clearly evident, or I am aware that someone does not celebrate Christmas, in my family that is what we say. We use a holiday tone and it is as simple as that.
Eddie December 14, 2012 at 09:57 AM
I wish folks a Merry Christmas. I mail Christmas cards. I'm proud to be Catholic. To the extent possible, I avoid doing business with firms who send me "Holiday Greetings."
Jack December 14, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Its always been Merry Christmas. The secularists and angry 1960's type hippy liberals are responsible for the destruction of our traditional American culture. These are the same people running the public school system brainwashing our kids. Its time for the school board to convene an emergency budget vote to reduce the school budget and property taxes so that homeowners can make repairs to their damaged homes.
Ellen A. December 15, 2012 at 11:09 PM
I agree with Kasey. If it is obvious that someone would not be celebrating Christmas than Happy Holidays is better because it is a season of celebration which everyone is aware.
Tonto Hertzberg December 16, 2012 at 12:18 AM
Its Christmas. If they aint Christian tell them " Have a nice day" All this "holiday" crap is total bullshit made up by merchants. I particulary enjoy wishing the customer service folks on the phone a 'Merry Christmas" since most of them hate anyone that IS Christian.
Carly December 16, 2012 at 10:46 AM
Merry Christmas to all and to all a ood night.
Mr Dunes December 16, 2012 at 02:19 PM
I'm not sure that if Jesus was alive he'd want people equating his name with Black Friday. His birthday was one day, like everyone elses. On Christmas I wish people a Merry Christmas, On Chanukah, I wish People a Happy Chanukah, New Years a Happy New Year, Boxing Day, Kwanza, and so on and so on. If it's a day where nothing falls on that day, I say Happy Holidays. What the hell is wrong with that TELL me.
Barbara December 17, 2012 at 08:40 AM
It's Christmas, it's always been Christmas.
Mark December 17, 2012 at 11:25 AM
Eddie, It is a good thing that you are proud to be Catholic, just as I am proud to be Jewish. If you wished me a Merry Christmas my response would be, the same to you. I would not be rude and correct you. I think the spirit of the discussion is that the entire world is not Catholic and so as not to offend any, a Season's Greeting or Happy Holidays works for everyone.. Anyway, Merry Christmas to you and your family.
Eddie December 17, 2012 at 12:45 PM
Would you truly be offended, Mark, if I wished you a Merry Christmas? I trust you would not be. You could certainly send me Happy Chanukah blessings and I would truly appreciate your well wishes. After all, without you Jews, I wouldn't have been a Catholic.
Tonto Hertzberg December 17, 2012 at 12:53 PM
There was NO " Holiday Season" ever........until the greedy merchants INVENTED it. It is Christmas time and any other "holiday" is not related to the season.
Mark December 17, 2012 at 01:47 PM
Eddie, If you read my comment I said I would not be offended if you wished me Merry Christmas, as I wished that to you and your family. Ken, What about Hanukah, Kwanza, etc. They are ALL holidays.!!!
Frank McQuade December 18, 2012 at 10:22 AM
The question got me thinking. I did not have the time for a short response, so I wrote a long response. You’ve got Hanukkah all wrong Hanukkah is the Jewish “feast of lights” commemorating the deliverance of the Temple in Jerusalem from foreign invaders in the second century B.C. Hanukkah is found scripturally in the two books of Maccabees. In history, Hanukkah derives from the Jewish liberation and rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem form the Seleucid Syrian-Greeks. Antiochus IV, the Syro-Greek emperor, seized the Temple in Jerusalem and made it into a temple dedicated to Zeus. Antiochus made Judaism punishable by law. He forced Jews to bow down before idols and to eat pork. Mattathias, the high priest refused to comply and sparked a resistance. With his sons, the Maccabees, he organized a guerilla campaign which eventually retook Jerusalem and the temple in 165 BC. Menorah lamps were to be lit for eight days to “purify” the desecrated temple, but the war-ravaged community only had a day’s supply. However, this supply lasted miraculously and burned for eight days. Hanukkah’s proximity to Christmas makes it a popular alternative to Christmas for Jewish people. Hanukkah becomes “Christmas-like” for its gift-giving. Like Christmas, there are religious and historical trappings as well as popular secular trappings. I believe the modern secular observance of Hanukkah clouds its religious meaning. Of more concern to me, efforts towards “equality” by “Happy Holidays” has come at Christmas’s expense. While not necessarily the deliberate goal of promoters of Hannukkah as a “Jewish Christmas”, “Happy Holidays” feed into the secularization of the Christmas season. The tree becomes the Christian Christmas symbol. Christmas is co-opted as a “Winter Fest.” People timidly offer “Happy holidays,” in an effort not to offend. The “holiday season” becomes a secular blur. Kwanzaa further clouds by sqeezing into the “competition.” I know all about Christmas becoming a materialistic spending spree. God knows I love the wassail bowl and the yule log, the lights and yes, the gift-giving and other secular trappings of Christmas. But without religious meaning, December is just a cold, dark month. But that’s for Christians to address. I believe that in trying to look like Christmas, Hanukkah lost its impact. A meaningful story of religious fervor evolves to candles and gift giving. In these days while Israel is surrounded by powerful enemies who want to do it wrong, and Jews are subject to growing antagonism both in the U.S and in Europe, the story of the Maccabees should be a parable of the ages. I wish the Maccabees’ story came across with the impact it has in Scripture rather than melting in the way of secular Hanukkah observance. Hanukkah can be a celebration of resistance and liberation in the face powerful antagonists and incredible odds. It should be a timeless saga of national resistance of a foreign cultural and political oppression. It is a parable for the day, and a clarion call to remember that Israel is still on the precipice of extinction by enemies bent on its destruction. Keep Christ in Christmas. Keep Maccabees in Hannukah.


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