A good friend of mine posted this on her Facebook status this morning:
“We can’t say Merry Christmas now we have to say Happy Holidays. We can’t call it a Christmas tree, now called a Holiday tree? Because it might offend someone. If you don’t like our “American Customs” & it offends you so much then just leave. They are called customs, we have our traditions. If you agree Please post this as your status. I AM A PROUD AMERICAN. MERRY CHRISTMAS & Decorate your CHRISTMAS TREE.”
I don’t get it, Jeannie. Why are people so angry when someone says “Happy Holidays” to them? It seems to me that if anyone says Happy anything to you, the correct response would be Thank You. I always thought Happy Holidays was a phrase designed to wish people good tidings (whatever their religious preference) through the New Year — meaning that “Holidays” is plural. I don’t quite understand why you’d jump down someone throat for it.
Maybe it hits me as mean and, frankly, stupid because I’m Jewish and don’t put up a Christmas tree. I also just sent out holiday cards that said Happy Holidays. Did she tear it into little pieces and stomp on it? Also the I AM A PROUD AMERICAN part bothers me. I consider myself A PROUD AMERICAN too. Aren’t non-Christians Americans too?
I thought of challenging her on it but you know how Facebook can be. This person is a dear friend of mine and my first thought is that she doesn’t really mean this. But I’m not so sure. Does she really think I’m un-American and should leave the country because I don’t have a Christmas tree?
I’m re-thinking this friendship.
And for those that would re-post this ugly message … All I can say is, honestly, people, don’t we have more important issues to be outraged over? 1219-10
The phrase “Happy Holiday(s)” has been around since the Victorian era when early Christmas postcards and cards had this greeting imprinted on them. Christmas music from the 1960’s uses the phrase with the song, “Happy Holiday” by Andy Williams being the notable example. So, I don’t think it is the actual greeting that has some people riled up.
At issue is the perception of a war being waged against a Christianity-based holiday. Wikipedia says it better than I can so I’ll quote directly:
Controversies have arisen regarding the celebration or acknowledgment of the Christmas Holiday (or the lack thereof) in government, media, advertising, retail, and various secular environments. The controversy also includes objections to policies that prohibit government or schools from forcing unwilling participants to take part in Christmas ceremonies. In the past, Christmas-related controversy was mainly restricted to concerns of a public focus on secular Christmas themes such as Santa Claus and gift-giving, rather than the birth of Jesus.
Modern-day controversy occurs mainly in Western countries such as the United States, Canada, and to a lesser extent the United Kingdom. This usually involves governments or corporations avoiding the day’s association with Christianity to be multiculturally sensitive. In recent decades in the United States, public, corporate, and the federal government mention of the term “Christmas” during the Christmas and holiday season has declined and been replaced with a generic term, usually “holiday” or “holidays,” to avoid referring to Christmas by name and/or to be inclusive of other end-of-year observances such as Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Popular non-religious aspects of Christmas, such as Christmas trees, lights, and decorating are still prominently showcased and recognized, but are vaguely associated with unspecified “holidays” rather than with Christmas. Also, several US chain retailers, such as Walmart, Macy’s and Sears, have experimented with greeting their customers with “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings” rather than with the “Merry Christmas”.
However, Ben Stein probably reflects the real opinion of the majority of people in regards to this issue….
I am a Jew and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish, and it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautifully lit-up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees.
I don’t feel threatened. I don’t feel discriminated against. That’s what they are — Christmas trees. It doesn’t bother me a bit when people say ‘Merry Christmas’ to me. I don’t think they’re slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. I shows that we’re all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year.
It doesn’t bother me one bit that there’s a manger scene on display at a key intersection at my beach house in Malibu. If people want a creche, fine. The menorah a few hundred yards away is fine, too. I do not like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don’t think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can’t find it in the Constitution and I don’t like it being shoved down my throat. Or maybe I can put it another way. Where did the idea come from that we should worship Nick and Jessica and aren’t allowed to worship God as we understand him? I guess that’s a sign that I’m getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where Nick and Jessica came from and where the America we used to know went to. http://www.snopes.com/politics/soapbox/confessions.asp