christmasEvery December the same dilemma presents itself on whether one should say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays.” Depending on what a person celebrates, their opinion towards saying “Merry Christmas” varies.

“Merry Christmas” should not have to be replaced by “Happy Holidays” because, the holiday is secular, nationally recognized and a greeting needs to be left to choice.

In search of a politically correct society, Americans are replacing the phrase “Merry Christmas” with “Happy Holidays.” The United States declares 12 national holidays, including Christmas, celebrated Dec. 25. Christmas became nationally recognized in 1870. Christmas’s origins come from Christianity but through wide spread celebration became a nationally recognized holiday.

Now, the fear of offending those who are not Christian creates the need for an alternative greeting to Merry Christmas. But, celebrating Christmas includes gift giving  and the belief in Santa Claus, not just going to church and celebrating a religion. Celebrating the non-religious aspects of the holiday makes it acceptable to wish someone a “Merry Christmas.”

Berlin Irving, a Jewish American, wrote the Christmas classic, White Christmas, not as a celebration of a holy day, but to celebrate a nationally recognized holiday, proving that non-Christians have the ability to celebrate Christmas. Wishing someone a “Merry Christmas”  is not meant to be malicious to those who do not celebrate Christmas, it simply acknowledges a holiday in the United States. Removing the acceptability of the greeting is not accepting the national holiday.

The idea that saying “Happy Holidays,” is the best option, stems from the newfound want in society not to offend those who hold different opinions. Saying, “Merry Christmas,” does not carry an offensive intent, because to those who celebrate Christmas, the greeting suggests kindness. How others receive this greeting varies; however, one thing remains the same, a kind intent. One can not control how others receive a message, but letting others reactions to a greeting dictate your choices negates the freedoms guaranteed in the United States Constitution.

The constitution guarantees freedom of, and from, religion in the First Amendment. The freedom grants the right to wish “Season’s Greetings” as one may please. The replacement of  “Merry Christmas” is tied to several other transitions, such as the change from Christmas Break to Winter Break along with office Christmas parties changed to holiday party. Taking away the appropriateness of “Merry Christmas” in society creates a limitation that does not need to be placed. “Happy Holidays” while all inclusive, limits society to only that greeting, out of fear of offense to others.  

The view of Christmas as strictly religious leads to groups of people unlikely acknowledging it if they do not conform to that religion. According to Dennis Prager, of PragerU, supporting “Happy Holidays” wages a war on Christmas along with the religious tendencies of the United States. The need to replace Christmas, which does not strictly represent a religious holiday, suggests the want of society to create a change in how religion plays a role in the culture of the United States. The debate does not need to be placed on Christmas, not when, to many, it simply represents a time to be with loved ones.

The choice on how to wish a holiday greeting belongs to the people. Suggesting that a blanket statement, such as “Happy Holidays,” creates the most inclusive option is false. The greeting simply offers a single way to express holiday cheer. Allowing the acceptance of  “Merry Christmas” also allows for other specific greetings, such as, “Happy Chanukkah” or “Happy Kwanza.” Accepting “Merry Christmas,” leads to the most inclusive option. 

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By Kyla McCrary

Hey! I'm Kyla McCrary, I am the editor in chief for Boone Pubs and a Boone cheerleader. I love to get lost in a good book and cry during cheesy movies. I get through the day with an abundant amount of candy and iced coffee.

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