Merry Christmas vs Happy Holidays – Why Do You Say It?

Merry Christmas vs Happy Holidays -

I am Jewish, but I have always LOVED Christmas and the whole Christmas season. And yes, I do consider it the “Christmas season.” I love the feelings, the songs, the lights, the trees, the stockings, the traditions… I love it all.

Now, that doesn’t take away the fact that I also LOVE Chanukkah and my Judaism. I just also love Christmas.

That being said, when I am out and about (any time after Thanksgiving… I refuse to say it before then), I will wish people a “Happy holidays!” I don’t just say it, though. I actually mean it. It comes from my heart. I truly want them to have the best of holidays.

I know that there has been a lot of discussion in recent years about saying “Happy holidays” or “Merry Christmas.” I personally say “Happy holidays” because I enjoy them all. I don’t know the background of the stranger I am conversing with, so I stick with a saying that could fit anyone. If I know the person, I would tailor my well-wishes to their particular holiday. My wishing someone a “Merry Christmas” doesn’t make me Christian. It (hopefully) makes me a considerate person.

If someone wishes me a Merry Christmas, I give the biggest, more sincere smile and wish them the same in return. And I mean it. I don’t take offense because I don’t celebrate it, and I don’t make a big deal about it. I just honor their kindness in wishing me well, and I happily return the favor.

The thing I don’t like or appreciate is when others have to get on their soap box about it. Let me paint a picture.

I am at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and we have just had wonderful service from a cashier (no surprise there… I love BBB’s customer service). As we are ending the transaction, I lean in and say “Thank you so much. HAPPY HOLIDAYS!” My voice changed, my tone changed, my eyebrows raised. I meant it.

Then the older lady behind me in line leans in and says, “And Merry Christmas!” in a voice that reminded me of being chastised when I was doing something naughty. My wonderful mood turned sour. Tim escorted me away quickly as I muttered under my breath something like “I’m Jewish, and I choose to say ‘Happy holidays’ to include everyone. I love Christmas too, but…” (and then I was too far out of the store and stopped talking).

It really made me think about this issue. Since when is it a problem if I say “Happy holidays” to someone? Can’t I say what I want, as long as the intent is there? As I said earlier, I have absolutely no problem in other well-wishes, and I will return the favor if it is appropriate. Why did that woman have to correct me for something that honestly needed no correcting?! I know why. In the past year as a Mom of Multiples, I’ve learned that it’s because people think they know everything and love getting all up in your business.

Well, ma’am, I do wish you a very Merry Christmas, but butt out of my business, please!


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