Mike Reynolds digs deep into the fabricated war, and tells us what is behind the phrase “Happy Holidays.”
On October 24 I saw my first IT’S MERRY CHRISTMAS NOT HAPPY HOLIDAYS! image shared over on the Facebook. It’s an image seen every year on all the social media sites I’m a part of and it’s shared with vigour, and very often with many exclamation marks.
The image gets shared every year because if you haven’t hard: there’s a war on Christmas going on right now.
Where all the war is being fought I’m not too sure. I’ve seen some suggest it’s happening on public transportation where bus drivers are saying “happy holidays” to travellers. Others have suggested that banning nativity scenes from courthouse lawns is where the battle is being waged. Many television commercials selling things that are “obviously Christmas-related,” also have turned to “happy holidays.” But mostly, this war seems to be taking place in the hearts of every individual who hears the words happy holidays when they expect to hear Merry Christmas.
The thing about the war on Christmas though is that in no way in any sense of the word war is there a war on Christmas. It’s bizarre that this discussion seems to start up every year either days before or after Remembrance Day in Canada and Veterans Day in the United States. Those people, they fought in wars. People who decide to make a big deal out of someone else taking the word Christmas out of a pleasant greeting, are idiots if they think their freedoms are being taken away because of it.
Christmas also isn’t going anywhere no matter how many people call it a holiday instead of Christmas
Since people have started using the term happy holidays (which was perhaps the same year people started using Merry Christmas), this Christian holiday has continued to grow. The word Christmas has strangely not been forgotten.
Last year in Canada, surprise, surprise, spending was up at Christmas again, suggesting that in now way whatsoever was Christmas in danger of existinction. This year I suspect, although I hold precisely zero degrees in economics, that spending will be up again for gifts distributed on December 25.
So, given the word war doesn’t apply to a situation in which someone uses an alternative word to describe a celebratory holiday, and given that if anything, the holiday people feel is being maligned continues to grow, the rage that some people have for the term happy holidays has to stop.
Christians, December isn’t ours. We’ve literally paid zero dollars to own this month
Being exclusive seems a strange way to celebrate a joyous occasion.
I am a Christian. In fact, I’m a Catholic Christian and while I do like to say Merry Christmas because that’s what I celebrate, it seems a stretch to be offended by someone saying “happy holidays,” in and around the date of December 25. I’m not crazy enough to think that Christmas is the only thing that takes place in December worth celebrating or that under any circumstances should the billions of people on earth who don’t celebrate Christians holidays should be obligated to participate.
A quick scan of the internet thing brings up these other December observances:
Advent – November 30, 2014 – December 24, 2014
Hanukkah – Evening of December 16, 2014 through Evening of December 24, 2014
Human Rights Week – December 10-17
Kwanzaa – Week of December 26, 2014 – January 1, 2015
Lager Beer Week – Second Week of December
World AIDS Day – December 1
Giving Tuesday – December 2, 2014 (Tuesday after Thanksgiving)
International Day of Persons with Disabilities – December 3
Day of the Ninja – December 5
St. Nicholas Day – December 6
Pretend to Be a Time Traveler Day – December 8
National Lager Day – December 10
Ice Cream and Violins Day – December 13
International Shareware Day – December 13, 2014 (Second Saturday in December)
Cat Herders Day – December 15
Zionism Day – December 16
First Day of Winter/Winter Solstice – December 21, 2014 (movable day)
Festivus – December 23
Christmas Eve – December 24
National Egg Nog Day – December 24
Christmas – December 25
Boxing Day – December 26
National Bicarbonate of Soda Day (Baking Soda) – December 30
Make Up Your Mind Day – December 31
Some of those look really, really fun. Cat Herders day for one looks amazing. Others look like observances I’d rather not mess with. Would you tell a ninja to say Merry Christmas instead of happy holidays?
No religion has purchased domain over any day of the calendar year. December 25 does not belong to Christians so from that very simple point of view, there is no way that “IT’S MERRY CHRISTMAS NOT HAPPY HOLIDAYS!” It seems to me that there is no way.
Look, I get it that it’s very specifically Christmas that generates so much revenue for stores at this time of year. I get that Scrooged, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Story and on and on are Christmas movies. But, let’s not get too worked up that we’re not the only ones who have something to celebrate in the month of December.
The other thing I like about Christmas is the music. Like Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow, Silver Bells and White Christmas—all classics that have gained popularity over the years. And all of course written by Jewish songwriters. Thanks for helping make the holidays more memorable, now call it Christmas!
I’d rather not get too worked up about pushing others to shout the name of our Christian holiday while the Catholic Church still struggles to represent pretty much anything I believe. I’ve certainly taken offence to members of the Church suggesting homosexuality is wrong. I’ve been upset that Church officials have suggested there’s no place in heaven for my un-baptized children. I take offence that there are no women in positions of power in the Catholic church. It’s offensive the Church tries to dictate what a woman should and should not do with her body. I think I could come up with a list of one or two thousand things I find more offensive in the doctrine of some of the Christian faith than I do with someone smiling at me and wishing me a pleasant day.
Joy, which also happens to be something not owned exclusively by one religion, is a marvelous thing when spread properly. So is peace. And happiness.
Let’s not get carried away with what term people use around December 25. The people yelling “It’s Merry Christmas, not happy holidays!” can surely agree that the time of year is one with a purpose of spreading joy and maybe helping others less fortunate. I love the Christmas season because our kids go crazy with excitement. They love the idea of raising money to buy toys for kids who might otherwise not get any. I love nodding to people I don’t know when I see them walking down the streets with their red coffee cups. I love parades and candy canes. I love a whole lot of the season.
When someone says “happy holidays,” they aren’t saying “screw you Christian,” they’re saying “happy holidays.” They’re being nice and being inclusive. Be happy people. They’re being a whole lot of things I think of when I think of Christmas.
So, is there a war?
Photo: Flickr/Virginia State Parks
Originally appeared on Puzzling Posts.