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What You're Really Saying When You Say 'Happy Holidays'

Offbeat  (tags: americans, bizarre, culture, ethics, funny, goodnews, interesting, off-beat, society, protection )

- 1878 days ago -
If the "War on Christmas" was a real thing, Neil deGrasse Tyson just won it with an etymology knowledge-bomb.

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Theodore Shayne (56)
Saturday December 29, 2012, 10:53 am
What should I say, "Happy Winter Solstice"? There's nothing holy about it but people sure look at you strange when you come out with it. LOL

Jerry B (128)
Saturday December 29, 2012, 10:54 am
Noted, I don't say Happy Holidays. I say Merry Christmas and I always will..thanks J.L.

pam w (139)
Saturday December 29, 2012, 10:58 am
Yes....regardless of whether or not the recipient of this wish is Christian....people surely do want to make that greeting about themselves, don't they? They're Christian and, by golly, they're going to impose it on you!

I'm not Christian and don't have any connection with your Christmas. Why wish me a merry one?

Why do Christians essentially "take control" of December, insisting that we ALL must join in their frivolity?

I wouldn't wish YOU a "MEANINGFUL EID".....why impose that Christian thing on the rest of us?

Think about it.

Jane K (10)
Saturday December 29, 2012, 11:01 am
Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas,Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Winter Solstice, Happy Hanukkah, what's the difference ? People are wishing you happy, so be happy and stop being paranoid about the "war on Christmas". It's a moronic idea people( read Fox faux news) bring up every year and we are still celebrating any way we wish. Get a grip and have a happy anything you want.

Roger Skinner (14)
Saturday December 29, 2012, 12:10 pm
While it is true that "Holiday" derived from "Holy Day", and is thus an indirect reference to "God", it is also true that the word no longer has that meaning and very few people give any thought to God when they use it. Sort of like how the word "gay" has lost its original meaning.

Christeen A (376)
Saturday December 29, 2012, 12:14 pm
Merry Christmas is my phrase.

James E (16)
Saturday December 29, 2012, 2:15 pm
Word meanings change over the years, so the use of the word holiday in the 21st Century is hardly considered to be ďholy dayĒ with purely religious meaning. The same is true for quite a number of words we use today. The word holiday is more commonly used today to describe vacation time, a break from work, or the commemoration of an event or person, or other celebrations. Keep in mind that Christmas ended up in its current place on the calendar to overlay pagan celebrations. It is really much ado about absurdities. Historically Jesus was not even born in December anyway. I do not celebrate Christmas, but rather the Winter Solstice. Someone wishing me Merry Christmas does not offend me, so why should they be offended if I say Happy Holidays or Happy Solstice? The only issue I have with Christmas is when my tax money is spent for strictly religious celebrations, related to a specific religion. Candles, special lights, mistletoe, wreaths, and other trappings go along with a wide variety of celebrations (pagan origins by the way), so I certainly donít object to those. Specifically Christian (or other religion), oriented displays and such should be paid for by the churches for that religion. I donít care if they put them on government property just pay the cost, lighting bills and such, with private funds, not public money, and include a sponsorship sign.

So Happy Holidays to all!

Sheila D (28)
Saturday December 29, 2012, 5:06 pm
"Happy Holidays" may not reference God, but it does encompass Christmas, New Year's, Epiphany, Hanukkah, the winter solstice, and any other holiday that may be celebrated throughout December and into the first part of January. Personally, I have no problem responding with "Merry Christmas" or "Happy New Year", but then I believe in looking at the positive side of the holidays.

reft h (66)
Saturday December 29, 2012, 11:21 pm
pam w. - if you are so offended by Christmas, I hope you do the right thing then and work through the holidays

reft h (66)
Saturday December 29, 2012, 11:26 pm
I'm not Chinese, but when my Chinese coworker goes around giving out moon cakes and wishing everyone a happy Chinese New Year, I accept it and celebrate along with her. I don't think she is being rude or forcing her beliefs on me, I welcome it with open arms. And I accepted the chocolate Buddha she gave me with good grace as well. I don't understand why anyone would be upset with someone wishing Merry Christmas, they are wishing them merriment, not sadness and bad luck. Why can't we just enjoy all the holidays without thinking that people are pressuring us and without getting upset for someone wishing us good times?

Past Member (0)
Sunday December 30, 2012, 12:30 am
Seasons Greetings to all, and a most Happy Festivus!

Nola g (5)
Sunday December 30, 2012, 3:03 am
Merry Christmas You filthy animal, & A happy new year (home alone)

Past Member (0)
Sunday December 30, 2012, 3:30 am
Please, everyone, ditch the alcohol this New Years Eve and go with an all Cannabis celebration. You'll save all of those brain cells while helping to mark the beginning of a new era. We are seeing a new dawn for the cannabis hemp plant. Let's kick off 2013 with that in mind. One thing for sure, your not going to wake up Jan 1 st with your head in the toilet, or in a hospital E.R.



JL A (282)
Sunday December 30, 2012, 7:25 am
So many different takes and perspectives! Thank you all (green stars headed where I can, but sorry James, Christeen, June, Sheila). A couple of questions came to me reading all you had to say:
If a gift is supposed to be more about the recipient than the giver, should the same be true of greetings and wishes such as discussed here? Is this an occasion for the Golden Rule or of the Platinum Rule (treating others as they wish to be treated which may differ from your choice)?

pam w (139)
Sunday December 30, 2012, 8:43 am
June..Was that meant in a sacrastic way? Pity! Because, I've worked through the holidays for years. This year, I spent the morning cleaning litter boxes, refilling water bowls and putting out food dishes at the local Humane those workers could have the morning with their families if they wanted to do so. (NOT all of them did, by the way.) I also took food over to the zoo, for the keepers.

Proud of yourself, June?

JL may be the ONLY one who understands what I keep trying to express.

IF a wish for happiness is extended, should that wish be about the GIVER or the RECEIVER?

Wishing total strangers "Merry Christmas" means it's all about the person speaking, doesn't it? If I know you're Christian, I"ll wish you a MERRY one. If I don't know your religion/lack of it...I'll say "Happy holidays," since everyone observes New Year's day.

People who don't understand that don't WANT to understand it, in my opinion. June....this means YOU.


JL A (282)
Sunday December 30, 2012, 8:49 am
Thank you Pam for following up and explicating the crux of the matter--I hope it will help others better understand.

pam w (139)
Sunday December 30, 2012, 9:42 am
Thank YOU...!


Gloria H (88)
Sunday December 30, 2012, 10:45 pm
If they are wearing red and green, tiny trees, ornaments, crosses it's safe to assume it's ok to say Merry Christmas. Always in good taste to send a CARE2 e card for whatever holiday and get those butterfly rewards!
If you don't observe the holiday, volunteer to work that day in place of someone who does. (like if you have a choice).
To me Christmas means peace on earth to everyone, every creature...a goal to be reached sometime. No shopping, no working, just silent concentration on what a world without war would be like. 24 hours to heal. No football games, no tv. Just a silent day, a silent night. A 'hollow"-day...not one filled with noise, chatter, business or busy-ness. A day we can empty out of our need to be right or doing and just be.

Julie W (32)
Wednesday January 2, 2013, 1:53 am
What's with the 'Happy Holidays' recently? The US has had a large Jewish population for quite some time, but no-one ever seemed to think they might be offended by ' Merry Christmas'. Why now?

If a percentage of people emigrated to Indonesia,for instance, would the Indonesians stop referring to Ramadan? I doubt it.
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