With Christmas less than one month away, it seems that the holiday season has already kicked into high gear. Christmas lights are up all over town, Santa Claus has already visited Powell, Country Christmas festivities are planned for this weekend and traditional holiday favorites like “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Frosty the Snowman” are filling the airwaves.
However, some people have found controversy in the holiday season the last few years — even to the point of getting offended if someone wishes them “Happy holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas,” or vice versa.
According to a 2017 article in The Daily Telegraph of London, employees at Great Britain’s Department of Energy and Climate Change have been urged to avoid writing “Merry Christmas” in email greetings to avoid upsetting anyone, instead being encouraged to use the more neutral term “Season’s Greetings.”
Some major retailers similarly use more generic references to the holiday season, possibly because they wish to be sensitive to consumers who do not celebrate Christmas and instead observe other religious holidays like Hanukkah or Kwanzaa.
Because of these and other examples, there has been talk in America of a “war on Christmas” for several years. Some Christians have felt slighted, or even that Christmas is being marginalized.
Perhaps the most overt example of this came three years ago, when evangelist Joshua Feuerstein went on YouTube and accused Starbucks of “hating Jesus” because the company decided to use plain red cups instead of cups containing Christmas imagery, as it had in previous holiday seasons. Shortly after that, then-businessman and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump encouraged a boycott of Starbucks for the same reason and also said that if he became president, “we’re all going to be saying ‘Merry Christmas’ again.”
Some of the social media posts on the subject have even gotten animated. One meme that has received more than 7,000 likes has celebrated President Trump for changing “the Democrat phrase of ‘Happy Holidays’ back to ‘Merry Christmas,’” while one Facebook user said, “I will not say ‘happy holidays’ — there are several ‘holidays’ [but] THIS one is CHRISTMAS!!”
On the other side of the coin, there are some who do have an issue with the phrase “Merry Christmas.” A commenter on the website Debate.org said, “Merry Christmas is too much and not sensitive enough to other religions and people of other faiths. ... Happy holidays is better,” while another commenter added, “It’s a trivial matter, but ‘Happy Holidays’ is more respectful.” However, we believe that another meme on social media might have the best take on the issue. The creator of the meme simply says that regardless of whatever holiday greeting is offered, “I will not be offended. I will be thankful that you took the time to say something nice to me.”
We couldn’t agree more.