In the last decade or so, the U.S. has become much more politically correct in its terminology, especially when it comes to the holiday season. The endless “Happy Holidays,” vs “Merry Christmas” debate emerges once again. As most people know, the polite and politically correct phase to use around this time of year would be “Happy Holidays” out of consideration for the other party’s beliefs, because most times, we do not know what those beliefs might be at a glance. However, with Christmas being the obvious predominant holiday of the season, many people still coin the term “Merry Christmas.”
The controversy here is that some feel that this is inconsiderate because the person it’s being said to might not celebrate Christmas, but a different holiday or potentially not a holiday at all. But is saying “Merry Christmas” really as insulting as the debate makes it out to be?
We don’t think so.
No matter what you practice or don’t practice, this is supposed to be the greatest time of year. Gift-giving, the gathering of family and friends and an all around jolly mood are what this season is all about. People are noticeably kinder and friendlier toward their fellow man. Simply saying either term is solely meant to convey good tidings; not to exclude a person based on their religion. But that is how this issue is being looked at. A “Merry Christmas” said in passing to a stranger never hurt anyone, or at least it wasn’t supposed to. This topic seems to be overblown every year and sometimes even seems like it’s just an argument for the sake of arguing.
We, as I’m sure many would agree, honestly view the two terms as synonymous and only view them as having genuine positive feelings behind them. They’re both said out of kindness and as a way to emphasize the time of year. Maybe it is harder for us as a staff to understand the situation in its entirety because we all share similar religious backgrounds. However knowing that the intent behind a comment, phrase or term is good, shouldn’t damper anyone’s spirits and it’s hard to fathom why some people take such great offense to it.
Saying merry Christmas doesn’t mean a person doesn’t respect your religion, system of beliefs or even lack thereof. It’s just a common term that most people don’t even think about before saying because they are saying it with good intent. In a season full of crazy shoppers, shrinking wallets and bad weather it can be easy to forget niceties and just rush through the day without a second thought for a passerby. Yet, because of the season, people still take time out of their days to stop and say a quick gesture of good cheer in hopes of brightening someone else’s day just a little bit more. The form of the words shouldn’t matter if they are genuine in their purpose. People don’t deserve to be scrutinized for a slip of a “politically correct” phrase when it was a voluntarily nice gesture to begin with.