Is It Wrong To Say Merry Christmas?

Merry Christmas traced out on a snowy car window

It seems like every year there is debate around the “right” thing to say come December.  Some people say it’s not politically correct to say “Merry Christmas”, and the preferred alternatives might be “happy holidays” or “season’s greetings.”  Then you’ve got the Great Pumpkin wanting to obliterate “happy holidays” because it’s part of a war on Christmas.  You’ve also got the folks complaining about taking the Christ out of Christmas.

I find myself shaking my head a bit and wondering why people aren’t finding more important things to worry about (of which there are plenty).

On this issue as well as others like it, I’m inclined to think that if you try to suppress the majority, you’re more likely to get resentful people than greater inclusivity.  What if we were more willing to value everyone’s holidays?  What if we celebrated the universally positive messages even if we don’t happy to agree with the religious ones?  And here’s the thing – underneath the commercialism and totally aside from the religious part, there are universally good messages, no matter which faith’s holidays we’re talking about.

I’ve always celebrated Christmas, and both my parents and I are atheists.  Sure, I consider the manger and the wise men and all of that whole shebang to be mythical rather than literal history, but I believe when it comes to any holiday people should be able to take what works for them and leave the rest.

Let’s pretend for a second that I’m more social than I actually am.  Say I happened to wish someone “Merry Christmas” and they responded “Happy Hanukkah”.  I would smile (remember, we’re pretending here—smiling isn’t something I can do), wish them a “Happy Hanukkah” right back, and go along on my pretend-merry way.

If I had a kid (we’re still pretending) and their school “Christmas” play got turned into a mishmash of bits and pieces from multiple different traditions and faiths, I’d say the more the merrier.

So Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Festivus, and happy anything else you might happen to be celebrating.  There’s plenty of room for everybody.

Christmas tree decorated in stars
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
Hannukah menorah
Menorah –Gil Dekel, Wikimedia Commons
Kwanzaa candles
Kwanzaa candles – public domain, Wikimedia Commons

39 thoughts on “Is It Wrong To Say Merry Christmas?”

  1. I think all this PC stuff is a load of crap, and you said it best “that if you try to suppress the majority, you’re more likely to get resentful people than greater inclusivity”. It is the spirit of the season, and the joy and the giving that matters, not the specific words that are said. I say Merry Christmas, and if I know someone celebrates something different, I wish them a “happy (insert holiday)”. Very few people are actually offended by the kind words and gestures of the season. It is just those few who are trying to ruin it for everyone else, and I say too bad to them. I will keep saying Merry Christmas, no matter what.

  2. I am totally with you on this one Ashley. The last thing we want is to worry, or be told how to say it. It’s down to each individual and no ine else.

    I have mostly said Merry Christmas. The only time I have been cautious in saying ‘Merry’ is when someone has recently, or in the past month or two that has passed away, or if they are going through cancer treatment for example, then I change my wording to ‘Seasons Greetings.

    With the difficult year I have had and still having, as much as I want others to have a happy or merry Christmas, I can’t say it. So it’s Seasons Greetings. But if I was to receive a Merry Christmas from soneone, I am no way going to kick off the, but depending on how I am, I am not going to be jumping for joy etc, as I say thanks. And if I don’t sound thankful, I don’t mean to be. Its just how I m feeing and nothing towards the person.

  3. I don’t celebrate Christmas, but I’m not offended by people wishing me “Merry Christmas.” I wouldn’t wish someone I thought wasn’t Jewish “Happy Chanukah.” That would seem weird. I mean, I wouldn’t wish a non-Jew a happy festival on any other Jewish festival, so why would I with Chanukah just because it sometimes coincides with Christmas?

  4. I’m a practicing and devout Hypo-Christian. Less guilt. Manageable hang ups. Occasionally, I’ll lapse out and be obedient, observant and such. I do wish known Christian’s a Merry Christmas because it is Christmas, but less so these days.

  5. I’m a Jewish atheist and I don’t give a crap if someone says Merry Christmas. I don’t mind commercial Christmas at all. I don’t mind religious Christmas either as long as it’s not government-sponsored. It’s a bit weird when non-Jews wish me a happy Chanukah as if it’s the equivalent to Christmas, but they mean well, so it’s cool. As you say, this is all so petty. Find real problems!

  6. I personally don’t give a rat’s patootie about Christmas but I do try to Merry the folks who do Merry, and Happy the folks who do Happy. And I make a great effort to bite my tongue when people Mery and/or Happy me and not reply “Bah Humbug – It’s all bush-wa”

  7. “I find myself shaking my head a bit and wondering why people aren’t finding more important things to worry about (of which there are plenty).” -Yes. This. 🙂 No matter what holiday greeting someone gives me, I always take it as a wish for good tidings and kindness, and I don’t know why we can’t just leave it at that.

  8. “I find myself shaking my head a bit and wondering why people aren’t finding more important things to worry about (of which there are plenty).” This pretty much sums up how I feel about it too!

  9. I’m sick fed up in the UK where it’s no longer pc to say ‘Merry Christmas’ and having to bow down to please the muslim communities. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against muslims and immigration, we need it. But I do believe that if you live in a country, you should accept its culture and accept that we celebrate Christmas.

    1. Yes, if I were to move to another country where different faith traditions were predominant, I wouldn’t expect them to tone down their traditions to accommodate me. I would simply expect people to respect that my practice is something different.

  10. When you live in the margins, reminders of that status can hurt. Especially10 times per day for weeks.
    One person’s good intention is another person’s taxed tampons?
    We grew up with anti-Semitism and had violence against us. Does that make us sound fussy? We are. Sorry.
    The reason political correctness doesn’t work is that it’s superficial. You don’t know how people really feel. It tries not to offend and doesn’t offer opportunities to authentically connect.
    There is such a thing as proselytization.
    If you live in a small enough place, everyone knows what everyone else celebrates.
    We celebrate none of it now because it feels so divisive. We don’t balk anymore when we’re wished anything, though we will work for authentic connection.
    Thanks for the opportunity to connect with you. You are very special and a brave voice💕

    1. Thanks lovelies. ❤️

      I grew up in a small town, and yeah, there’s plenty of shoving things down people’s throats. There is far too much small-mindedness in the world.

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