Why Shaming People for Saying “Happy Holidays” Needs to End

Oh Christmastime. Supposedly the most wonderful time of the year, but also the busiest time of the year usually with the crabbiest of people. What makes people’s frustrations even more annoying? Getting attitude for saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”

As someone who works retail over the holiday season, I always tell my customers to have “happy holidays!” Often time I get snarky remarks in return. “Yeah, Merry Christmas to you too,” people have often spat back at me, as if I am the equivalent of Ebenezer Scrooge.

While 92% percent of Americans do celebrate Christmas, 8% do not (Pewresearch). Eight percent may not seem very large, but that is still 25.8 million people in the United States. The likelihood of running into someone that falls under the category of Americans who do not celebrate Christmas is extremely likely still.

Assuming that every person you talk to this holiday season will celebrate Christmas is inaccurate and simply ignorant. My wanting to be equally accommodating to all people is just common courtesy.

The argument for some people, rightfully so, is their concern that “happy holidays” is an attempt to take Christ and the religion out of Christmas. As a proud Catholic, I would never try to do such a thing, but also as a religious person, I want to be kind to everyone and not impose my personal views and beliefs onto those around me.

Another thought to be considered is that Christmas can still fall under the category of holidays. When wishing someone to have “happy holidays,” that can include Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanza plus New Year’s Eve and Day and even the Three King’s Day on January 6th for those who celebrate Mexican traditional holidays. The phrase that is more general and welcoming to all citizens is not meant to exclude anyone or any day.

This season, when someone says “Happy Holidays,” say it in return with as much happiness as you would say “Merry Christmas” because that person may not celebrate the same way that you do.