Happy Holidays > Merry Christmas

During the months of November through January, many notable holidays are observed, both in the United States and around the world. Some of the most notable ones are Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas, and New Year's Day. That being said, though it may seem very trivial, the most respectful way to greet people this season is to say "Happy Holidays."

Saying "Happy Holidays" is a way of acknowledging all of the current holidays happening during the time, in case you're unable to see someone to wish them a good holiday for each one. It’s easier to say “Happy Holidays” to your aunt you will only see at Thanksgiving rather than “Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Years!”

Another reason to use "Happy Holidays" is in the case of not knowing which holidays someone celebrates. Obviously, if you know that someone is Jewish, go ahead and wish them a Happy Hanukkah. If you know your grandma is a Christian, tell her “Merry Christmas!" However, if you don't know someone’s religion or heritage, it’s respectful to not automatically assume the holidays they celebrate. It is a much more inclusive saying and doesn’t automatically assume that everyone is a Christian.

When you use these phrases, you’re attempting in a few short words to wish someone a good celebration of a holiday that most likely means a lot to him or her as a part of their identity. This part of the year is about appreciating one another, so make sure you aren't being careless in your vernacular. Be respectful to everyone by not assuming their culture, and then genuinely wish them happiness once you're well-informed.