Every year at the beginning of December, the controversy engages in arguments about whether people should say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays to one another. This is framed in “political correctness” and appears to be a “war on Christmas.” On the one hand, I feel this is nonsense and not worth engaging at all; however, Canada is a multicultural country, so it could be argued that we need to be religiously and culturally diverse. Either way, it is a no-win situation and will evoke some strong reactions on both sides. We have an increasing population that does not feel affiliated with any religious tradition, and this, too, contributes to the new cultural landscape. Those of us who are Christians are familiar with Christianity being the dominant religion and may feel uncomfortable saying Happy Holidays or writing Merry Xmas instead of Merry Christmas.
I propose that we all try to enjoy the holiday season and not place as much emphasis on the phrases others use to pass on a pleasant greeting. I believe it is the thought behind the greeting rather than the words. There are many holidays celebrated in December, and should all deserve to be acknowledged and respected. Let’s not make the Happy Holiday debate complicated. If you know someone who is a Christian celebrating Christmas, wish them a Merry Christmas. At the same time, you could demonstrate basic etiquette to a non-Christian person by wishing them Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings or Happy Hanukkah. If you don’t know the spiritual tradition of a co-worker or friend, offer them a “Seasons Greetings.” This is a safe, respectful and appropriate greeting that recognizes there are many ways people are observing the season.
That is the reason many retail outlets use Happy Holidays rather than Merry Christmas. They are striving to be inclusive and welcome as many customers into their stores as possible. Using Happy Holidays is not anti-Christmas. For businesses, it is pro-business.
The next politically correct acronym debate is the use of Holiday Tree or Christmas Tree. I prefer to call it a Christmas tree and always will. It just seems to be common sense. Let’s call things what they are and not make such a big deal of it.