Ah yes, the greatest conflict of our time. “Merry Christmas” vs “Happy Holidays.” Is there a war on Christmas? It seems like any time the question comes up you find very polarized views. On one side, the people are passionately against the term happy holidays, and think it is the politically correct culture trying to take all the religion out of Christmas. On the other side, people find the idea that people get upset over the issue to be a joke. How do we bring clarity to this as Christians? Should Christians say “Happy Holidays?”
Simplicity or Secularism?
I think there may be a bit of a misunderstanding on the motivations here. I could be wrong, but from what I have seen and heard, most of the parties pushing for “Happy Holidays” are not doing so to take down religion or keep Christ out of Christmas. It usually is said for one of two reasons.
The first is people that are trying to be both inclusive and straightforward. They recognize that there are people of other cultures and religions that might be celebrating holidays other than Christmas. If someone says to me “Happy Kwanza,” it’s not offensive, it’s just a little awkward. Saying “Happy Holidays” is a way to wish someone a pleasant holiday greeting without taking the time to figure out what religion they are a part of, which holidays they celebrate, or dealing with the potential awkwardness of mistaken assumptions.
2. Better Business
The second group pushing the phrase are businesses. You’ve likely observed this from companies like Disney or Starbucks that want to appeal to the widest audience and appear more progressive. The primary goal of any business is its own bottom line. They are not responsible for spreading the gospel or maintaining the integrity of Christmas. That’s our job as Christians. If companies find that they make more money by taking a more universal stance on December holidays, of course they will jump on it. That’s not a war on Christmas, that’s capitalism. Maybe it is an artificial appearance of being inclusive or progressive, and if it bothers you feel free to take your money elsewhere. Just know why it is happening and make sure you are upset at the right people for the right reasons.
Should Christians Say “Happy Holidays?”
All that said, I will continue saying merry Christmas, and would encourage other Christians to as well. It can still be an outward display of what we believe in and what matters to us. Don’t do it in an aggressive way, as if every time you say it you are scoring a point for Jesus and putting Christ back in Christmas. Even if you do have strong feelings about this, I would encourage you to express your love of Christmas joyfully, rather than getting angry over people trying to be polite. That only reinforces stereotypes about Christians that don’t do us any favors.
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