Thursday, December 16, 2010

"Happy Holidays" ...

A friend recently posted a status update on Facebook about returning to the use of Merry Christmas instead of "the now politically correct Happy Holidays," which made me look up from whence "Happy Holidays" comes.

Turns out, I didn't find a definitive answer, but I do love Bing Crosby's rendition of "Happy Holiday," and that was written by Irving Berlin for "White Christmas" in 1942. So it's not a recent phrase by that standard. It's been around for nearly 70 years.

I've always taken "Happy Holidays" to be inclusive, not exclusive, not a snub of Christ but an acknowledgment that many holidays fall around this time of year that many people observe, including Thanksgiving, St. Nicholas Day, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Year's, Epiphany, and Orthodox Christmas. I had a friend in high school for whom Epiphany was the primary holiday of the season. I can wish my Jewish friends a "Happy Hanukkah" during Hanukkah, but they celebrate Thanksgiving and New Year's, too. I have friends and family who observe Orthodox Christmas. "Merry Christmas" applies to them, does it not?

Or does "Merry Christmas" as a greeting only apply on December 25th, just as Happy Birthday only applies to the day of your birth? (Although, as far as I know, December 25th isn't noted in the Bible as the day of Christ's birth, but that's another post.) And while I'm not religious, if I were, I think I'd be more offended that Christmas has been co-opted into a massive observance of consumerism that begins for retailers in August and is marked by folks camping out in parking lots to get great deals on flat-screen TVs the day after Thanksgiving than I would be by acknowledging that others observe other days around this time of year, too.

Whatever holidays you observe or not, I always wish you joy and peace.


Blogger Tom Erdman said...

Hi Beth,

Another China comment. When I go to shopping centers in China, I hear Christmas music, not at soothing background levels, but levels that cause you to notice what's playing. They've figured out Christmas isn't about Christ, but sales. Even "Merry Christmas" is a little weird if you're talking about the birth of a savior. That seems little low brow for such a humoungus event.

I am religious, but am angry with the Catholic Church, so I don't go. I don't wear it on my sleeve, but I do use it as a guidepost in my everyday life.

I would like to see the season be more reflective, more respectful for all beliefs.

So, for you Beth, blessed holidays and warm wishes for this very cold, white and windy season.

2:56 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

Thank you, Tom. A season of being reflective and respectful is a lovely ideal to which to aspire. I see goodness in the world every day. That's really all I wish for. Love and kindness toward one another.

Warm wishes to you and yours, too.

And chocolate chip cookies.

8:40 AM  

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