Christian Living

Do You Wish People Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?

My wife wishes people a “Merry Christmas,” while I say “Happy holidays.” We both have our reasons for doing so, and we are both right.

It’s important to us to keep Jesus as the central focus of Christmas. One way my wife does so is by wishing everyone a “Merry Christmas”—every chance she gets.

She never says “Merry Xmas” and doesn’t shop at stores that resort to that godless abbreviation. She also never says “Happy holidays”—and gives me a critical glare when I do.

I am, however, quick to say “Merry Christmas” to people who follow Jesus and am happy to return the greeting to others who offer it to me.

My preference, however, is a more intentional “Have a wonderful Christmas,” because the idea of making merry is a bit too jolly for me, obscuring the wondrous love of Jesus and what he came to do.

However, when expressing season’s greetings to people of unknown faith, I prefer a less confrontational “Happy holidays.”

While people of other faiths could take my “Merry Christmas” greeting in a secular sense, they could likewise be incensed at a perceived attempt to proselytize. That would not be my intent; I do not want to offend.

My wife thinks I’m over-analyzing something simple.

I consider it this way: How would I feel if someone wished me a “Happy Kwanzaa,” a created holiday originally intended as an “oppositional alternative” to Christmas?

Someone did, and I was offended. Caught off guard and unwilling to reply with “Happy Kwanzaa,” I blurted out “Merry Christmas.” Sadly, I responded to his confrontation with an equally confronting retort.

I wish I had just smiled and said, “Happy holidays.”

Celebrate Christmas in a fresh way with The Advent of Jesus. It’s a forty-day devotional that prepares our hearts to celebrate the arrival of Jesus in an engaging read. Begin your Advent journey now and gain a greater sense of wonder for the season.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

2 replies on “Do You Wish People Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?”

Love reading your sentiments, however, I welcome someone saying Happy Kawanza, Channakah, Ramadan, Feast of the Tabernacle or whatever because or offers me the opportunity to say “and to you, also.” BUT, when it is Happy Soltice, I admit it prickles. It is meant to replace the celebration of the birth of my Savior and offered (in my outter circle by mail) as a substitute for a Christmas card.
I do look forward to the Soltice, but for a very specific reason. The days will be getting longer and the mornings lighter. To me that is a joy to celebrate and I Praise my Creator that He arranged the stars and the moon and the sun that way for it gives me hope for Spring. One of the best presents we receive at this time of year.
I am with Candy, I want to say my Merry Christmasses first and look people in the eye. It’s an out reach and they can respond how they want. At any rate, all expressions of the holidays open an avenue for discussion and making a new friend.
Merry Christmas, my friend. And a healthy Happy New Year.

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