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‘Happy holidays’ can be fighting words if you think there’s a war on Christmas

Dec. 18, 2012

Remember back in 2005 or so when Bill O’Reilly first got all worked up about the so-called war on Christmas? Yeah, I know. I almost forgot about it, too, but a checkout clerk wished me “happy holidays” tonight.

That really ticked me off. He spoiled everything with his cheery secularism. Things had been perfect until he got all politically correct on me. There I was, shopping for Christmas cards, wrapping paper and padded envelopes, taking in the Christmas-themed music as I did my duty as a loyal American consumer. The in-store sound system even played Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” as I coveted a funky radio/CD player that resembled an old-fashioned jukebox.

Happy holidays? Bah-humbug! The nerve of that clerk. I celebrated my first Christmas when I was seven months old. Even though I don’t remember it, I’m sure it meant a lot to me. I think of Christmas before I think of other holidays this time of year, and everybody else should, too. So what choice did I have but to get mad at the person who expressed goodwill with his insensitive, generic well-wishing instead of jocular references to Christmas? All he had to say was a simple "Merry Christmas," but he didn't. So I had to give him a piece of my mind, right?

Wrong.

Full disclosure time: I didn’t really get angry at the clerk. I smiled and wished him happy holidays, too.

Getting mad over being wished happy holidays as opposed to being wished a Merry Christmas is not unlike getting angry at someone who tells you to have a nice day instead of telling you to have a good one. Nonetheless, I’ve known people who were bothered by seasonal greetings that did not include the words “Merry Christmas.”

All this hoo-hah over “Happy Holidays” vs. “Merry Christmas” just goes to show that if you’re looking for trouble, you’re bound to find it one way or another. In order to do so, you may have to take offense where none is intended, or interpret someone’s kind words as evidence of some sinister plot to undermine the entire Christian tradition in the Western world, or rush to judgment about the moral values of the person who failed to recognize “the reason for the season.” If you really put your mind to it, you can turn anything into a source of contention.

So, if you’re one of those people who get upset about the state of the world and the decline of Western civilization because you believe “Happy Holidays” to be a frontal attack in the war on Christmas, then I have two very special words for you: “Merry Christmas.”

But wait, there’s more.

I also want to wish you happy holidays. Christmas, being a subset of the entire “holidays” category, is just one of many reasons to be happy. You can be happy about Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, the solstice or any number of other seasonal reasons to smile.

So don’t worry, be happy. You have plenty of holidays just around the corner celebrate, even if Christmas is your favorite holiday of all.

And now, a special holiday bonus link to Punditty’s favorite Christmas carol, “Angels We Have Heard on High,” performed by the Las Vegas Master Singers with the Las Vegas Philharmonic.

Rejoice!

Sources and Resources:

The War on Christmas, Time, Dec. 24, 2008

Bill O’Reilly’s War Against Christmas, opednews.com, Dec. 15, 2005

http://www.beliefnet.com/Love-Family/Holidays/Happy-Holidays-and-the-War-on-Christmas.aspx

http://www.someecards.com/christmas-cards/merry-christmas-war-on-christmas-happy-holidays

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_controversy

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