Happy holidays to you and yours! During the holiday season, I like to use the phrase, “happy holidays,” instead of, “merry Christmas,” when I do not know the religion or traditions of the person or people that I am greeting. To me, it is the most respectful greeting of them all. Wouldn’t it be more offensive to tell Christians, “happy Hanukkah,” than to simply wish them a happy holiday? Likewise, do you think that the Jewish minority appreciates the countless, “merry Christmas,” greetings?
Realistically, I don’t think any of the above greetings are offensive, they are all meant to convey good wishes. If you said any of them to me, I would thank you and reply with a friendly greeting as well. However, assuming that everyone celebrates the same holiday is insensitive to many individuals in our culturally diverse society.
When I’m talking with someone I know to be Christian, I tell them, “merry Christmas.” On Saturday, I sent text messages to my Jewish friends wishing them a happy first day of Hanukkah. And to my non-religious friends, it’s a combination of, “happy holidays,” “merry solstice,” and “happy Festivus.”
While I am non-religious, I still celebrate Christmas. To me, it is a secular tradition from my childhood. I even enjoy listening and singing along with traditional Christmas songs, many of which include religious verses about Christ. No, I don’t put up a manger or go to church on Christmas Eve, but I do put up a Christmas tree and exchange presents.
So, this holiday season, when someone wishes you well with, “happy holidays,” appreciate their respect for you, your traditions and your holiday.