I posted this on my site recently, and I thought I would share this here and maybe see what the community might be able to add.

With the approach of the holiday season, I’m already hearing the “Keep Christ in Christmas” mantra and the indignant outcries that the big name retail chains are sullying the season by wishing patrons a “Happy Holiday” rather than “Merry Christmas”.

It’s my thought that people should really just get over this, both in the battle for keeping “Christ in Christmas” and the overall idea that Christianity is being banished from popular culture. Looking back through history, it is quite clear that the origin of Christmas was not Christ at all!

Yes, some retail chains have moved from saying “Merry Christmas” to “Happy Holidays” to be more inclusive of their patrons, especially in the more urban areas. Rather than thinking that this is a horrible thing that marks the downfall of the country, I feel that it is a positive indication of how diverse this country is, and has been throughout history.

As President-Elect Obama stated in a speech a couple years back:

"Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation – at least, not just. We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, and a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers."

I do not feel that we should exclude people based on their beliefs. Accordingly, I do not feel that those who hold beliefs should exclude those who do not share those beliefs, or use invasive measures to force others to participate or actively observe their ideas, beliefs or practices. This is the nature of our freedom of religion - the right to freedom from religion. Those who say “Happy Holidays” aren’t excluding the ones with Christian beliefs, but rather, are attempting to include those who might not share those beliefs.

Here is my recommendation: When someone, either at a store or elsewhere, wishes you a Happy Holiday this season, simply smile and nod, and remember within yourself what that means to you. It could mean your Merry Christmas, or Happy Hanukkah, or perhaps even a Joyful Kwanzaa. Maybe, as for me, it has no religious connotation at all, but is simply a time to share with your family.

Regardless of its meaning for you, I would like to wish everyone a very Happy Holiday Season!


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Comment by deletedsoul on December 4, 2008 at 7:46am
That is hilarious! Thanks for sharing the story. :)
Comment by Chrys Stevenson on December 4, 2008 at 5:50am
While we're not planning to get all politically correct with our friends and family, our Christmas cards this year say simply "Seasons Greetings". Privately, we have renamed the season, Wishmus.

If anyone should raise the subject, simply point out that December has been a time of feasting and celebration for more than 4000 years. At different times and in different cultures it has been called many different names and honoured many different Gods. At this time, in our culture, it just happens to be called Christmas.

The fact that atheists might celebrate Christmas in a secular fashion, is no more hypocritical than Christians decorating trees (a ritual dating from the Romans' worship of Saturn during Saturnalia).

History shows that no religion lasts forever. One day, the 'winter holiday' will celebrate something altogether different. 'Christmas' will be superseded and become as obscure as 'Saturnalia'.

On a funny note, my Mum and I used to attend our local Christmas Carols in the Park each year. It was always a secular event run by the local council with mostly secular type songs like "Rudolph" etc. One year we fronted up with our deck chairs and bottle of wine to find it was being run by the local evangelical church. We'd ended up in the midst of a church service! Egged on by a gallon or so of chardonnay I muttered loudly, "Bloody Christians! Now they're even taking over Christmas!"
At which point there was a deathly hush amongst the crowd, before we all realised what I'd said and we all fell about laughing. It was almost as funny as the year a very drunk Santa fell off the stage.
Comment by Terry on December 3, 2008 at 10:31pm
I cant say I ever even celebrate, it's not even my holiday. It's like easter to me lol. Call me the grinch if you like but I'd be happy if it wasn't even there in the first place.
Comment by deletedsoul on December 3, 2008 at 8:34pm
That's exactly my point. "Happy Holidays" is an all-encompassing greeting that neither promotes nor demeans a specific religion. It irritates me that the Jesus-crispies, at least in my region, feel that to include another religion in a greeting is a direct attack on their precious Jesus. I'm beginning to wonder if they think the poor guy can't fend for himself. :)
Comment by Dustin Manning on December 3, 2008 at 8:28pm
I've worked in the retail environment for truly too long and one year I finally "lost" it on a customer to whom I wished a "Happy Holiday". She replied; "you mean Merry Christmas". I retorted; "No I mean Happy Holidays". this went back and forth two or so times till I finally raised my voice and stated "Miss I'm an Atheist and feel that Happy Holiday's is the most universal pleasantry I can give as to not offend say a jewish person or vis versa." At the word Atheist her eyes opened wide and she literally ran out of the store. Fond memories of ignorance.
Comment by Lori Gilliland on December 3, 2008 at 8:07pm
A very merry Solstice to all



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