I have a difficult time expressing how extraordinarily stupid I think this whole “Happy Holidays”/”Merry Christmas” thing that’s going on this year is, not in the least because, for those of you who slept through remedial etymology, “holiday” means “holy day.” Which is an awfully funny word to have representing secularism, if you ask me. People who complain that saying “Happy Holidays” somehow disenfranchises Christians are basically showing their profound ignorance of language, which is not exactly a reassuring thing when so many of these same folks also maintain that the Bible is literally true.
Here’s the deal. Wish me a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays. Either way, I’ll get what you mean, I’ll take it in the spirit in which it is given, and in either case, you’re likely to get the same response (i.e., “Thanks. You too.”). On the other hand, wish me a “Merry Christmas” with that defiant air that means that you are driving your Christ-sticky foot into the ground and digging in against the godless forces of “Happy Holidays,” and what you’re declaring is that you are, indeed, a first-class idjit. It also signals that you’re less interested in wishing me joy and glad tidings than in pimping the baby Jesus, in the guise of being nice. So not only are you a first class idjit, you’re also rude. If you’re going to wish me a Merry Christmas, try to mean it, for Christ’s sake.
How will I know which “Merry Christmas” you will offer to me? Well, of course, maybe I won’t. Being the sort of person I am, I’ll assume you mean well. It’s that “Golden Rule” thing you hear so much about. However, you will know which “Merry Christmas” you are offering, and, one imagines, so will the birthday boy in question. A thought to consider.
(So, you ask, which do I use? Personally, I tend to go with “Merry Christmas,” because that’s the holiday I celebrate, and also, as previously mentioned, I don’t think you have to be Christian to recognize that Jesus’ birth is worth celebrating. Also, in rural Ohio, it’s a safe bet. However, for people I know who prefer not to be Merry Christmassed, “Happy Holidays” works fine, although sometimes I will get cheeky and say “have an enjoyable seasonal celebration of your preference!” which both celebrates and mocks the situation. But I only use that for special people. You know who you are.)
(Oh, and before I forget, Happy Solstice to one and all!)