This is what people get wrong about saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”
For as long as we can remember, conservative politicians and Fox News pundits have been babbling about a “War on Christmas” and now that Donald Trump has made good on his campaign promise to “start saying Merry Christmas again,” it’s definitely at its peak. But people just don’t get that saying “happy holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” has nothing to do with taking away a person’s right to do anything. It’s also not about “political correctness.” Trump, and his supporters, hate being “politically correct,” but it’s really just about being kind, compassionate, and inclusive. Anything you do or say that someone could call “politically correct,” is usually also just empathetic and kind.
Seriously, there has never been a War on Christmas.
Let’s just all get that through people’s heads. You know how reverse racism can’t exist because white people have all the power? Think of it like that. Christian, European traditions are pretty much the law of the land when it comes to holidays. Christmas takes over basically everything — public streets don sparkly Christmas trees, nativity sets are put up in front of municipal buildings, and every store and TV commercial… Hell, even the Google Doodle celebrates Christmas for an entire month.
According to the Pew Research Center, 81 percent of non-Christians celebrate Christmas JUST BECAUSE.
There are other religious holidays that other cultures celebrate during the Christmas season, primarily because they wanted to give their communities something to celebrate while all of the Christian mayhem was going on. Hannukah wasn’t widely celebrated in the U.S. until the late 19th century when some rabbis wanted to give their kids something to relate to and bring them closer to their religion and connect with their new American heritage. “[The Jewish community] didn’t see Christmas as something they could do easily because it’s Christian, but they did want to do something like that because it was American,” Dianne Ashton, professor of American Studies at Rowan University in New Jersey told NPR.
Kwanzaa was first celebrated in 1966 as a way to celebrate African American heritage for just five days, again, amidst the massive Christian holiday. These holidays aren’t intended to replace Christmas, but to allow other communities of people to celebrate their own heritage if they don’t believe in Jesus and Santa Claus. Also, let’s be real: Christmas tends to bleed into everything else that happens between Thanksgiving and the New Year.
So no, there is no War On Christmas, because it’s everywhere and it will likely stay that way forever.
Donald Trump is serious about shoving Christmas in everyone’s face, whether they want to be merry and bright or not. One of his campaign promises was that he would make sure people started saying “Merry Christmas” again and he’s made good on that already, by putting “Merry Christmas” on the official White House card and putting up a nativity set amidst all of the red and green decorations. The Obama family pissed a lot of conservatives off by writing “Happy Holidays” on their family card and considering not putting up a creche the first year they were in office. (Eventually, they acquiesced, which was probably a good call politically.)
Fox News lauded the White House this week for not being “ashamed” to say “Merry Christmas.” One opinion writer reminded readers of the bad old days when the Obama family tried to bring some class to the capitol, writing, “Yes, good readers, Barack and Michelle Obama wanted to mark their first Christmas in the White House by tossing the Baby Jesus out of the building. For a number of years, the White House decorations were more pet-centric than Jesus-centric.” Where do people get these ideas? The Obamas might have put “holidays” on their card, but they also always sent out a “Merry Christmas” wish to people, so everything is wrong about this.
Fact: No one threw Baby Jesus anywhere.
Trump loves playing to his ultra-conservative, wildly touchy supporters who can’t bear sipping their coffee out of a “holiday cup.” Last year he said, “You go to stores, you don’t see the word Christmas. It says ‘happy holidays’ all over. I say, ‘Where’s Christmas?’ I tell my wife, ‘Don’t go to those stores.’ . . . I want to see Christmas.” Earlier this year, he even told people that “we” Americans don’t “worship” government, but God, which…isn’t supposed to be true at all, actually.
Although our government buildings, money, and the way we insist that we’re “one nation, under God” make it seem like everyone is Christian or celebrates Christmas, that’s just not the case. Also, technically, there are many holidays, including the New Year, that happen between November 30 and January 1, so saying “Happy Holidays” or “Happy New Year” is merely encompassing and correct.
You know how awkward it is when you’re boarding a plane and you reflexively tell the airline agent checking you in, “You too!” after they say to “have a nice flight?” Or when a waiter tells you to enjoy your meal and you say, “You too!” to be polite, but they aren’t eating? That’s kind of what you’re doing if you just say “Merry Christmas” to everyone you see. Wishing people a happy New Year or a happy holiday season is just being polite and factual.
Obviously, people who believe that there is a War on Christmas don’t care about manners or facts. According to the Pew Research Center, the majority of Americans don’t even care if retailers or people say “Happy Holidays” and also don’t mind religious displays in front of public buildings as long as there are various holidays represented. So it’s just Trump, his ridiculous supporters, and a few stray Fox News reporters fighting this “war.”
The joke’s essentially on them, though, since most rational people don’t really care how you greet them as long as they’re invited to your holiday party. Instead of making up fake news, it’s way more important to focus on your family and friends during the holiday season. Don’t let the losers and the haters tell you anything different.