Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays? By Jennifer Sotelo

Posted on December 18, 2014 by


In my analysis I will be talking about Christmas, yes I said Christmas. Christmas is suppose to be a day of joy and celebration. Wherever I am during the month of December I always hear people say “Merry Christmas!” or “Happy Holidays.” To me I feel like they both have the same meaning and understanding. On the other hand, I never took to notice that other people might view them in a different way. Until one day as I was scrolling through the Huffington Post-Religion, I came across an article published by Carol Kuruvilla called Are You Being Persecuted This Christmas? that caught my attention. It states how Fox News Host Bill O’Rieilly says “Changing “Merry Christmas” to “Happy Holidays” is a sign that it is somehow becoming harder for Christians to practice their faith openly in America.” I feel as if though people want people to stop saying “Merry Christmas.” It also explains how some people prefer “Happy Holidays” over “Merry Christmas” and vice-versa. Reason being, “Merry Christmas” is fixated with the birth of Jesus, and “Happy Holidays”could be seen as an open greeting to all religious beliefs.


“Photo Credit: PhotoPin”

Like I said before, either saying for me means the same thing. I grew up with the teaching about the Nativity of Jesus. Its something that I do believe in, and since we are talking about Christmas and many people may not know but, Christmas is when we celebrate the birth of the Christ child. God sent His Son, Jesus, into the world to be born. His birth brought great joy to the world. Shepherds, wise men, and angels all shared in the excitement of knowing about this great event. For more on the story, if interested, you could find this in Luke 2: 4-19. In another article which you can find here, War on Christmas, he says,”Every Christmas season there are people who try to diminish the celebration of Jesus’s birthday.” So in some aspect I do agree with Bill O’reilly. Its true, but if you really have faith for what you believe in than the whole “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” won’t have any effect on you. Because you know what matters and what doesn’t matter. In an article called Are you Being Prosecuted? that Rachel Held Evans published she said,

“The whole story of Advent is the story of how God can’t be kept out. God is present. God is with us. God shows up—not with a parade but with the whimper of a baby, not among the powerful but among the marginalized, not to the demanding but to the humble. From Advent to Easter, the story of Jesus should teach us that God doesn’t need a mention in our pledge or on our money or over the loudspeaker at the mall to be present, and when we fight like spoiled children to “keep” God in those things, we are fighting for idols. We’re chasing wind.”

And thats what I was saying earlier, if you focus on what people are saying than you forget the real meaning behind it all and thats where are these articles come in. Christmas is a national holiday, a legal holiday, written on every calendar. On Thanksgiving, I say “Happy Thanksgiving”. On New Years I say “Happy New Years!” On St. Patrick’s Day I say “Happy St. Patrick’s Day”. It’s a polite way to connect with people I don’t know and wish them well. However, if someone I know would be offended, I would not wish them that greeting. I wish my pagan friends “Happy Solstice” and my Jewish friends “Happy Hanukkah”. But to require everyone in the world to stop saying “Merry Christmas” because you don’t agree with the associated religion is unreasonable and unfriendly. No one is forcing you to say it or to participate. It’s a legal holiday. I feel like if you want to make it religious, that’s up to you.

medium_6565077213-2On that note, Rev. Paul Raushenbush, Huffington Post’s Executive Editor said the Following;

“For a long, long time Christianity was dominant in the United States and represented the civic religion of the country. But America is about the people who are here now, and that is a much more diverse group. And that’s good! It is time to stop insisting that everything revolves around us. Instead, let’s join the wider circle of the many traditions that make up our country. Besides, any Christian knows that Christmas is not about displays in shopping malls, or capitols, or schools, it is about a spiritual event that we honor most in our families and our homes.”

This is a perfect example of how I feel as well. Even though I truly believe “Merry Christmas” should be the traditional saying because of my beliefs, but “Happy Holidays” works perfectly fine too. Its greeting everyone no matter which religion there from.

Works Cited

Kuruvilla, Carol. “Are You Being Persecuted This Christmas? Here’s A Helpful Chart.” The Huffington Post., 08 Dec. 2014. Web. 10 Dec. 2014.
Merry Christmas’ or ‘Happy Holidays’?” Pew Research Center RSS. Michael Lipka, 12 Dec. 2013. Web. 10 Dec. 2014.

“Are You Being Persecuted?” RSS. Rachel Held Evans, 2014. Web. 17 Dec. 2014.

Taibi, Catherine. “Bill O’Reilly Launches First Counter-Offensive In The ‘War On Christmas'” The Huffington Post., 03 Dec. 2014. Web. 10 Dec. 2014.

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