When Did The Phrase “Happy Holidays!” Become Offensive?

Recently I took both of my grandmothers to a Christmas Concert at a local high school.  The performance was organized by a group of middle aged sisters who sing together and string together some skits.  The median age at this event was 85, but I love spending time with both my grandmas and I know how lucky I am to have them both still in my life, so I will gladly take them every year to this concert, even though I found one of the songs rather offensive this year.


Sometimes older isn't wiser...

Sometimes older isn’t wiser…


When did the phrase “Happy Holidays!” become a matter of contention to people?  I don’t understand it! The lyrics to one song went so far as to persuade you to walk right on past stores that have signs that say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas.  My blood was boiling as I was watching, partly because I assumed that many of the people listening were closed-minded enough to feel the same way.

Do the singers know how hypocritical they sound to someone that actually digests the words?  If you are a Catholic who celebrates Christmas (which I am and I know the ladies who performed are as well), how can you endorse being so callous and cold around the holidays?   Why do people have to be so egotistical as to focus on only their holiday, while trying to make others feel less important for what they celebrate?  If a greeter at any local chain says Merry Christmas, they are ONLY addressing people who celebrate Christmas and are assuming that everyone does celebrate Christmas.  That’s quite presumptuous and rude.  Whereas, if a worker at the local grocery store says Happy Holidays, they are INCLUDING Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus, etc.  If they know for a fact the person they are talking to celebrates Christmas, by all means wish them a Merry Christmas.  But if I don’t know what holiday they celebrate, I will cheerfully wish them a Happy Holidays.  Honestly, to me Happy Holidays includes everything from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.

Exclusively saying Merry Christmas is excluding people who celebrate other holidays.  Proclaiming Happy Holidays includes everyone that celebrates a holiday this time of year.  Jesus lived his life in a way that included everyone equally and celebrated people’s differences in a way that made everyone feel loved.  Encouraging people to only spend their money in establishments that exclude a large portion of the population seems against everything that He stood for in his life.


Would you be fuming like I was when you heard the song or do you think I am overreacting?


2 thoughts on “When Did The Phrase “Happy Holidays!” Become Offensive?

  1. I agree. Just the mere fact that Christmas and New Years fall so close together warrants “Happy Holidays!” being acceptable – even if you don’t want to acknowledge the holidays of the other faiths (or lack there of). So, the phrase “Happy Holidays!” is sort of a catch all.
    I have no desire to slight my savior or my Catholic & Christian bretheren, but we also have to remember that Jesus was a Jew (so he probably would have celebrated Hanukkah as it predated Him).
    “Keep Christ in Christmas:” I have no issue with focusing on Christ, instead of the commercialism of Christmas. It is definitely needed. But sadly, I think the two ideas got smushed together and a lot of good intentioned people put two things together that shouldn’t necessarily have been joined. God Bless!

    • I absolutely agree with you! There are many well intentioned people that simply got caught up in the sentiment without fully thinking it through, I believe. (Although it clearly still bothers me!) As much as I adore the holiday season, I completely agree that it is too commercialized and I avoid shopping in December like the plague, even if it is simply grocery shopping. I am thankful that my family focuses on spending time together and simple, thoughtful gifts versus grandiose spending. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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