It’s that time of year again when the weather gets colder, the air gets crisper and winter is fast approaching. With the change of weather comes the upcoming Christmas season. That’s right I said Christmas, not holiday. It’s also the time of year when the topic of openly expressing Christmas spirit is questioned. The debate on whether it is acceptable to wish someone a Merry Christmas has been going on for years and it’s not about to cease anytime soon.
Does saying “Merry Christmas” exclude other religions?
For my first job, I worked at Target for five years and five Christmas seasons. Each year, I had a different experience and was told different things regarding saying “Merry Christmas”. For my first year, I wasn’t told anything and happily wished each and every customer a Merry Christmas. None of my customers complained and some were even shocked and pleased that I had uttered those two words. I discovered that a few of my co-workers were Jehovah’s Witnesses and did not celebrate Christmas or any other holiday. However, these co-workers were not offended when I unknowingly wished them a Merry Christmas.
During a later year, I was told that we were not allowed to wish customers a Merry Christmas. Instead, I was instructed to say, “Happy Holidays” or to not say anything at all. Even when I worked on Christmas Eve I still couldn’t say it. This always bothered me because it limited my free speech rights. Also, I had many customers complain that they wanted to be wished a Merry Christmas. During my five years working retail, I did have some customers who wished me a “Happy Hanukkah” to which I replied, “thank you, you as well.” I am Christian and do not celebrate Hanukkah, but I did not take offense to the customer but was happy that they had taken the time to wish me a pleasant season.
Spreading Christmas cheer is not shutting out other religions
Despite what some people think, spreading Christmas cheer is not meant to shut out other religions or force Christmas upon anyone. By wishing someone a Merry Christmas, you are simply saying that you are Christian and celebrating Christmas and you wish them well. I also don’t see a problem with saying “Happy Holidays” or both, “Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.” People should have the right to say whatever they want. After all, is saying “Merry Christmas” really that offensive?
Why Isn’t there a war on Halloween?
While Halloween is not an official holiday, many people don’t celebrate Halloween because they feel it is a pagan holiday. Yet, as far as I know, it is acceptable to say, “Happy Halloween” without the fear of offending those who don’t celebrate it. There is no war on Halloween. Why? Is it because all those who don’t celebrate Halloween are Christian and don’t take offense? Why can’t Christmas be like that? The argument for saying “Happy Holidays” is that it is inclusive of other holidays. While I do not have a problem with people using this phrase, employees should not be forced to use it but should have the freedom to wish customers warm wishes for any holiday they celebrate.
Do you think Christmas excludes other religions? Should we say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays? Let us know in the comments below!