I probably shouldn’t even honor this faux-controversy by writing about it on my blog, but since I think my readership is up to, you know, zero, I hardly think I am adding to the problem. Plus, it’s bugging me.
As a Jewish person who also celebrates Christmas with my pseudo-Catholic mom, I have always thought “happy holidays” makes the most sense, since you don’t know which of the many holidays the person you’re speaking to might be celebrating, and no matter what, they are celebrating New Year’s Eve/Day, so chances are, the plural is relevant. Plus, even atheists have a day or two off of work, which is called a “holiday,” so it’s grammatically correct, accurate, and inclusive. But it has never bothered me when people say, “Merry Christmas” to me since even if it’s not accurate, it’s still nice, and maybe that should be the most important thing, right?
But not anymore. Because of the creation of this faux-controversy, now it is reasonable to assume that a person saying “Merry Christmas” is in fact a disciple of Bill O’Reilly, a person who buys in to the belief that there’s a “War on Christmas,” despite all evidence to the contrary. This person is not just being nice when s/he says “Merry Christmas.” This person is now saying, “I am a beleagured Christian who is suffering the slings and arrows of oppression in this country! Where there is so much hate for Christianity that there’s even a war on Christmas! So I will fight against those secular liberal PC-police* (by which I mean Jews) by saying to you, ‘Merry Christmas!’ So hah!”
And conversely, “Happy Holidays” is no longer a nice, inclusive thing to say. It now means, “No! I am the truly beleagured one! You are a moron! So hah!” So basically, this faux-controversy has taken two perfectly nice phrases, which were used in good spirit and cheer, with the intent of making someone else a little bit cheerier, and made them combative phrases. Great.
I even heard one woman say that her minister told her to say “Merry Christmas” because it’s a merry Christmas to her. Funny, I thought speech was intended to communicate with others, not to serve as a constant, out-loud diary.
*Wouldn’t it make a great Project Runway challenge to have them design uniforms for the PC police?