I read an article the other day about someone who unapologetically and proudly says “Merry Christmas” to people as she goes through her holiday activities. To her, it’s an enthusiastic and joyful expression of her holiday, and she wants everyone to know and experience her happiness. Several times this season, I was the recipient of “Merry Christmas,” rather than the other, more “inclusive” expressions, like “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings.” At the grocery store, at Starbucks (refuting the Starbucks is anti-Christmas claims of the crazies out there), and at restaurants. It didn’t bother me, certainly, because I imagine everyone is able to say what they want to celebrate the holidays.
Me, personally? I have always preferred a solid “Happy Holidays.” I don’t know why, and I could never explain the origin of it, but to say “Merry Christmas,” feels kinda weird to me. And “Happy Holidays” is a perfect, generic, and easy expression for me.But here’s the thing. When someone says “Merry Christmas” to me, am I compelled to say it back? Do they feel like I’m sending a gentle rebuke when I reply with “Happy Holidays” instead? I hope not. This world has gotten so crazy, that now, I fear for offending someone because I prefer an ambiguous and generic greeting, rather than the overtly religious greeting. So bizarre.