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Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas?


120 replies to this topic

#1 Castel

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 02:50 AM

This is something that conservatives complain about that I've always been curious about: why do you say, happy holidays on Christmas?

I kind of see the conservative viewpoint on this, the holiday is Christmas, why exactly would you want to pretend to cover it up? Is anyone really going to not see the point of the holiday?

I just really can't see a reason for this phrasing, apart from maybe the fact that the school and work system favor Christian holidays and that it should not be so, so of course, people pretend that it's a generic holiday.

Opinions?

#2 Sci-2

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 02:52 AM

Isn't the holiday actually some pagan tribute to Winter Solstice?

#3 Castel

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 03:03 AM

Isn't the holiday actually some pagan tribute to Winter Solstice?


Is that relevant?

#4 Aoife

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 03:10 AM

Christmas is not the only holiday this time of year, and it's nice to acknowledge that not everyone's celebrating it.

Honestly, I often just refer to it as our 'winter break' or 'year-end break' at work, because a number of people choose not to celebrate anything.

#5 Castel

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 03:16 AM

Christmas is not the only holiday this time of year, and it's nice to acknowledge that not everyone's celebrating it.

Honestly, I often just refer to it as our 'winter break' or 'year-end break' at work, because a number of people choose not to celebrate anything.


The winter break thing I can see , but when talking about Dec. 25 why would you be vague when everyone knows what you mean? It is generally held to mean Christmas now, regardless of what long dead Romans thought it meant.

Why does it matter if people celebrate it or not? I mean, Christmas seems like a holiday very divorced from religion. People can enjoy it without being religious and even if they weren't...so?

The argument about other holidays being around the same time period is interesting though.I wasn't aware that there was a lot of overlap.

#6 Aoife

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 03:24 AM

Oh, on Christmas itself I will either say 'Merry/Happy Christmas' (if speaking to someone whom I know celebrates, particularly the more devout) or treat it as any other day (for the rest of us).

In general, though, the complaints tend to be about more wide-reaching uses than that, so that's what I thought you were talking about. (For example, 'Happy Holidays' cards being sent out, or schools having 'Winter Concerts' or whatever.)

#7 Happy Ent

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 03:29 AM

I mean, Christmas seems like a holiday very divorced from religion. People can enjoy it without being religious and even if they weren't...so?

I’m not American, so I can only speculate…

The very word Christmas is as religious as it gets. Say, if you’re Jewish, you may not want to be wished to enjoy the birth of the person your people have been persecuted for killing. Holidays is a better word, then.

In other languages, the problem does not exist. For example, Weihnachten or jul or noël do not refer to Christ.

#8 Soylent Brown

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 03:33 AM

What people chose to call the holiday break has no bearing on my time off, and what I do with it, so it doesn't bother me in the slightest whether others are celebrating Chrismas, Winterfest, Ultimatecowabunga or whatever.

#9 baxus

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 03:50 AM

our christmas is not on dec 25th, but on january 7th.
only relevance it bears for me is that i get day(s) of from work after new year, not before /smile.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':)' />

#10 Greywolf2375

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 04:56 AM

Depends on the situation - if I am talking to someone I won't speak to before the end of the year, I say Happy Holidays. If I am speaking to someone I know celebrates Christmas and will see them again soon, Merry Christmas. If I am speaking to someone without knowing what they might celebrate or not celebrate - "may evil get confused on the way to your door. And don't take wooden nickels."

#11 MinDonner

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 05:08 AM

I think "Season's greetings!" should make a comeback. Just because it would be hilarious to have everyone talking like a Hallmark card. If that works, "Best wishes!" should soon follow, for birthdays and the like.


(but seriously, it's kind of odd how greetings cards still contain these phrases which have almost totally fallen out of verbal conversation.)

#12 Castel

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 05:12 AM

I’m not American, so I can only speculate…

The very word Christmas is as religious as it gets. Say, if you’re Jewish, you may not want to be wished to enjoy the birth of the person your people have been persecuted for killing. Holidays is a better word, then.

In other languages, the problem does not exist. For example, Weihnachten or jul or noël do not refer to Christ.


The word is religious, but telling someone to enjoy the day of Christmas doesn't imply that they'll have to go off and complete some ritual like slaughtering a ram. The "Christ" at the front does not change this.


Do Jews really dislike the word Christmas because somebody else murdered Jews in the name of Christ? Because this is the first I'm hearing about this..

Edited by Castel, 11 December 2012 - 05:12 AM.


#13 Happy Ent

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 05:16 AM

Do Jews really dislike the word Christmas because somebody else murdered Jews in the name of Christ? Because this is the first I'm hearing about this..

As I said, I’m only speculating. (Also, I’m not a fan of telling people what words to use to not cause offence, so I’m not much of an authority.)

#14 MinDonner

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 05:28 AM

Does anyone actually get offended by "Happy Christmas"? Or is it more of an exclusion thing? I would strongly suspect the latter. Having lived in a country (Japan) where Christmas is not really that important, I can say that it's slightly annoying to have your main national holiday sorta disregarded. Like, we all had to work on Christmas Day and then take the decorations down that evening because New Year was the big celebration and who gives a crap about Christmas anyway? So I can see how "Happy Holidays" would be a less sectarian phrase to use, that's not effectively saying "Happy MY celebration and let's ignore yours". /dunno.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':dunno:' />

That said, it's not really relevant to British English, as "holidays" here mainly means summer vacations. So meh.

#15 Usotsuki

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 05:45 AM

I think that was just you and Mr Lawrence.

We had a Christmas party for the teachers and the students on the twenty third (attendance mandatory), a bonenkai on the twenty fourth (attendance highly recommended - the booze was free), and then two weeks holiday funded by a bonus of one month's salary.

#16 K.C.

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 05:49 AM

Examination of the semantics alone kind of misses the point. The conception of the "War on Christmas" has to do with a wider persecution complex, the notion that religion itself is under attack from those dirty atheists (did you know they give less to charity than their religious counterparts) who want to take God off our money, remove his name from the Pledge of Allegiance, and make Christmas illegal. It stems from battles over religion in the public sphere and usually boils down to the removal of a manger scene because someone complained or the renaming of a Christmas tree to a holiday tree.

I personally think renaming the Christmas tree is kind of dumb, but I get the inclusiveness angle. People who work for the government and have seen the Christmas party renamed the end-of-the-year get-together or holiday hoo-hah or what have you understand where this is coming from. My personal take is that it's one of those quirky, only-in-America things you have to shake your head and laugh at.

#17 MinDonner

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 05:56 AM

I think that was just you and Mr Lawrence.

We had a Christmas party for the teachers and the students on the twenty third (attendance mandatory), a bonenkai on the twenty fourth (attendance highly recommended - the booze was free), and then two weeks holiday funded by a bonus of one month's salary.


Bah! *shakes fist*

"Disregarded" was probably the wrong word, but I'm not sure how else to describe it. "Missed the point of", possibly? I mean the streets were full of decorations ("Have a Hearty Christmas" *hearts everywhere*), and the bloody amusement arcade opposite did a wonderful beepy rendition of "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" on repeat for the whole of December, and there was a massive Christmas tree on the main shopping street with an epilepsy-inducing lightshow while Phantom-of-the-Opera-esque organ music boomed out and wide-eyed punters gawped for hours open-mouthed... but it was just a Themed Shopping Extravaganza and all got taken down when the shops closed on the 25th.

As for my workplace... bah again. We only got New Year's off because the whole school was closed. One year we got a 500 yen bonus because it had been the best sales month evar? That went down well. /dry.png' class='bbc_emoticon' alt='<_<' />

#18 Celadeyr

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 06:02 AM

I'm confused. I thought I was the one imprisoned by the Japanese and Herewarped was the one unwilling to leave his swamp ancestral home.

#19 Usotsuki

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 06:09 AM

I broke character I'm afraid.

I tried getting the once-and-future-ex to pretend to be either a valet or a swamp-dwelling-inbred last night unfortunately he got horribly confused and tried to serve martinis whilst wearing a gimp mask. It got extremely messy.

We now return you to your scheduled thread.

#20 Rubies & Jade

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 06:14 AM

I've never known anyone to get offended by "merry christmas". the only people that worry about these things are the crazy right-wing conservatives who honestly think that Christianity is under attack. and that is seriously crazy. There is no "war on Christmas"... its a ridiculous concept and a manufactured news story.
I often use "happy holidays"... I live in city, and come from a family, with multiple religions and traditions~why not include them all? I use "happy holidays" because I'm not always referring to Christmas. and even if I'm talking to someone who celebrates Christmas, why not include New Years in my good wishes? anyone who gets offended by anyone wishing them well on during the holidays has a problem. and I'll continue to use "happy holidays".



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