The Catalyst

“Merry Christmas” or “Happy holidays”?

Jean Aquino, Opinion Editor

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December is here, and Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and other winter holidays are approaching fast. Though a happy, joyous, and merry time, it is important for Americans to discuss what is the most appropriate season’s greeting.

Check any store. There are cards, decorations, sweaters, and just about everything else plastered with the phrase “Merry Christmas.” But, what about Boxing Day? Hanukkah? Kwanzaa? Even New Year’s sits in the green and red shadow of Christmas. Sure, the commercialization of Christmas not only takes away from the true spirit of the holiday, but it also fails to embrace the other just as important celebrations of the season.

Another thought is that many of us who have attended Catholic school have simply grown up saying, “Merry Christmas” to everyone, from one’s family and friends to cashiers at the stores to random strangers in public. Using the phrase, “Merry Christmas” as a greeting is not offensive in itself, but to someone that does not celebrate it, it can be very awkward to realize that they do not celebrate the holiday as well as insensitive to this month’s other cultural, religious, and social holidays. And, in addition, the response is limiting as one could explain that they do not celebrate the holiday or just pretend that they do.

Americans are part of the world’s biggest melting pot of cultures, ethnicities and races, and religions. The holidays are no exception as they reflect just that. Though widely popular, one cannot assume that everyone is a Christian and celebrates Jesus’ birthday. There are other celebrations, events, and holidays happening simultaneously. A  broader greeting, such as “Happy Holidays,” fits the very same purpose as “Merry Christmas” and is much more inclusive of everyone.

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“Merry Christmas” or “Happy holidays”?