"Happy Holidays" offensive?

[deleted account] ( 73 moms have responded )

Just came upon a discussion on Facebook about this. A bunch of people claiming to be "Christians" were bashing other people for saying "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas." I think that's silly and not very Christ-like, or at least not Christ-like according to how I was taught.



So that leads me to wonder how on Earth is "happy holidays" at all offensive? Or any related phrase, for that matter?



To me, that's like being offended by someone saying have a good day. It's like, really? How can you be offended by someone wishing you well?

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[deleted account]

I'm with Sherri. I find it offensive if society is telling me I have to say it. I will wish Merry Christmas but I don't care if you wish me Happy Holidays. Goodwill comes from within, not from the "P.C. police."

Johnny - posted on 10/18/2012

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By the way, the "Christmas" treee is not just for Christmas. It's all good if that's what it means to you, but the tree is also a symbol of the traditional pagan Yule celebrations, which is where the Christians borrowed it from. I have zero problem with the fact that for many it is indeed a Christmas tree, and that does not offend me in the least. I do not think any one group needs to be so focused on OWNING the holiday season. What does offend me is being told not to utilize traditional pagan symbols such as wreaths and trees during Yule because I don't celebrate Christmas. It just seems like some groups aren't so great at learning to share, ironic given that they borrowed the symbols in the first place.



Just because you think that Happy Holidays is "politically correct" does not necessarily make it true for the person saying it. I use it because I don't celebrate Christmas or Hannukah or Diwali or Kwanza and most in North America think that Yule is that log they stick into their fireplace or that's made of sponge cake. I always appreciate being wished a Happy or Merry anything, so it's not about being offended. I am not making special demands, I am just looing for equal respect. I was born and raised in North America to parents born and raised in North America and grandparents born and raised in North America and I celebrate the tradtions passed down in MY family. Just like many other non-Christians. I have every right to expect respect and I am happy to give it t others, regardless of their religion, their ethicity, their celebratory choice, or where they come from.



Most retailers here list all the holidays and add happy holidays as well. They wish to be inclusive in what is a very diverse society. It would be completely unacceptable to bring the religious symbols of one group into the schools and leave all the other groups out in the cold. Where I live, in the month of December, most relgious holidays are mentioned, discussed and taught in the schools. Christmas, Hannukah, Yule, Kwanza, Yule, Diwali, sometimes Ramaddan (depending on when it falls). But none of these are the subject of all the celebrations because that would be rude and discriminatory and intolerant. Intolerance is actually expecting everyone to do as you do and like what you like and be just like you. Asking to be treated with equality and respect ISN'T intolerance.

Denikka - posted on 10/17/2012

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I think the main issue with *Happy Holidays* is the political correctness issues. When that came about, it was kinda a slap in the face for every single holiday out there. It's like *don't you DARE mention your beliefs or anything that may imply that you may believe differently from someone else because you may offend someone*.

Which is stupid. Because I have never actually heard of or seen someone getting offended by being wished a *Happy -whatever holiday they don't actually celebrate-*. All the hype was from those who were trying NOT to offend other people. . .totally moronic propaganda.

Sylvia - posted on 10/22/2012

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I think there are a few things going on here. One is that members of the majority culture have a really hard time seeing past their own privilege -- that is, a Jewish/Muslim/Hindu/Buddhist/Pagan/Sikh/Jain/Taoist/whatever who doesn't celebrate Christmas is "being oversensitive" when they admit it feels weird to have people constantly wishing them a Merry Thing They Don't Celebrate, but a Christian (or other Christmas-celebrating person) is fully justified in their offence at wished a happy holiday instead of a merry Christmas, and/or at being asked or instructed to use a (somewhat) religion-neutral term. Another is the so-called War on Christmas, which as Beth points out upthread is a complete fabrication. A third is that "Happy Holidays" (notwithstanding the classic Bing Crosby tune of the same name) just doesn't have the same historically authentic ring to it, for most North American Anglophones, that "Merry Christmas" does. Also, people don't like being told what to do ;)



I'm Jewish, and my friends and co-workers know I'm Jewish. I enjoy it when they take the time and trouble to remember to wish me a happy [insert Jewish holiday of your choice] here. I'm not *offended* by being wished a Merry Christmas -- and yes, here in mega-multicultural Toronto where the traditional WASP Christmas is supposedly under attack, it happens all the time -- but it does make me feel a bit weird. And that's even though I'm married to a Christmas-celebrating (though not Christian) dude and we have a little Christmas tree in our apartment. (Yeah, next to the chanukiah. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do.) Honestly, I can understand the impetus behind the "Happy Holidays" directive: it's not "We don't dare say 'Merry Christmas' because we might offend somebody", it's "We recognize that Christmas isn't the only game in town, and this is our somewhat ham-handed attempt to not be dicks about it".



I do think one can go too far. When I see a TV commercial where someone's asking someone else "What did Santa bring you for the holidays?", that's just dumb -- if Santa's bringing you stuff, the holiday you're celebrating is Christmas. But I think the *intent* is basically good.



Of course, as I mentioned, I live in a mega-multicultural large city. I imagine there are still a lot of places in North America where everyone who lives there *does* celebrate Christmas.

Tracey - posted on 10/18/2012

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Surely the real problem is when people are too scared to mention a particular religion for fear of being sued or accused of racism / religious intolerance. Not only must my son's school say Happy Celebrations but they are trying to ban giving christmas cards especially religious ones in case it offends the non christian families. We can't have a Christmas Tree - it has to be a festive tree, which can only have celebration decorations. Feels like trying to celebrate Christmas without acknowledging what it is. We can have Santa abusing reindeer or drunk half naked carol singers singing expletive ridden songs and thats OK but Jesus, angels or even shepherds looking at a star and those in authority run around like headless chickens wondering if anyone is offended.

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[deleted account]

My mother when dealing with this issue (that being a person who wishes you a Merry Christmas with a bit too much zeal if you know I mean) is to respond with a "A Blesseed Advent to you as well" and enjoys seeing the perplexed facial response.



One person literally yelled at her, stating that it was horrible she wasn't able to wish a Merry Christmas on her job.



The ignorance is astoundingly funny at times.

[deleted account]

I have no problem with anyone wishing me a pleasant holiday no matter what it is. By all means, I have no problem when you wish me a "Merry Christmas!" Just as long as I don't get grief when I wish them a Happy Yule back. As a Wiccan, whose holiday celebrations were mostly borrowed by Christianity (archaeological fact!), I get a bit sick of the BS from the Christian community about how this is strictly "their" holiday and how dare anyone try to celebrate something different. In fact, there are a multitude of religious traditions that celebrate this time of the year a special and holy. Not to mention the purely secular, somewhat commercial holiday that many celebrate that has absolutely nothing to do with religion. I don't anyone means to oppress Christians by wishing them a "Happy Holidays!". Most people simply are trying not to offend. Most people don't wear badges stating their religious preferences, so "Happy Holidays" is a great way to do it. After all, most of this "war on Christmas" thing is an invention of greedy preachers to stir up the faithful and rake in more donations anyway.

Barbara - posted on 12/04/2012

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Saying Happy Holidays was only meant to appease everyone during the holiday season. I still say Merry Christmas to my Christian friends and family and happy holidays to everyone else. No one should be offended when you wish people well. Old school likes Merry Christmas because that is how they were brought up when back in the 60s your circle of friends were limited. Today everyone is more global and lets all have fun and peace on this holiday season. PEACE AND LOVE.

Jodi - posted on 12/02/2012

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Ugh! There are a couple of people on my facebook who have been "sharing" this post that says "It's Merry Christmas, NOT Happy Holidays!" Well, I don't celebrate Christmas, so actually, I guess I could say it's Blessed Yule, NOT Merry Christmas!



I really don't care, if someone wishes me Merry Christmas, Happy Hannuka, Have a nice day or Happy Holidays, it's a nice thing they're trying to say...and people are getting offended?! It is actually because of the people on my facebook that my profile picture says "You can say Happy Holidays to me!"



I just hate it when Christians (and I mean, the ones on my facebook that I personally know) treat December as their own personal religious month. I'm sorry, but Yule starts before Christmas and ends after it, so my holidays takes up more of the month than yours if you want to technical! If I said Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas (which I DO say to the people that I KNOW celebrate Christmas) and someone got pissed at me, I would have an earful for them for being ungrateful cretins unworthy of good tidings!

Leyla - posted on 11/30/2012

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I consider myself to be a Christian, and neither offends me. Whatever each person wants to say is fine by me. Besides, God is the only one that should be judging everyone. As a Christian, we are supposed to try to be Christ-Like, which means to be kind to others. Being offended over someone's choice of tersm doesn't seem very kind. I sometimes say Happy Holidays because it emcompasses both Christmas and New Years.

Momma - posted on 11/27/2012

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I am agnostic and I say Merry Christmas for the most part. If they don't like it, they can suck it! Not my problem, just trying to be nice, if they don't like that, then I can be a bitch. Whatever, they choose.



~Meme

[deleted account]

It is NOT offensive to me to be wished Happy Holidays and I use the phrase when I don't KNOW for sure what someone celebrates. Not because I am afraid they will take offense - but because I can't read minds and I don't expect anyone else to read mine. How can you possibly know what someone celebrates unless you know them personally? So with the diversity this great country brings, how can anyone possibly find something to complain about with a generic term/Kind Wish?? In fact, if you CAN'T accept a general kindness like that - the odds are you don't have a clue what the spiritual message behind your "chosen" holiday greeting actually means! Merry Christmas, Happy Hannuka, Joyous Kwanza, etc... = Peace and Goodwill towards ALL.



Peace :D

Sherri - posted on 11/11/2012

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@Jen never said it angered me. Caught me off guard and thought it was uncalled for. Yup

[deleted account]

If some stranger barks at me because I wish them Happy Holidays and not their religious greeting of choice, I generally ignore them. I don't argue with people who attack me in public. They're likely brain-damaged. I say the same should apply to you. I mean, why are you upset over a stranger?



I don't get upset if someone is angered when I wish them Happy HOlidays vs Merry Christmas. At most, I will say, "I'm terribly sorry, I didn't know you were a Christian. Please look up Matthew 5 verse 38-48"



(Yes,. I really do give them chapter/verse) And I ignore it.



Granted it's a lot harder after my nervous breakdown and ECT treatments but I do my best not to respond rudely to rudeness.

**Jackie** - posted on 11/10/2012

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I say Merry Christmas because 9 times out of 10, that person celebrates Christmas or will not get mad if they don't. However, after reading all of these posts, I will be saying Happy Holidays to strangers unless they say Merry Christmas to me. I don't want to offend anyone, I just want to wish them a happy holiday,

Sherri - posted on 11/10/2012

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@Jen I am a SAHM so nope not an employer. It has happened a few times in public when I was being nice around the holidays. Once when someone held a door for me and I said thank you and Merry Christmas and a few other times.

Tracey - posted on 11/10/2012

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Do Mcdonalds really make staff ask if people want fries with their fries?

Kimberlee - posted on 11/10/2012

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Everyone should just enjoy their Holidays and stop complaining about someone saying happy holidays. Its petty. No-one owns the holidays after all , and if I say happy holidays it's because I don't know which one you celebrate.

Kathy - posted on 11/09/2012

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"Do you want fries with that?" is work related. Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays/enjoy your Festivus is not.



Now it is possible the work place is trying to promote inclusiveness (which is nice) but inclusiveness does include Christians. My sister works at a daycare in Montreal. She is allowed (encouraged) to celebrate all sorts of cultural and religious traditions - but not Christian ones. The idea is "Chrisitanity is everywhere- we do not need to celebrate it because it is pervasive" but the whole thing leaves a bad taste in many peoples mouths.



ETA: In case I have not been clear: I do not care whether people say - "Happy Holidays" or "Merry Christmas." I am not so ok with people getting their knickers in a knot when someone says the other one.

[deleted account]

Was that by your employer?



ETA: if It wasn't and it was some random jerk on the street, I don't see why you would give that person any more credence someone who shhouts an insult about your weight (Just as an example)

Sherri - posted on 11/09/2012

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Oh I have Jen. I have been screamed at before saying Merry Christmas to people in public.

[deleted account]

But Kathy, I have yet to have someone show me where they were forced to not say it in a private or public discussion. I don't count a company making employees say things bcause they do that all the time. It's just like when I worked my last job and had to answer the phone, "Thank you for calling Bank One where one gets it done."



Oh god, the comments I got from people after that. My friend used to work for Fashion Bug and had to give an entire sales pitch in their phone greeting.



So I don't see Happy HOlidays/Merry Christmas being any different than McDonalds making cashiers ask, "Would you like fries with that? " even if the customer only orders fries.

Kathy - posted on 11/08/2012

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"You see it as controlling. I see it as them no longer getting favorite child status." Jen.



Yes, it is controlling. Telling people what to say (particularly when it is non-offensive) is controlling.



Being annoyed over losing "favoured child status" (which I sort of doubt - I think there are other reasons for Christian annoyance ) is somewhat irrelevant to the question of whether telling people they cannot wish other people "Merry Christmas" is controlling.



I am agnostic, fwiw. I just think Christians got a bit of a bum rap on this whole thing. I cannot imagine telling Jewish people they cannot wish someone Happy Hanukkah (the mind boggles). Simply because Christians tend to be a more common or dominant religion does not mean their religion should be whitewashed, or they should be told what they can and cannot say.

[deleted account]

No, I wouldn't. My mother is a Christian (Episcopalian variety) and she completely agrees with me. She worked retail for several years and would say either MC or HH. She was reamed by some so-called Chrsitians for daring to say HH because thats' what came out of her mouth. Then shshe would say MC - one person said to her, "Oh they allow you tosay MC?"



She told them that she wasn't u nder any compulsion to do either.



So I stand by my words.

Lakota - posted on 11/08/2012

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"You see it as controlling. I see it as them no longer getting favorite child status."



Jen, you wouldn't that if the tables were turned.

[deleted account]

For the last decade or so many Christians were told not to say "Merry Christmas" (workplace, schools….) I think they are justifiably ticked off about it. Telling people what to say is controlling

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You see it as controlling. I see it as them no longer getting favorite child status.

**Jackie** - posted on 11/08/2012

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I have to say....we have a lot of agnostic/atheists in my family (about 10ish) and they get more amped up about being told Merry Christmas than I would about being told Happy Holidays. There was a fun-filled holiday fight fest 2 Christmases ago and boyyyy was it loud lol Every Christian in the room, with the exception of my drunk aunt, just kept their mouth shut while the not so Christian people in the family poked fun at the angel decorations.

Vera - posted on 11/08/2012

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Hi Kathy! there are a lot of christians in my family and they usually like to scold people because they believe we are degrading ther traditions when we say happy holidays, but I do agree, not all christians are like that, in my particular case, some of my family members are.

Kathy - posted on 11/08/2012

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Vera…..I don't think Christians are uptight. For the last decade or so many Christians were told not to say "Merry Christmas" (workplace, schools….) I think they are justifiably ticked off about it. Telling people what to say is controlling.



However, some people like to say Happy Holidays for one reason or another. It is a nice to wish someone Happy Holidays. Choosing to say Happy Holidays does not mean you were part of the group that mandated the demise of the term "Merry Christmas" When Christians getting ticked off at all people who say "Happy Holidays" it is misplaced anger, in my opinion.

Tracey - posted on 11/08/2012

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I always understood that when the Roman Empire invaded non christian European countries they swept aside local & pagan beliefs / customs / fesitvals and adapted them to conform to Christianity, including Christmas and Easter, but not wanting to get into an arguement which will not change anyone's mind, I hope everyone has a good time no matter what or when they celebrate.

Vera - posted on 11/07/2012

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Christians can be really uptight. Whatever your religion is I hope you have a great time and I will always say Happy Holidays if I donpt know what religion you practice.

Amanda - posted on 11/07/2012

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I honestly believe "Happy Holidays" is something our private sector began because they realized they were offending people (both customers and employees) of other religions with holidays in the same season. I'm not at all offended by anyone saying happy anything to me whether it be Holidays, Christmas, Hanukkah, Three Kings Day, Kwanzaa,Winter Solstice, or whatever. I don't care, all they're doing is giving me a blessing and if I say Happy Hanukkah back to them it's my return of the blessing in my own way. Happy Holidays is only for the masses IMO, we as individuals can give whatever blessing we want in any form of words.

[deleted account]

Personally I think that if they're that offended by "Happy Holidays" then they really don't give a crap about the holiday at all. They just want to censor everyone else and show how they're more Christian than anyone else.

Kimberlee - posted on 11/05/2012

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Jackie I thought everyone knew that the church hijacked christmas , but please feel free to search away.

**Jackie** - posted on 11/05/2012

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Thanks for taking the time to copy and paste that from your first search result from google but I'm not buying it.





I shall put forth the same effort



Christmas is celebrated on December 25th, which is very close to the winter solstice. Many pagan cultures had festivals (even regarding the sun) around the time of the winter solstice

Kimberlee - posted on 11/05/2012

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No , it had nothing to do with Christ and trees etc were all taken from the pagan religion ;



The date of December 25th probably originated with the ancient "birthday" of the son-god, Mithra, a pagan deity whose religious influence became widespread in the Roman Empire during the first few centuries A.D. Mithra was related to the Semitic sun-god, Shamash, and his worship spread throughout Asia to Europe where he was called Deus Sol Invictus Mithras. Rome was well-known for absorbing the pagan religions and rituals of its widespread empire. As such, Rome converted this pagan legacy to a celebration of the god, Saturn, and the rebirth of the sun god during the winter solstice period. The winter holiday became known as Saturnalia and began the week prior to December 25th. The festival was characterized by gift-giving, feasting, singing and downright debauchery, as the priests of Saturn carried wreaths of evergreen boughs in procession throughout the Roman temples.



Variations of this pagan holiday flourished throughout the first few centuries after Jesus Christ, but it probably wasn't until 336 AD that Emperor Constantine officially converted this pagan tradition into the "Christian" holiday of Christmas.

Kimberlee - posted on 11/04/2012

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So silly. I have heard the argument and it's usually grounded in some version of "They are trying to take christ out of the holiday" , now since the roots of Christmas have nothing to do with Christ , I don't see why they have an issue at all. If they believe it's a christ centered holiday then as far as I'm concerned they can say Merry Christmas , I don't care.

**Jackie** - posted on 11/02/2012

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I always say Merry Christmas! When I worked at a bank, we were told to only say Happy Holidays and after a few weeks we had so many corporate calls from clients about how impersonal and "robotic" it was and that they would rather not be told anything at all than happy holidays. I believe they took it to the extreme but so can people that aren't Christian and don't want to be told Merry Christmas.



I'm not Jewish, but if someone said Happy Hanukkah to me I'd say it back. It's a happy time!



I swear, you would think in 2012, we would be a bit more open-minded and not so bitchy about everything. Between civil rights, equal lending/labor laws, huge diversity, gay marriages, and different religious beliefs out the ying yang we would be a little bit more accepting.

Lakota - posted on 11/01/2012

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It's Christmas time, so it's Merry Christmas. It's a Christian holiday. I don't think it's right that other people would "bash" someone for saying "Happy Holidays". But, I don't think it's right for someone to "bash" other for thinking it should be "Merry Christmas" and not the political correct "Happy Holidays".

West - posted on 11/01/2012

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Wow that is like the least offensive statement ever! There are other cultures and religions besides Christianity. We all have winter holidays so that's the perfect way to be inclusive. Most Christians dont even know the real basis of why we celebrate in December, but that's another discussion.

Julie - posted on 10/21/2012

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This is how it is offensive:

I've heard the opposite. Christians says other religions are trying to take the CHRIST out of CHRISTmas because it is not what they believe, or practice or celebrate during the holidays, and so it should not be FORCED on everyone.

I personally don't care what you say or how you say it, but those with intimate relations with Christ, are offended at the removal of his name.

Qui - posted on 10/21/2012

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If I know people personally who celebrate Christmas, I will say "Merry Christmas to you" but not just "Merry Christmas. This is just me. I do not celebrate Christmas, but I don't have a holy conniption if someone says it to me...did people forget it is ok to politely tell someone thanks but I don't celebrate this that or the third? Even when i lived overseas...I don't particularly care where I am or where you are from...I can phrase my happy greetings as generalized as I please, if it behooves me...but I try to respect what I do know for a fact in that light as well. If I am unsure, chances are, I probably wont say anything at all over a particular holiday season, as I don't like to assume one person celebrates something just because the masses do.

[deleted account]

I've had people say Merry Christmas to me my whole life and I'll happily reply with a Happy Hanukkah. No big deal. It's a gesture of good-will at the holidays and not mean tin an offesnive manner.

Beth - posted on 10/21/2012

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There's a certain segment of the Christian population that, for some reason, feels like Christmas is "under attack", and that wishing people happy holidays is part of that. But the truth is that Christmas is and always will be the number one celebrated holiday in the world, and is in no danger of "attack" now, or ever. Even if you contend that everyone should be celebrating Christmas and nothing else (which I DO NOT feel is true), happy holidays still refers to the Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Years grouping of holidays. And how could even the most devout Christian have a problem with that? Like you said, it's completely un-Christlike to go around telling people how you can or cannot wish them a happy holiday season. They are splitting hairs, and acting like bigots.

Corena - posted on 10/20/2012

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I am a Christian. I am not at all offended by Happy Holidays. I am offended by not being "allowed" to say Merry Christmas.

Just saying...

[deleted account]

I don't find happy holidays offensive, but I personally say merry Christmas or happy Thanksgiving or whatever. I grew up in a small town where most of the population is Catholic went to a Catholic elementary school for 6 years then in high school 90% of the students were Catholic or some other Christan denomination so for 18 years I didn't have to worry about offending anyone. Now it is still habit to say merry Christmas, if I offend anyone they have never said anything to me.

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