Why is Christmas a bad word??

[deleted account] ( 30 moms have responded )

I'm so tired of 'Happy Holiday's' and 'Season's Greetings' - Why do I feel like I said some bad word if Merry Christmas slips out. Like I may get a ticket for uttering such an offensive term? People talk about inclusivity and I counter that with what about tolerance for others? I would not be offended if someone said Happy Hanukkah or Happy Kwanza!! Feel free to share all the wonderful blessings of your traditions. After all, when I say Merry Christmas, I'm saying, 'joy, peace and hope to your family, many blessings of good things'. I AM NOT saying. . ‘follow my religion or else’.. . I just wish people would lighten up a bit. I struggle to even enjoy the 'season' anymore. God forbid you mention Jesus during this time, don't say his name, don't display a cross and your menorahs, hide your Christmas trees behind closed doors; we wouldn’t want to upset anybody by our freedom of expression. BUT DO come to our stores and buy tons of stuff. We’ll call them seasonal gifts even though everybody Frickin’ knows they are Christmas and/or Hanukkah gifts. Maybe I’m being little Grinch but I'm tired of having every little joy being ripped away because one person was offended!!! What about majority rule, power of the people? Nope- - one crotchety person complains and Christmas is blacklisted!! O.K., that's it. . .had to get that out!! I will close with MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY!!! And that’s from the heart, regardless of your denomination, I wish you and yours.. . well. ..

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Jennifer - posted on 12/26/2009

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Quoting Laura:

I've never heard of anybody ever being upset at hearing "Merry Christmas"...I said it to my Jewish friend the other day...and she beamed at me and wished me a "Happy Hanukkah" It was exactly as it should be. I wish people a Happy Holiday when I don't know them or what they celebrate...that's just to be thoughtful and yes "inclusive" though I know some people believe that's a dirty word.

I honestly feel that this "war on Christmas" is an Urban myth...it doesn't exist...it never has.


I agree. My atheist Mother-in-Law celebrates Christmas and wishes us Merry Christmas just as much as my Baptist father.  The people who make a stink about "Merry Chirstmas" tend to be the types that make stinks about things.

Krista - posted on 12/18/2009

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Quoting Allison:

Well, we are not really celebrating Christmas three weeks early. . we are celebrating The Holiday Season. . as you mentioned. I am not offended that Gap or any other retailer says Happy Holidays. I wish they would all grow a pair and say Merry Christmas and Happy Hannukkah. What's wrong with that? I am not offended but more annoyed that the local firehouse can't have the cross on display that has been displayed for the past 40 years. I mean, who complains about this stuff? Is that cross really personally offending somebody?? I understand that it's a seperation of church/state but come on? If there was a Menorah up on the firehouse I wouldn't be offended. . . .or bitchin' about it....
I guess my 'Joy of the Season' is being slightly diluted by commercialism and overall lack of any public acknowledgement of what it's really about. .
Don't misinterpret me, I'm not consumed by this, as it may seem in my thread. . but it's a lot to say in a little post. . . .


See, now I'm confused. You acknowledge that we're celebrating the "holiday season", but you wish that retailers would say "Merry Christmas" and "Happy Hannukkah" instead of "Happy Holidays"? Or is it that you want them to say "Merry Christmas" and "Happy Hannukkah" in ADDITION to "Happy Holidays"? The lines at stores are already long enough without those poor clerks having to recite a laundry list of greetings. ; )  Let the poor buggers just give a generic "Happy Holidays" so that we can all buy our groceries/sweaters/decorative figurines and get the heck home. 



As far as that bit about the firehouse and the cross...that's a bit trickier. I don't think the cross would really offend people, per se, but it is a much more overtly religious Christian symbol than a Christmas tree, or even a Nativity star. And I can see how it might make non-Christians feel rather like the message is "This is a Christian firehouse, beeyotches!"  It's not offensive, but it does make non-Christians feel a little...shunned? I wouldn't be offended if our local firehouse put up a cross, but I do confess that it would make me feel a little uncomfortable, mostly because many of we atheists have had very bad experiences with people who are very publicly showy about their Christianity. 



I would say to try to ignore the commercialism -- that's been around since before I was born; much longer than the stores have been eschewing "Merry Christmas" in favour of Happy Holidays. Focus on the things that make Christmas special to you, whether it's time spent with your family, helping others less fortunate, the church services, building a nativity scene out of popsicle sticks, or just eating an obscene quantity of sugar cookies. Besides...Christmas is a bit of a mutt of a holiday anyway. It's got so many other religions' traditions rolled up into it. (Seriously, even the DATE is a pagan holdover.) That's why there's always going to be people who don't necessarily all agree on what the holiday is "all about".  So whatever it's all about to you -- celebrate that, and just enjoy the fact that everybody else is celebrating too, even if they're not exactly celebrating the same thing you are. 

[deleted account]

True, followed by the Happy Holiday sign. If everyone is being so inclusive where's the Menorah or Kwanza stuff. . with a Holiday sign. .just saying. .
O.K., hiding the Christmas trees behind closed doors was a little dramatic. . . I got caught up in the moment. . .

Krista - posted on 12/18/2009

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Um, nobody's saying that you can't say Merry Christmas. I'm atheist, and I'll say Merry Christmas right back to you. I don't know one non-Christian who gets offended at being wished a Merry Christmas. (Frankly, I think the whole "War on Christmas" has been seriously overblown.) And nobody's saying you can't display a cross, a tree, or the three wise men doing a conga line, if that's what makes you happy. You're a private citizen -- you can do what you like.



But businesses are thinking about the bottom line, and they want to cater to as many people as possible, so they use the all-inclusive "Happy Holidays" or "Season's Greetings." It's purely a business decision -- not some nefarious secular conspiracy to eradicate Christmas from the public sphere.



Besides, I find it funny that I've seen so many people get annoyed that they're being wished "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas"....in November. In November and in early December, it's actually a lot more appropriate (and accurate) to say "Happy Holidays", as it is the beginning of the holiday season -- EVERYBODY'S holiday season. But it isn't actually Christmas yet. Christmas isn't until December 25th. Even if you count the 12 days of Christmas, it still only starts on December 25th.



We don't start saying "Happy Easter" or "Happy Thanksgiving" three weeks before the actual date, but yet we're expected to start celebrating Christmas as soon as the Halloween decorations are packed up.



Anyway, all of this is really a moot point. Nobody is stopping you from saying Merry Christmas, and I'd be shocked if you ran into many people who were offended by your greeting. If your joy of the season is ruined just because the Gap talks about "holidays" (which is actually derived from "holy days" -- why is that so offensive?), then perhaps you're letting it get to you a little too much.

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Esther - posted on 12/23/2009

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Quoting Wanda:

That's too funny,Esther. How on earth could you have known that?



I have no clue. Apparently we are supposed to know all our clients phobias.

Crystal - posted on 12/22/2009

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Tonight, for a change of pace, when a friend came over I told her, "Yuletide greetings!!" - Not really sure what that means, but it sounds odd and I like it.
I have never come across the saying-Christmas-and-someone-getting-offended scene, but on a kind of related note, once an aquantance I was talking to sneezed. I said, "God bless you!" - my natural, instinctual response. She gave me this defiant look and said, "I'm an atheist." I sort of struggled not to laugh, and said, "Well, God bless you anyway!!" :)

[deleted account]

No one really cares WHAT you say. The fact is that Christianity is the majority faith so it's natural to say "Merry Christmas". I'm part of a minority faith but I don't go spewing around how insulting it is that MY holiday wasn't acknowledged. And the last I checked, the phrase "Merry Christmas" was not a bad phrase to wish unto others at this time of the year. I prefer to encompass all faiths by simply saying "Happy Holidays". Now tell me which one of you are going to be downright insulted and offended by that phrase over "Merry Christmas"? As far as a cross on a firehouse, I have to admit that it would make me feel like a lesser class citizen-it doesn't acknowledge my faith and ignores others. A cross is a symbol of Christianity, and quite frankly is a violation of separation of church & state. But go ahead and scream "Merry Christmas" from the rooftop if it makes you feel like you have been ignored and commercialized.

Esther - posted on 12/22/2009

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Quoting Wanda:

Our local WalMart has signing up that says Merry Christmas. I'll admit I was a little surprised to see it.

I say Merry Christmas. If someone replies with a different greeting, then I acknowledge it.

But I do remember a big stink being made over someone saying Merry Christmas a few years ago. A cashier at a retail store wished a woman 'Merry Christmas'. The woman replied that she didn't celebrate Christams so the cashier said "Happy Holidays", to which the woman replied that she was an atheist, that she was sick and tired of poeple saying Merry Christmas etc., she hated shopping at this time of year because of all the decorations (she went on a real rant) and then demanded to speak to the manager because she was insulted by what the cashier had said to her and wanted the cashier fired. The cashier was never fired and I believe the woman causing the stink was escorted out of the store. (It's been a few years, the exact details are fuzzy).


There will always be nuts out there, but thankfully they are not representative of the majority. This reminds me of a nutter that used to be a client of ours at work. Has nothing to do with X-mas, but a similar kind of over the top ridiculous grouch. My firm used to sponsor this big equestrian event and it was our biggest client event of the year. We would have workshops throughout the day and then at the end of the day they would have dinner and then attend the equestrian event in our client box (where they served drinks & hors d'oeuvres etc.). We would usually have around 500 or so clients in attendance. However, this one client we invited sent us back a letter HUGELY offended that we had invited him because .... brace yourself ..... he was afraid of horses and SURELY we had to have known that.

[deleted account]

Our local WalMart has signing up that says Merry Christmas. I'll admit I was a little surprised to see it.

I say Merry Christmas. If someone replies with a different greeting, then I acknowledge it.

But I do remember a big stink being made over someone saying Merry Christmas a few years ago. A cashier at a retail store wished a woman 'Merry Christmas'. The woman replied that she didn't celebrate Christams so the cashier said "Happy Holidays", to which the woman replied that she was an atheist, that she was sick and tired of poeple saying Merry Christmas etc., she hated shopping at this time of year because of all the decorations (she went on a real rant) and then demanded to speak to the manager because she was insulted by what the cashier had said to her and wanted the cashier fired. The cashier was never fired and I believe the woman causing the stink was escorted out of the store. (It's been a few years, the exact details are fuzzy).

Evelyn - posted on 12/21/2009

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Here's my 2 cents....Say whatever you'd like to say. I'll continue to say Merry CHRISTmas because that is what it is to me...a celebration and recognition of Jesus Christ's birthday. If that's not what it is to you, so be it. That's what Christmas is for me. I'm not negating or ignoring whatever it is you celebrate...but for ME this is the CHRISTMAS season.

Cassie - posted on 12/21/2009

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I'm not going to join into this discussion because I really think it's just silly. Businesses will say whatever they need to in order to reach the most customers. I welcome anyone to greet me with their holiday greeting (Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, etc) and I will say Merry Christmas to the people I wish.

I just wanted to throw in that I heard the funniest song on the radio the other day. I think it's called something like "a completely non-offensive and politically correct holiday." I'm not completely sure of the name but I did get a good laugh out of it. It's basically just mocking all of this and says that we aren't allowed to say Christmas anymore because it may offend people from other religions, we can't sing "Silent Night" because it will offend people who are hard of hearing, we can't sing "I'll be dreaming of a white Christmas" because the correct term for white is caucasian. It was really just a very silly song, not meant to be taken seriously but it had me and my hubby laughing. There were several other jokes in it but I can't remember them off the top of my head. Just to add a bit of humor to the discussion! :)

Esther - posted on 12/21/2009

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I was driving to work today and there was a HUGE billboard on the side of the highway (a major highway going from NJ to NY) and it just said "Merry Christmas". I don't know who put it up, but it definitely used the word Christmas and it was gigantic. This is on the side of a highway going from one blue state to another and it was near Newark which probably went 95% for Obama. I really don't think there is an issue, other than in people's minds.

Jocelyn - posted on 12/19/2009

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This makes me think of a cartoon I saw in our paper the other day. It was a picture of a sign with a bunch of trees in the background. On the sign was written Christmas Trees (crossed out) and then Holiday Trees under it (also crossed out) and then at the bottom was December Trees. I can see where it's coming from, but omg if you are going out to buy a tree to decorate, you are most likely going to celebrate christmas (or yule lol). The jewish (for example) don't decorate trees, so why would they get offended by "christmas" trees??!?!?! arg. lol

[deleted account]

I guess for me it would just be nice to see a Merry Christmas sign somewhere. And the only reason I even brought up this topic is that while at the post office the other day I fellow customer said "Merry Christmas" as we were both leaving. . and I almost fell over.. . simply because that's how rarely I hear it. Maybe it's the Eastern seaboard where this is an issue. I'm willing to bet that it's not like that in the Midwest.. . . So, that's it, wasn't trying to make a huge ordeal about. . just venting really . . .

Johnny - posted on 12/19/2009

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Quoting Allison:

  I am not offended but more annoyed that the local firehouse can't have the cross on display that has been displayed for the past 40 years. I mean, who complains about this stuff? Is that cross really personally offending somebody?? I understand that it's a seperation of church/state but come on? If there was a Menorah up on the firehouse I wouldn't be offended. . . .or bitchin' about it....


I'm just not certain what the purpose of displaying any religious symbols at the local firehouse (or police station or city hall) would be.  It seems wrong somehow just to display the cross for Christmas, as another poster said, it's kind of like saying it's a Christian firehouse.  But if we try to be equal opportuntiy, and put up Menorahs and Hannukah stuff and things for Diwali, won't it get a little crowded?  And silly.  And what about all the religions that don't celebrate anything at this time of the year, should the Muslims get a Ramadan display of their own at that time?  What about those with no religion, are their taxes not paying for the firehall too?  Decorate, to be sure.  But it doesn't have to be religious symbolism.  Of course we all know that those decorations are to celebrate Christmas, but it is very different than putting up an overtly religious symbol.  As far as I understand, America has the separation of church and state, and a firehall is an institution of the state in most places.



I'm not at all opposed to the wishings of Merry Christmas or Happy Christmas.  And it's nice when people are considerate of those celebrating Hannukah and Kwanza as well.  But this whole taking the "Christ out of Christmas" thing seems to be blown way out of proportion.  The mall I was at yesterday had the whole Santa set up, and also a "Christmas School" where they had elves teaching kids about all aspects of Christmas, including the religious ones.  We sat there watching kids from all religious, including a girl of about 13 in a Muslim veil with her siblings, learning all about Jesus.  I thought it was great.  They also had another play area set up in another part of the mall for kids learning about all the faiths and their holidays.  I honestly see very littlle evidence of Christ being taken from Christmas. I personally find that the people who are so bent out of shape about it really have no understanding of the diversity of faith or non-faith in their world and show little respect for other traditions too. 



To me, putting a cross in front of my local firehall definitely would offend me.

Krista - posted on 12/18/2009

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Quoting Loureen:

Business is business and the game is to appeal to all people , they may run out of room to write .
Merry Christmas
Happy Hanukkah
merry Kwanzaa ?
Happy Diwali .
so on and so forth .

as for personally sending festive greetings my rule is if i know the holiday they celebrate i say merry Christmas or happy Hanukkah if i dont know i just say have wonderful holidays .
I dont see a problem with saying it doesn't hurt anyone , doesn't offend anyone i dont really think people have a problem if you get it wrong .


Damnit Loureen, you forgot Yule! AND Saturnalia! 



 



I'm offended. 





Actually, a side note: a friend of mine likes to wish people "Happy Christmas". The ones who are really uptight about the Secular War on Christmas™ get all messed up, and start looking at him really suspiciously. He used the word "Christmas", so that's good. But he didn't say "Merry Christmas", so he didn't actually use the right phrase, so that's bad. He said you can see the wheels turning for a good 10-15 seconds before they finally say "Merry Christmas" back.

Esther - posted on 12/18/2009

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Quoting Allison:

..... hide your Christmas trees behind closed doors; we wouldn’t want to upset anybody by our freedom of expression. ......



Hide your Chrismas trees? Really? Been to a mall lately? Any mall I've been to in the last few weeks has at least one big-ass X-mas tree right smack in the middle.

JL - posted on 12/18/2009

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THe newest Gap commercials does say Merry Christmas along with Happy Hanukkah and Happy Kwanza. Where I live they pretty much say Merry Christmas everywhere the places that say Happy Holidays are in the minority. I hear and read about this complaint all the time yet I just don't see it or experience it and I am not a religious person. I say Merry Christmas all the time and no one even all my atheist non religious agnostic freinds are not offended.

To me it seems like it is more religious people that have some fear about saying it and they are the ones making the big whoopie to do deal about this whole Christ in Christmas stuff...most of us non-religous people are like whatever no biggie...heck you can say whatever holiday or non holiday greeting you want to us as long as it is said out of kindness.

As for businesses in general....It is just that businesses are covering their butts because they don't want to be sued...and both sides the overly PC people and the overly religious have been pushing lawsuits. It is one big ridiculous arguement that the extremists on both sides have pushed on the rest of us IMO just say Merry Christmas and put up your decorations and screw all those who don't like because if people stop cowering, complaining, and just start living then we can all just move on and celebrate privately how we want .

Charlie - posted on 12/18/2009

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Business is business and the game is to appeal to all people , they may run out of room to write .
Merry Christmas
Happy Hanukkah
merry Kwanzaa ?
Happy Diwali .
so on and so forth .

as for personally sending festive greetings my rule is if i know the holiday they celebrate i say merry Christmas or happy Hanukkah if i dont know i just say have wonderful holidays .
I dont see a problem with saying it doesn't hurt anyone , doesn't offend anyone i dont really think people have a problem if you get it wrong .

?? - posted on 12/18/2009

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The world is becoming more and more culturally mixed. I would bet $$$ that someone didn't say "That cross is offensive and should not be allowed in our fire departments holiday display" instead, it probably went more like "We should remove the cross from our display as to not offend people of other cultures."



The only people I ever see complaining about how anyone celebrates 'the holiday season' are the people who get upset about keeping "the CHRIST in CHRISTmas" and most of them aren't complaining about how OTHERS celebrate, but how they celebrate.



The only people that I see complaining about how Christianity is being stripped from Christmas are people who like to make a stink about anything and everything that is controversial - and those people are always a hinder to their own cause rather than a help.

Lindsay - posted on 12/18/2009

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I haven't noticed the conflict in real life but have seen a lot of people complain about it on COMs. I grew up familiar with phrases like "Season's Greetings" and "Happy Holidays" and they were never pushed in a negative light. It was just another way of saying "Merry Christmas" or whatever you celebrate. I honestly thing people are making a big deal out of nothing. Quit bitching and enjoy the season! =)

[deleted account]

Well, we are not really celebrating Christmas three weeks early. . we are celebrating The Holiday Season. . as you mentioned. I am not offended that Gap or any other retailer says Happy Holidays. I wish they would all grow a pair and say Merry Christmas and Happy Hannukkah. What's wrong with that? I am not offended but more annoyed that the local firehouse can't have the cross on display that has been displayed for the past 40 years. I mean, who complains about this stuff? Is that cross really personally offending somebody?? I understand that it's a seperation of church/state but come on? If there was a Menorah up on the firehouse I wouldn't be offended. . . .or bitchin' about it....
I guess my 'Joy of the Season' is being slightly diluted by commercialism and overall lack of any public acknowledgement of what it's really about. .
Don't misinterpret me, I'm not consumed by this, as it may seem in my thread. . but it's a lot to say in a little post. . . .

Isobel - posted on 12/18/2009

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I've never heard of anybody ever being upset at hearing "Merry Christmas"...I said it to my Jewish friend the other day...and she beamed at me and wished me a "Happy Hanukkah" It was exactly as it should be. I wish people a Happy Holiday when I don't know them or what they celebrate...that's just to be thoughtful and yes "inclusive" though I know some people believe that's a dirty word.

I honestly feel that this "war on Christmas" is an Urban myth...it doesn't exist...it never has.

Dana - posted on 12/18/2009

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Honestly I hear people complaining about not being able to say Merry Christmas but, I haven't actually seen evidence of it. Even at my nephew's school, they are having a Christmas party. They learned about Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. What ticks me off is that they can't dress up or have a Halloween party because of some Christians not agreeing with it. They have a harvest party where they can either be a farmer or a cowboy. I think it's a terrible double standard.

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