‘Tis the season for holiday shopping, finding the perfect gifts and holiday cheer. As holiday shoppers are rushing through the mall this month, they will most likely hear a seasonal greeting from a retail employee.
However, two simple phrases, “Happy holidays” versus “Merry Christmas” have sparked massive debate in recent years.
It’s two words. Boycotting a store because the company chose to say “Happy holidays” or yelling at a retail employee for wishing a “Merry Christmas” is quite ridiculous and honestly unnecessary.
Companies must choose one or the other. By saying “Merry Christmas,” companies are ostracized for being insensitive to other religious affiliations. By wishing a customer “Happy holidays” instead, criticism arises for following a liberal agenda.
As of 2010, 3 out of 4 Americans claim Christianity as their belief system. While this is a majority, this excludes almost 25 percent of possible customers ready to spend big bucks for presents.
The American Family Association, an organization who promotes fundamentalist Christian ideals, fights big-name retailers who switch to the politically correct term, and encourages their readers to boycott companies and demand “Merry Christmas.”
For other companies, saying “Happy holidays” is not only being politically correct—it opens the possibility to make a larger profit by trying to appeal to every belief system.
Here’s the truth though: Many Americans don’t care.
In 2013, a study by the Pew Research Center found 8 out of 10 non-Christians celebrate Christmas in the United States. It’s a safe bet that companies aren’t taking a large risk by saying “Merry Christmas” if the Christmas shopping crowd is so large.
Yet, despite the vast majority celebrating Christmas this year, so much emphasis is put on the issue.
In another study conducted by the Pew Research Center, nearly half of Americans don’t have a preference for which seasonal greeting they receive.
Approximately 42 percent said they preferred “Merry Christmas” while the remaining 12 percent prefer “Happy Holidays.”
The whole concept of Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah and every other holiday celebration in between is about love, tradition and spending time with family.
Focusing on such a simplistic issue draws attention away from the real meaning of the season for many cultures.
Don’t be an Ebenezer Scrooge and bring bah-humbug to the joy of the holidays by focusing on such a petty issue.
Tear open the presents, indulge in vast amounts of food and enjoy time with family and friends.