Merry Christmas! Wait, can I still say, “Merry?”
Every single year we have to deal with the same shit.
Crowd 1: “Happy Holidays” is politically correct. Don’t offend anyone not of your religion or anyone who is an atheist. It’s not all about you Christians!
Crowd 2: War on Christmas! Anti-Christian agenda! Taking Christ out of the holiday! We have to fight against this.
Me: Uh, guys, no one in the sane world gives a shit. Both of you STFU.
I am a Christian and so I say, “Merry Christmas” all the time. Almost exclusively. In fact, because I grew up this way and worship this way, saying “Happy Holidays” feels very weird on my tongue. And guess what? Not one person has ever said anything about it to me. Roughly every single person I say it to smiles and responds with a similar greeting. This whole offensive and counter-offensive is almost entirely made up to give losers something to talk about. No one cares.
Furthermore, the idea that a person extending goodwill towards you via his personal convictions would ever be offensive is insane. What, do you think I wish people “Merry Christmas” so I can rub in their face how Christian I am or how much better my religion is than theirs? Hell no. Christmas brings out in me an increase in awareness of other people and kinship with all mankind. When I wish people “Merry Christmas” I am extending those feelings to them and inviting them to share in my good mood.
When I am wished a happy Yom Kippur, Ramadan, or whatever it is Asians celebrate, I don’t bristle – I am flattered. I’m glad that they are comfortable enough with me to extend well-wishes for something that they hold very special. It’s almost like I got the invite to participate just a tiny bit in their faith and in their lives.
It works with non-religious holidays, too:
Chinese Friend: Hi, Joel. Happy New Year!
Me: It’s not New Year’s.
Friend: It’s Chinese New Year.
Me: I’m not Chinese and so I hate this. Don’t ever speak to me again
Or maaaaybe, I would say, “Thanks. Happy New Year to you, too.”
So this Holiday / Christmas / Hanukkah Season, let’s do the right thing and just ignore anyone who is talking about what greeting is proper.