‘Happy Holidays’ serves all Americans


Megan Coffey



One of the great glories of America today is our diversity. We started as a nation of immigrants and that tradition has continued. With this diversity comes different cultures with different beliefs and practices.

In the month of December there are eleven holidays celebrated by numerous different cultures and groups. Of these there are the well known -Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa- and the lesser known- Saturnalia, St. Lucia Day, and Three Kings Day.

While ‘Merry Christmas’ is a traditional saying during the month of December it has become outdated. Not everyone is celebrating Christmas and by saying ‘Merry Christmas’ the other groups celebrating a different holiday at this time are being alienated.

It does not make sense to continue using this phrase when 20.4% of people in America are not Christian. While that percentage seems low, that is 65,055,600 people. By using the phrase “Merry Christmas” we are not including a significant portion of the population.

While some say that “Merry Christmas” is a traditional saying and is not meant to offend others, it may. Many groups and holidays are being excluded when the phrase is used and saying “Happy Holidays” is more inclusive. Those same people will say that America was founded on Christian beliefs. Yes, that is true but the US population is constantly changing and becoming increasingly diverse. We as a nation must adapt to this and not become stuck in our old ways. America must continue to welcome and incorporate other cultures as it always has.

The debate about whether to say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” can be solved with simple etiquette. If you know someone celebrates Christmas, then say “Merry Christmas.” If someone celebrates a different holiday, you are unsure what they celebrate or you are in a social setting say “Happy Holidays.”

We live in a nation with a diverse population. It is important to keep in mind that whatever we celebrate during the month of December there are people who celebrate something different. So stay neutral and opt for saying “Happy Holidays” to be inclusive of all religions and cultures.

Read the opposing article, “‘Merry Christmas’ will endure the test of time” by Daniel Brnjic, at http://tinyurl.com/z4h8xrt