'Happy Holidays': Right or Wrong?

Do you consider greetings and salutations important this time of year?

The contentious debate over different holiday greetings has become another annual December tradition in our country.

When someone says "Happy holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas," "Happy Hanukkah," "Happy Kwanzaa" or some other occasion-specific salutation, do you consider that to be just as good, acceptable or unacceptable?

Does offering a generic greeting devalue individual holidays?

Does it matter who's offering the greeting and who's receiving it?

Is it important, as far as the greeting is concerned, whether each person knows the other's beliefs?

When someone offers you good wishes in the name of a holiday you don't celebrate, are you offended, or do you consider it just as nice a gesture?

Why do you think this became an issue at all? How long do you remember hearing about it?

Who's most responsible: religious people? Non-religious people? The media? The government?

Please give us your take in the comments section below, and weigh in on comments by your neighbors.

Lynn Elston December 16, 2012 at 11:47 AM
We lived in an area of Boston called Little Isreal where Christians were monitory. I think if you don't know what holiday someone celebrates it's ok to say Happy Holidays, but my preference is Happy New Year. If it is appropriate I'll ask what holiday they celebrate and them wish them "happy" accordingly. I do think it's a bit goofy to say Happy Holidays to someone when you know the holiday they celebrate.
Susan Sokoloski December 16, 2012 at 01:32 PM
I say "Merry Christmas" because that is what I celebrate, but if I am honored if anyone offers back another "Happy" whatever since they want to share their holiday celebration with me.
Mr. Ed December 16, 2012 at 01:54 PM
"The best of the season ta ya" works for me.
Patricia Hamer December 16, 2012 at 02:21 PM
Merry Christmas 'tis the season. We are too hung up lately on being politically correct and of course these days anything spiritual is not encouraged. It's Christmas and Christmas tree. For those of a different faith or persuasion, wish them the appropriate greeting. ...... Merry Christmas to all!
Diane December 16, 2012 at 03:03 PM
I don't celebrate Christmas, but I realize that all aspects of Christmas will be shoved down my throat at this time of year, xmas music, xmas shopping, xmas trees, xmas decorations, xmas traffic, and especially people moaning loudly that there isn't enough Christmas so that more could be shoved down my throat. I don't mind the verbal greetings so much, and I usually repeat back to whomever what they said. I'm just glad when it is over in January.
Alex December 16, 2012 at 03:05 PM
I just say "merry Christmas". I am not offended when a Jew wishes me a "happy Hanukkah", or a Hindu wishes me a "happy Diwali", or an atheist wishes me a "happy holidays." No one should be offended by someone saying a nice thing.
Gloria M. Harrison December 16, 2012 at 03:24 PM
I'm with Alex. It's a season of love whatever the words we use to spread it. Forget the scrooges. Gloria#`1
Steve Barbone December 16, 2012 at 03:32 PM
What can possibly be wrong with a generic greeting of "Good Wishes". What could be wrong with wishing on a happy holiday. (Holy Day for those who do not know the derivation of the word). Why then would anyone want to boycott a store that does not greet you with "Merry Christmas". Should we resort to painting the word "Jude" and painting a large Jewish Star on the window of stores owned by Jews. And then boycott them, or worse, start a tradition of an American Krystal Nacht? Get over it folks. Lets stop all this nonsense about Christ being the sole reason for the season. The "season" started thousands of years before his birth with the pagan holidays during the winter solstice.
Mike Farrell December 16, 2012 at 03:38 PM
If we are going to wish someone 'Happy Holiday' at Christmas/Chanukkah, then we should also wish them 'Happy Holiday' on: Monday, January 2 New Year's Day Monday, January 16 Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. Monday, February 20 Washington's Birthday Monday, May 28 Memorial Day Wednesday, July 4 Independence Day Monday, September 3 Labor Day Monday, October 8 Columbus Day Monday, November 12 Veterans Day Thursday, November 22 Thanksgiving Day Maybe also on Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, etc. And probably on all those bank holidays also.
Melinda December 16, 2012 at 03:40 PM
I agree Mike! Good comment!
Chewy's Person December 16, 2012 at 04:31 PM
Alex - absolutely agree. What a wonderful perspective.
Mimi Shapiro December 16, 2012 at 05:35 PM
I think Happy Holidays is fine. It is just a nice and friendly jester. I dislike radio stations that play nothing but Christmas songs from Thanksgiving to Christmas.
Barb Burger December 16, 2012 at 05:58 PM
We have all just become too hung up on political correctness in the past few years in this country and in the process of attempting to provide fairness for all, it has now morphed into a situation where many folks feel uncomfortable even acknowledging what they believe in or celebrate because it might offend someone. And that's the shame in all of this. There will always be "differences" - that's what this country is about - but we need to stop belittling people who don't believe what we do. It ruins it for everyone, on all sides, and no one is the winner. I have found myself in the past few years saying "Happy Holidays" more than "Merry Christmas" and sometimes I feel bad about that, but it works for me. But as Alex says, no one should be offended by someone sending positive messages their way.
Ted M. December 16, 2012 at 07:57 PM
Many of my Jewish and Muslim friends say "Merry Christmas" and a lady I work with said "Merry Christmas" to her Jewish neighbors, who responded with "thank you" I wouldn't be offended if a Jewish friend said "Happy Hanukkah" to me, Jesus celebrated Hanukkah too. I remember several years ago, an NBC news poll attached to a story like this asked "Has political correctness gone too far this holiday season?" Over 90% said yes. Essentially the poll results indicated that censoring the work "Christmas" is more offensive to people than not censoring it.
Jim Knowles December 16, 2012 at 09:23 PM
How about.. LEAVE ME ALONE
Ike December 17, 2012 at 12:27 AM
i TELL THEM IF YOU DONT LIKE CHRISTMAS , GO BACK TO ,,,,,,, fill in the BLANK. And dont come back.
Joanne Mudry December 17, 2012 at 02:26 AM
We have so many amerias who say merry christmas, what are the frist word christ,wellhe was born on christmas day, thats why we have christmas, you know to much junk on pc
Grace Smith December 17, 2012 at 09:01 AM
Poor child, you have it so rough
Ellen December 17, 2012 at 10:21 AM
I agree with Alex, Chewy and Barb - Just be happy and appreciative of whatever greeting someone sends your way - Life is waaay too short for people to be worried about being so PC. It really is all relative. Relax and enjoy this very short life we have been given and make the best of it.
Elizabeth December 17, 2012 at 12:45 PM
Be careful what you wish for...
Renee_C December 17, 2012 at 02:11 PM
I say Merry Christmas, that is the holiday I celebrate. However, I am not offended if someone wishes me Happy Holidays. If the television stations can wish their viewers a Happy Chanukah and a Happy Kwanza, then their should be no reason why they cannot say Merry Christmas too!
Melissa December 17, 2012 at 07:11 PM
Except 'christ' was born in about May or June, not "christmas day" - the only reason we celebrate christmas is so that the catholic church could gather more pagans into their fold by incorporating a mass of pagan winter holidays into one big christian holiday. Beyond that, there is nothing wrong with being accepting and all-encompassing and saying, "Happy Holidays" instead of excluding people. "Merry Christmas" is so very specific, and out of respect for the other religions and cultures of the world, I feel it more appropriate to wish people Happy Holidays or just say nothing at all.
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