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Did You Mean to Say ‘Merry Christmas’?

Perhaps you’ve noticed the trend to replace the words ‘Marry Christmas’ with  ‘Happy Holidays’ or ‘Seasons Greetings’. I have nothing against these phrases. I use them myself on occasion, and I don’t feel offended when others choose to use them. In my own heart I recognize that Jesus is the ‘reason for the season’ and I’m not about to get militant or political about it.

On the other hand, I have come across several folks who are quite vocal about their disapproval of using the more generic phrases instead of ‘Merry Christmas’. The really interesting – and somewhat ironic – thing about this is that most of the people who seem so offended don’t really display a very Christian attitude the rest of the year.

One acquaintance told me recently that when someone says ‘Happy Holidays’ or ‘Seasons Greetings’ to her, she ignores them and won’t respond. Hm. I wonder… is that what Jesus would do?

Another person explained – quite vehemently – that he lectures those who dare use a generic term rather than ‘Merry Christmas’. “It’s all those foreigners trying to take over our holiday!” he spouts. “I tell them where they can shove it. Go back to your own country, I say!” Yikes. Not exactly the best way to emulate the spirit of the season… with or without the word ‘Christmas’.

My husband and I watched a Christmas comedy special featuring a well-known comedian. His opening monologue included a rant about how people are afraid to use the words ‘Merry Christmas’ these days. He unapologetically wished the audience a ‘Merry Christmas’ to resounding applause. Kudos to him, I thought with a nod. Then the show proceeded to bastardize Christ by mocking the virgin birth and was full of sexual innuendo and other inappropriate content. What was the point of his opening rant if he was just going to make fun of Christ in the end?

Actions speak so much louder than words. No matter what the phraseology, we must show the love of Christ through our actions; we must be ambassadors of the good news both now and throughout the year. ‘Merry Christmas’ is a hollow greeting if I don’t intimately know and represent the one the phrase represents. That is the true meaning of the phrase.

This post first appeared on InScribe Writers’ Online, December 15, 2017. 


  1. Holly Colbourne says:

    Thanks for sharing! I agree 100%. I used to be bothered by it when people would say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas! I don’t get offended now. I say Merry Chrismas most of the time. When you think of it, it is a Happy Holiday 😊 we do have to live each day striving to be like Jesus so that should shine through us!

    1. tracykrauss says:

      Amen to that. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you!

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