“Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas” ?


This is one of the holiday Starbucks cup from 2007. One of the many cups with controversy because of its Christmas symbols like the reindeer, snowflakes, and pine trees. Photo used with permission from Joshua Trujillo

The holidays sometime become a sensitive topic, particularly during the month of December when the month is filled with holidays like Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Christmas and more. One recurring debate is whether people should say “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas”.

I believe people should not be afraid or intimidated by others to take pride in their own religion and spread their own holiday spirit with others, whatever it may be. In fact, I think possibly wishing someone a “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukkah” to one who does not celebrate that particular holiday can introduce a way of seeing the holiday season through another set of eyes. Instead of limiting the variety of holiday sayings to just “Happy Holidays”, each individual expressing what he or she celebrates can help society unite and celebrate diversity.

When I, a Christian, wish a “Merry Christmas” to a stranger, it is in not with the intention of diminishing other religious holidays, but instead to share the joy I have in my holiday with someone else, even if they may not celebrate it. There is significance in having the maturity and realization to respect others for what holiday they may practice.

Growing up in my family, I was taught that December was about wishing others a “Merry Christmas”, but I was always still mindful that other holidays do exist. If I was wished a “Happy Hanukkah” or “Happy Kwanzaa” I would not get upset, but rather embrace the diversity of society, give a smile, and continue about my day.

“Happy Holidays” is the safe route to take during the holiday season, especially for stores and companies who want to keep all of their customers happy. According to the New York Times, in 2015 Starbucks was criticized and lost customers simply because their festive cups were decorated with Christmas trees and reindeer. Now Starbucks does not include any traditional holiday symbols on their cups at all.

Society needs to accept the celebration of different holidays and not take them in the wrong way. Clearly, society responding negatively to a holiday saying they do not specifically celebrate does not do anyone good, whether it’s stores, people, or the holiday itself.

I want to be able to spread my Christmas joy and I want others to spread their own holiday joy with me without hesitation.