Every year, I see rabble rousing Christian websites trying to get folks to boycott businesses that use Happy Holidays in their advertising. Obviously, I support people’s right to do as they please with their own money. But as for me, I’m not a boycotter to begin with, and I think I like this particular boycott least of all. So, here are the seven reasons that I, as a God-fearing, Christmas-loving, Catholic, don’t have a problem with “Happy Holidays.”
1. It’s Accurate
There ARE many holidays around this time of year. Even if we’re just talking Christian-celebrated holidays (but more on that later) there’s Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, plus Immaculate Conception, Our Lady of Guadalupe, St. Lucy, St. Andrew, and many, many, more. *I* want YOU to enjoy all of them: Happy Holidays.
2. It’s Catholic
The word “holiday” comes from the Old English. It means “holy day.” That’s what it means. *I* want you to enjoy all the holy days the liturgical year has to offer: Happy Holidays.
3. It’s Inclusive
But. They might say. BUT. That’s not what it means now. What it means now is, “a day of festivity or recreation when no work is done.” Or, it’s something that people say to refer to ALL religious or pagan celebrations celebrated all over the world by people who are or are not Christian.
Annnnnd . . . I don’t have a problem with that.
I’m going to be honest with you guys right now. I have a secret agenda with this blog. I want to draw you in with parenting tips and Netflix recommendations and once you’re here, I want to also show you how much I love my Catholic faith and how I celebrate it with my family and how I think it makes my life a million times more rewarding in this world and will make it better beyond all imagining in the next. I want you to see that and I want you to want it for yourself. I want you, whether you’re a Catholic mom who wants to live her faith more fully, or a lapsed Catholic, or a Wiccan priestess, or an Episcopalian lady priest, or a militant atheist, or a Muslim in full burqa, or whatever, I want YOU to march down to your local Catholic Church and make some inquiries. Or at least email me some questions.
That’s what I want.
And I can’t for the life of me see how me insisting that the only acceptable greeting at this time of year is “Merry Christmas,” would help me do that: Happy Holidays.
4. It’s Business
And really, we’re talking about businesses anyway. Businesses who, understandably, would like to have customers from all faiths and walks of life. The nice thing about “Happy Holidays” is that, to ME it means one nice thing, and to someone else, it will mean a different, but also nice thing: Happy Holidays.
5. I Don’t Like Bullying
Big Christian Boycott wants to scare us. They want us to think that anyone who uses “Happy Holidays” is part of some secret government agenda against Baby Jesus. And it’s working. Seriously. It’s easy to just say, “I hope you’ll have a merry Christmas,” to people after church, but what if I don’t know what a particular person is celebrating? I, personally, never know what to say to anyone in the grocery store anymore.
I was out shopping on the first day of Hanukkah, days and days away from Christmas starting, but only hours away from Hanukkah starting, and I was paralyzed with indecision about how to greet people. Because I want people to have a happy whatever it is they’re celebrating. But I’m afraid if I say “Happy Holidays” someone will throw rocks at me.
But really, for general pleasant greeting of strangers in November and December, I think you can’t beat Happy Holidays. And I’m going to say it. Like Kevin in Home Alone, I’m not going to be scared anymore: Happy Holidays.
6. It’s Probably Liturgically More Appropriate Than “Merry Christmas”
It’s still Advent. It’s not actually Christmas yet. This article is a joke article from a fake news website, BUT IT MAKES A GOOD POINT: Happy Holidays.
7. But Let’s Not Get Carried Away, Now
I mostly think that, in general, we should worry less and love more, and not boycott people, and that getting upset about how we greet each other won’t bring us or them any closer to heaven.
I don’t think we as Christians should be scared of people saying Happy Holidays.
But, I’m certainly not saying we should avoid saying Merry Christmas. I’m called to Christian witness, and the Christmas season is a great time to evangelize people through generosity, and hospitality, and eye contact, and conversation at the grocery store, and saying Merry Christmas.
We send out Christmas cards that say Merry Christmas on them, even though they go out to friends who celebrate Hanukkah or nothing at all, as well as to friends who celebrate Christmas. And I have every intention of putting that Christmas card on this blog and wishing you a Merry Christmas, when the time for that comes.
We’ll be spending these last few days before Christmas, and then the whole Christmas season, inviting people into our home for parties, and appearing in public with many children, which are my two favorite ways to evangelize. I’ll say Merry Christmas whenever possible. I’ll say Happy Holidays when that seems more appropriate. But what I won’t be doing is spending my days boycotting anyone, or getting offended by holiday greetings of any kind, because I suspect that those are not good ways to evangelize.
In conclusion: Merry Christmas.