“Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas”?

Paige Stanley, Staff Writer

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Ah, it’s that time of year again. It is the season of holidays: Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Christmas, Kwanza, New Years, and more. For many, it is the whole season that needs the recognition, while for others, Christmas takes the spotlight.

Recently, a controversy has arose on whether it is correct to greet or say farewell with the term Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays. If one pays attention during this December, one may notice that radio stations, stores, retail workers, advertisements, etc. have begun to transition to the term Happy Holidays. This controversy emerged as the nation becomes more secular and cautious of the inclusivity of all.

Some retailers have chosen to say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas because of economic reasons. Because Happy Holidays appeals to a larger demographic, retailers find it more efficient to make more money by refraining from saying Happy Holidays.

This has created a religious debate; Catholic leaders have stated that saying Happy Holidays takes away from the recognition of the first Christmas with Christ as the focal point. However, not everyone celebrates Christmas as Christ’s birth, instead as a secular holiday.

Many statements have been made on why this debate has emerged in the past few years. According to a USA Today article, young people are more likely to say Happy Holidays, while the older generations more commonly say Merry Christmas because it is more traditional. Another statement in the article expresses that democrats are more likely to say Happy Holidays, while Republicans lean towards Merry Christmas.

At Seattle Prep, students are divided between what they prefer to say during this time of year. When asked on a poll from the Seattle Prep Panthers Instagram, 14% of people selected that they say Happy Holidays, while 86% selected that say Merry Christmas.

Eva Guarda Vazquez ‘21 said she says Happy Holidays because, “You don’t always know what backgrounds people come from and I think it’s really important to be super accepting to everyone during the holiday season!”

Freshman Amelie Burrows shares her opinion on the religious concept of Christmas compared to the commercial version. She stated, “Non-Christians celebrate many aspects of what we now consider part of Christmas … decorated trees, carols, lights…etc….and that doesn’t mean they necessarily subscribe to all the religious aspects as well.” Therefore, she agrees that Merry Christmas does not always have to elude to the religious aspect of the holiday.

Nick Faricy ’20 brings into account the fact that there is a chance of offending someone when saying Merry Christmas over Happy Holidays. Faricy says that he chooses to say Merry Christmas over happy holidays because, “People that I know who do not celebrate it are not offended at all by ‘Merry Christmas.’”

As Christmas becomes more a commercial holiday, more and more people are moving past the religious aspect into the celebration and presents aspects. Overall, the debate over saying Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays will most likely be a life-long debate, but it is all up to preference on what one chooses to say. It is more about the greeting or salutation that is important.