The A-Blast

Christmas Controversy

Should we say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?

Patrick Brown, Staff Writer

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Every winter, a conflict reignites, a “War on Christmas” is raged. The topic of discussion is whether or not it is appropriate to say “Merry Christmas”.

In our parents’ time and even in our older siblings’ time, they would go to elementary, middle, and high school. They would not wish each other, “Happy Holidays” they would say, “Merry Christmas.” When they would go on break, it wouldn’t be, “Winter Break” it would be, “Christmas Break.” This was not because our parents were insensitive or because they were denying people their right to religious freedom, it was because that was the official holiday celebrated, and it still is the official holiday celebrated.

Each year the United States Government comes out with a list of National Holidays that the federal government will observe that year. These are the only official holidays in the United States and almost all businesses observe these holidays. Just like the Constitution, it is liable for change. In the month of December, the only official federal holiday is Christmas. Therefore, when we get off school in December, it is not because it is winter or because of any other holiday, it is because of the national holiday, Christmas.

Every year when people go shopping, they go Christmas shopping, not winter shopping. The stores are decorated with bright reds and greens instead of any other colors. Children are even able to see Santa Claus at the mall.

People who are opposed to Christmas say that it is not inclusive to everyone, and that it is not a big deal to change Merry Christmas to Happy Holidays, but it is a big deal. The National Retail Federation estimates that $465 billion will be spent on total gifts this winter, and according to the Pew Research center 9 in 10 Americans celebrate Christmas. Around $419 billion will be spent on Christmas gifts alone this year. This is a substantial amount of money, and so it would be significant to no longer use the phrase, “Merry Christmas.”

The fact of the matter is “Merry Christmas” no longer has a the same religious connotation as it once did. Thus, when people wish each other a Merry Christmas it is no longer a religious greeting. The same is true in the United Kingdom. In the UK citizens wish each other Merry Christmas, and they are fine with it because Christmas no longer has the same religious implication. In fact, the man who wrote “White Christmas,” Irving Berlin, a classic Christmas song that is played methodically each year was an American Jew. Even here at Annandale with such a diverse community people are okay with greeting each other with “Merry Christmas”.

When you greet your friends this winter, wish them Happy Hanukkah or Happy Kwanzaa, if you know, but if you greet people, generally you should not be afraid to wish them “Merry Christmas.”

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About the Writer
Patrick Brown, Staff Writer

Senior Patrick Brown is a staff writer for the A-Blast. He is entering his first year of journalism. He plays lacrosse on the varsity lacrosse team and...

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Christmas Controversy