Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays
Why are people so angry when someone says "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas?"
Disclaimer: My friend permitted me to share the following story.
Upset by an encounter at the store, my friend called me from her car. She shared how upset she was that a clerk at the grocery store said, "Happy Holidays," after packing her groceries. My friend said she sternly corrected the clerk with the reply, "Don't take Christ out of Christmas. It's Merry Christmas! Remember that!" My friend said she left the store feeling angry and bothered. When she was all done venting, I said, "I don't know what all the fuss is about. After all, the word holiday means holy day." She wasn't buying that explanation.
We are still friends; however, we decided it would not benefit the friendship to talk about this subject again.
I don't know if it is an asset or a defect that I have an overactive fascination for the original meaning of words. My friend was adamant about her offense position with people who say, "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas." As soon as our conversation ended and I hung up the phone, I immediately researched and confirmed my understanding of the original meaning of the word holiday.
I referred to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, Dictionary.com, and The Online Etymology Dictionary.
The etymology dictionary quotes:
1500s, earlier haliday (c. 1200), from Old English haligdæg "holy day, consecrated day, religious anniversary; Sabbath," from halig "holy" + dæg "day"; in 14c. meaning both "religious festival" and "day of exemption from labor and recreation…"
So, what are people fighting about?
If holiday means holy day, then why are people fighting? It's just semantics. To me, both sentiments mean the same. After all, wasn't the birth of Jesus Christ one of the holiest moments of all time?
What is the difference between happy and merry?
Merriam-Webster's definition of the word merry is this:
Dictionary.com's definition of the word happy is this:
Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?
It does not matter to me.
When someone says Merry Christmas to me, I take it to mean they are pleased, full of delight, or high spirits about the birth of Jesus Christ.
When someone says Happy Holidays to me, I take it to mean they are delighted, pleased, and glad about the birth of Jesus Christ.
Both are expressions of good wishes on an extraordinary occasion. Both are expressions of joy and adoration of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, the Messiah who was born to teach us how to love and forgive as we are loved and forgiven by Him.
So, to all, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
May you have peace and joy during this season as you remember Jesus is the reason for the season.
Photo by Nubia Navarro (nubikini) from Pexels
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