Imagine Chinese-Americans digging out a historical event around St. Patrick’s Day just so that they can compete with the Irish on the street. Much like “Merry Christmas,” it turns out that “Happy Holidays” also has religious roots. Imagine if we were no longer allowed to say “Happy St. Patrick’s Day!” and instead had to say something like, “Happy drinking day.” Imagine if all holidays were used as platforms for asserting our religious identities, each religion digging out some minor historical event as an excuse to compete with the major one. Back in the 1950s, her research shows, Dwight D. Eisenhower’s holiday cards read “Season’s Greetings.” Later presidents, from John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson to Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, also tried not to alienate non-Christians in their holiday missives. As for “holiday,” the word emerged in the 1500s as a replacement of the earlier medieval word “haliday,” which itself had supplanted the Old English “haligdæg,” meaning holy day. Whenever I say "Merry Christmas" to somebody, I'm basically saying "I hope you have a merry day on December 25th". So where did the idea that it is threatened come from? Whether you choose to say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays,” sincerely wishing someone else well at this time of year—or any time, really—is never a bad idea. Trump, Obama and the War on Christmas A look at how the phrases "Merry Christmas" and "Happy Holidays" were used under President Donald Trump and President Barack Obama. If by “trivialize” the authors mean enjoying the common customs associated with Christmas—installing a tree, exchanging gifts, singing carols, reading stories—the answer by the vast majority of Christians would be yes. If they invite everyone to join in their fun, let’s gladly accept the offer. In dealing with Christmas, MOST Christians understand that Jesus was NOT born on December 25 th, and that December 25 th was chosen by (what is now referred to as ) the Catholic Church partly to line up with the festivities in Rome to bring more people into the knowledge of Christ.. Christmas was first celebrated by Roman Emperor Constantine in 336 A.D. and later Pope Julius made … (Courtesy of the Hallmark Archives, Hallmark Cards, Inc., Kansas City, Missouri, USA ). At that time, Seeley told the Washington Post that the last time a presidential holiday card had mentioned Christmas was 1992, during the administration of Bush’s father, George H.W. Share this story. What is wrong with enjoying a festival that happens to originate in a religion other than your own? If I know my client well enough it's a no-brainer, but if it's a new client, I'm often worried I may offend them whichever way I go. Until I moved to New York where I made many Jewish friends, I had never heard of Hanukkah. Now, I have to keep my Christmas spirit in check to avoid offending Jewish people. I remember receiving a few Christmas gifts. On greeting cards, Starbucks coffee cups and in everyday conversation, history shows people have chosen from a diverse selection of ways to express goodwill around the holiday season. By looking at historic literary works, you will see how far back this greeting can be traced. Occasionally I email you when I post a new article or if I have a question for my readers. Then again in 1565 in a document called the Hereford Municipal Manuscript. And, as offensive as it may sound to some Jewish people, I hold Hanukkah responsible for tainting Christmas. Everyone seemed to understand that the spirit of the wish was more important than the exact words said. You may be surprised to find that while many people think of “Merry Christmas” as the more modern of the two phrases. Christmas is not a major holiday in Japan, but the commercial aspects of it are enthusiastically embraced by many. I don’t believe it is true, can you Share this … Since most Japanese are not religious, they readily import anything festive regardless of their religious origins. Before this, the term “Happy Christmas” was more common. Bill O’ Reilly said that Christmas is “under siege.” He was mad that Macy’s was using “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” President-elect Donald Trump joined the “War on Christmas” bandwagon this year. Setting aside politics, what’s the history behind the different greetings? (Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images). MERRY CHRISTMAS!” … for which I was summarily. It was in the early 90′s that I started feeling the pressure to stop saying “Merry Christmas” around the holiday season. What started as a dispute forged by religious preference became … In the book Season’s Greetings From the White House, first published in 1996 and updated in 2007, author Mary Evans Seeley offers details of presidential Christmas cards, messages and gifts through the years. Controversy over phrasing rarely figured in to historical presidential holiday greetings. Hanukkah today is clearly a trivialized version of the original. It was replaced by a more generic, politically-correct version, “Happy holidays.” For me, being able to say, “Merry Christmas!” to anyone was a beautiful thing, even though I’m not Christian. That is, they would encourage Jewish people to “trivialize” Christmas. How did a simple salutation get so controversial? 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