It\’s that time of year again – the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. And for some folks, a yuletide debate— to say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays?

It\’s been happening for some time now; more and more people have given up the traditional \’Merry Christmas\’ greeting. It\’s even a rule in some places of work. That their employees are not allowed to wish anyone a Merry Christmas but must use the greeting Happy Holidays instead. And instead turned to the more generic, and what people see as the non-religious, greeting of\” Happy Holidays.

That was the case for me when I was a Social Worker. It was strongly suggested that we say Happy Holidays. I remember one family I worked with. As I left their home for about two years, I\’d say, \”Have A Good Holiday.\” They said nothing back to me. Then one year, I said my usual \” Have A Good Holiday,\” and the mother said rather sternly,\” in this house, we say Merry Christmas.\” From then on, at least at their home, I knew I was welcome to say Merry Christmas.

What it really relates to is, what would Jesus do? Would he get upset if someone said Happy Holidays to Him? No. Would he be offended if he said Merry Christmas to someone and they said Happy Holidays back? No. He wouldn\’t care about the words people were using during the Holidays.

Instead, I believe he would be more worried that, as Christians, we were following what John 13:34 says:

\”I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, that you also love one another.\”

John 13:34—NASB

If we disagree with others over why saying Happy Holidays is taking Christ out of Christmas, are we helping the situation? Probably not. We must spread love, shine a light and be disciples of Christ.

Yes, Christmas has become more secular, and the true meaning has been taken out of the celebration in the world around us.

So, let\’s focus on shining God\’s love and loving those around us. Whether we agree with Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings, or any other phrase people may use! Suppose you correct someone who uses a different holiday greeting rather than Merry Christmas? In that case, you\’re likely making a non-situation situation.

Follow God\’s lead— if you feel led to start a conversation with someone about this, please do. If not, smile, thank them, move along, and know they were probably trying to be nice (something this world needs more of with everything going on)!

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36 Comments

  1. Well, you asked so…it’s Merry Christmas for me. If we’re celebrating Christmas, the birth of Jesus, then Happy Holidays seems like an insult to Jesus. If I’m out shopping or at a restaurant and someone says Happy Holidays to me, I reply with Merry Christmas. I refuse to buy Christmas cards that say Happy Holidays or Seasons Greeting, just doesn’t seem right to me. Anyway, thanks so much for hosting. I linked up with 2 and 3.

    1. I’m the same way Dee. I don’t buy anything that says happy holidays or seasons greetings. I too reply with Merry Christmas.

  2. I love your words so much here, Paula. The concern shouldn’t be about which words we’re saying, but the love of Christ we’re showing (or not showing, as the case may be). Thank you for spelling this out so clearly and poignantly.

    1. Thank you so much Lisa, and you’re welcome.

  3. Awesome! I’m learning about new blogs to follow. Thank you. 🙂 Merry Christmas! 🙂

    1. Thank you sweet friend. I too discovered many new blogs and wonderful like minded people in Christ by participating in blog hops. Merry Christmas sweet friend. <>

  4. I say Merry Christmas whenever I’m speaking to someone. But you are so right about our heart attitudes. It really is more important how we respond to people. They need to see the love of God in us, especially if they are unbelievers. Blessing to you as we set off on all the events leading up to Christmas.

    1. Thank you bunches for linking up and your kind words. Merry Christmas sweet friend. <>

  5. Merry Christmas, Paula! This is sure to be a fun place to stop in this month with so many good Christmas and end of the year posts to look through. Thanks for being such a generous hostess. Bless you!

    1. Merry Christmas to you too sweet friend. It really has been fun reading through everyone’s Christmas posts. <>

  6. my first time linking up with you. thanks for hosting!

    1. Tanya, Welcome! I’m so happy to have you join me. It’s been such a treasure for me to meet new people here in the blogosphere. I’ve made many new friends. I chose to have my link up unlimited incase anyone has any older posts that could use some love and attention too. Merry Christmas sweet friend. <>

  7. Interesting discussion, I’m not sure I agree with your answer though. I do believe our response should always be loving though. Have you ever wondered why of all the religions in the world, it is only Christian holidays that people secularize and want to change the name of so as to not to offend anyone? For example, no one would ever dream of changing the name or purpose of a Muslim or Hindu holiday for that would be disrespectful, yet they feel they can do that to a Christian holiday and then force the Christian to go against their personal religous convictions and call their religous observance by a different name so as “not to offend anyone”. Thanks for the party!

    1. Yes Amy, I have thought of that many times. You’re so right no one would change any Muslin or Hindu holidays. You are so right it is just the Christian holidays that are secularized so as to not offend anyone. I’ve always thought many people don’t want to offend others, just God. Wonderful insights my friend. <>

  8. I’ve often used the same arguement– heck, I wouldn’t even be upset or offended if I said Merry Christmas and the person replies Happy Hanukkah! I figure as long as they reply happily with a smile on their face that’s good enough for me.

    1. Thanks for visiting and commenting Jo. Merry Christmas sweet friend. <>

  9. Thank you for hosting.

    This made me think. I hate when people say Happy Holidays BUT when I say Merry Christmas back, am I saying it with love, or am I saying it with a bit of malice in my heart? I am still going to say Merry Christmas back, hopefully with the love of Jesus in my heart.

    1. You’re most welcome Marie. Amen and Amen. Merry Christmas sweet friend. <>

  10. Paula I really dislike having to say “Happy Holidays”, in fact if someone says Happy Holidays, I usually reply “Merry Christmas”. But I agree with you, the point is sharing the love and peace of the season with others. If I’m unsure, I often say “Wishing you the Peace & Love of the Season”. Great thoughts!

    1. It was really discouraging that I had to say Happy Holidays when I was a Social Worker. I too reply with Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas sweet friend! <>

  11. Thanks so much for hosting. My entries are 45 and 46.

    1. You’re welcome Dee. Thanks bunches for linking up. Merry Christmas sweet friend! <>

  12. Holiday means holy day so I think it’s just as good!

  13. Good thoughts here, Paula. I know people who get upset about the use of Happy Holidays, but I’m more inclined to be encouraged when someone says “Merry Christmas.” I guess it’s all about what you choose to focus on, huh? 🙂

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts Lois. Merry Christmas sweet friend! <>

  14. A Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you, Paula! May this season be full of His peace and joy as you intentionally draw near to Him.

  15. Thanks so much for hosting. My entries are 71 and 72.

    1. You’re welcome. Thanks bunches for linking, I enjoy your visits. Merry Christmas sweet friend! <>

  16. Paula, I thought I had already commented on this post but maybe it didn’t go through? Anyway, I love your persepctive here. Rather than get too upset when people DON’T say Merry Christmas, I try to appreciate it when they do. Giving people the benefit of the doubt is always helpful, I think.

    1. Yes, Lois you did comment already. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. Merry Christmas sweet friend! <>

  17. When my husband and I went to buy our Christmas tree, there was an older woman cashiering. After the transaction was completed, I told her “Merry Christmas!” She was thrilled I had said those words to her and we had a conversation as there was no one behind me. While it does not matter to me what others say to me, I usually always say Merry Christmas. You have made a very good point, Paula, for our words should be spoken in love and with the right heart motivation. Merry Christmas and many blessings, sweet friend!

  18. We returned last year from living in Dubai for 7 years and it was most definitley Happy Christmas over there, with all the malls decorated, carol singers, church services and more. i used to teach in an Arabic school and my students and their parents would wish me a Merry Christmas and buy gifts. My arabic neighbours would come round to see the tree and decorations and would invite me in exchange round theirs to celebrate Ramadan and Eid with them. It’s only in the UK I ever hear stories about offending other religions.
    Thanks for linking with #pocolo

  19. I love a holiday – but a snow holiday without snow wouldn’t be a snow holiday. The Easter Holiday wouldn’t be a holiday without Jesus dying on the cross – and the December 25 Holiday wouldn’t be a holiday without celebrating Jesus birth (Christmas). I do believe words mean something – and in a country founded on Judeo-Christian values, it’s important to call something what it is – so Merry Christmas it is! (I am a literalist, after all). Merry Christmas, Paula! Thank you for offering a discussion!

  20. I commented before on this article before but it has been on my mind so much. I noticed on Twitter someone said something about this subject so I shared your article. Thank you again for writing it.
    Merry Christmas.

    Walking With the King,

    Marie

  21. Merry Christmas, Paula!

    Thank you for pointing us to what is important–love. We all try too hard to say the right thing so no one is offended, but we should ask ourselves if we are saying it in the name of love.

    John 13:34 is the starting place we should refer to before saying what we want to say.

  22. Paula,
    Sorry it took me so long to link up my posts but i guess better late than never as the saying goes!!
    Merry Christmas to you and your family!!
    Thanks again for hosting this charming party!! I truly appreciate the time and effort that goes into it! Stay safe, healthy and happy!!
    Hugs,
    Deb

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