Conservatives Like “Merry Christmas”; Liberals Like “Happy Holidays”

SellwynThumbby Selwyn Duke12/22/16
Ah, liberals. They really are a breed apart (mostly from sanity). And a timely example of how we’re a divided nation concerns the conservative/liberal dispute over how to greet people at Christmastime. As the Star-Telegram reports in a piece titled “‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘Happy Holidays’? Your response says a lot about your politics”:

Two-thirds of Democrats (66 percent) said stores or business should greet customers with “Happy Holidays” or “Seasons Greetings” instead of “Merry Christmas” out of respect for people of different faiths. Two-thirds of Republicans (67 percent) said stores and business should not go with the religion-neutral sayings.

The poll was conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute, a nonprofit, independent research organization.

The divide also cuts across age groups and religious backgrounds. Two-thirds of young adults (ages 18-29) are in favor of “Happy Holidays,” while 54 percent of seniors favor “Merry Christmas.”

The poll found white evangelical Protestants (65 percent) and Catholics (58 percent) as the strongest proponents of businesses using “Merry Christmas.” Non-white Protestants (56 percent) and religiously unaffiliated (58 percent) favor stores using “Happy Holidays.”

Of course, part of the connection here is that young people and non-white Protestants tend to be more liberal.

The newspaper also points out that while Donald Trump’s 2015 Yuletide card stated “Merry Christmas + Happy Holidays,” Barack Obama’s never had “Merry Christmas” written on his. This year’s does feature Obama’s picture, though, making him “just the fourth known president to ever feature a photo of himself on the White House Christmas card since the tradition began in 1927,” reports the New York Post. Well, it is fitting, in a way. Obama has spent eight years playing Bad Santa, stealing from taxpayers to give to those on his “nice” list, which, coincidentally, is exactly the same as his cronies list.

Of course, with Obama about to exit stage left, conservatives do have more about which to be merry. Liberals, not so much. (Except for Hillary Clinton. She has gotten the present of ample time to meander in the Chappaqua woods, hand-in-hand with the love of her life — and of innumerable other lives — Bill.) But since I like to be a uniter, not a divider, a peacemaker and not a scalp-taker, I want to find some common ground liberals and conservatives can share here.

While choosing Christmas cards at a local drug store last year, I found myself next to some early-twenties, stone-faced, quasi-clipped-haired female. I don’t remember how our interaction began, but I know at one point she started talking out loud, ostensibly to herself, about how she didn’t want any religious cards. The commentary was obviously meant for my ears.

So being the chivalrous fellow I am, I helped her out. I informed her, nicely, that “holiday” was actually a contraction of “Holy Day.” The information didn’t exactly make her body piercings vibrate with joy. She shrugged it off as if it were no big deal, and I’m not sure if I said goodbye. But I’d hope that I had, as that word is basically a contraction of “God be with ye” — and she seemed in need of His guiding hand.

Another good suggestion for liberals is to spend the next couple of weeks in a place where their senses needn’t be accosted with the sights and sounds of the season. North Korea comes to mind. You can be arrested for celebrating Christmas there and executed for evangelizing. Never fear, though, it’s not as if you’ll want for celebratory occasions. As Time wrote in 2009, “On December 24, many North Koreans observe the birthday of Kim Jong Suk — the deceased mother of dictator Kim Jong Il…. Three days later, they are given a day off work for Constitution Day. Even New Years’ Day is more about revolutionary zeal than ushering in 2010, when thousands of North Koreans will walk in a yearly procession to the Kumsusan Memorial Palace at the northeast outskirts of the capital to pay homage to the preserved body of Kim Il Sung, the father of North Korea.” Wow, sounds like a blast.

The real problem with wishing liberals a merry (or happy) anything is not that it may offend them, but that it seems like an exercise in futility. Wouldn’t the wish “Tearless Tolerance” be more appropriate? Nonetheless, I will say to all and sundry: Merry Christmas and Happy Holy Days — and, hey, may God be with ye.

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20 Responses to Conservatives Like “Merry Christmas”; Liberals Like “Happy Holidays”

  1. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    The poll found white evangelical Protestants (65 percent) and Catholics (58 percent) as the strongest proponents of businesses using “Merry Christmas.” Non-white Protestants (56 percent) and religiously unaffiliated (58 percent) favor stores using “Happy Holidays.”

    The numbers are interesting, but until lately, the people making the most noise about this question have been leftists. Your everyday conservative is, generally speaking, not one to cause a ruckus, thus the playing field has been left open to the malcontents personified by the young lady mentioned in this piece who had a funny hair-do.

    Hopefully, the Right has finally figured out that one can not sit by quietly and watch the world go by. We must get involved and stay involved. Push back. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    Liberals hate references to Christ. As I’ve pointed out, they react much like Dracula to Christian references. After all, the name of the holiday is Christmas, so what harm is there in wishing someone a merry Christmas?

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      so what harm is there in wishing someone a merry Christmas?

      I believe that this is a distinct possibility.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Appropriate. That’s more or less how vampires react to sunlight (and perhaps to the Cross; they always avoid it so it’s hard to know the precise physical effect).

  3. Anniel says:

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

  4. SkepticalCynic SkepticalCynic says:

    I doubt that I need to say this to those that visit this site regularly, so those can go back to napping. Christmas is a religious holiday brought about by Christ and his Christians on this earth. To my mind, if you are not a Christian, you need not celebrate it. This also includes businesses that resist anything Christian, and especially sales of their merchandise to buying Christians.. Christmas is a time of joy or should be for all Christians. What I would like to see just one time before I die is to see all Christians celebrate Christmas for exactly what it is and to drop all and any commercialism related to its celebration.

    I once read a piece that suggested among other things that non-Christians ought not get Christmas and Easter off or Sunday either for that matter I mean you either accept the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ or you don’t. If your heart is right and you except HIM he will accept you. Read: St. John 6:37 We have many, many, many people in America who are spiritually dead. Could this be an omen of still worse things to come?

  5. Stuart Whitman Stuart Whitman says:

    I’ consider myself conservative and say Happy Holidays not to avoid offending someone or to be inclusive, but to reference the season from Thanksgiving thru New Years. And I really couldn’t care less what anyone thinks of my word choice. This is another contrived issue serving to divide and label us. We are a pluralistic society founded on freedom of worship so this Merry Christmas religious test seems quite un-American to me. We have our public and our private norms. At church tonight it will be Merry Christmas to my fellow worshippers.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I can’t speak for the eloquent Selwyn, but I think I know his mind:

      His recommendation of “Merry Christmas” over and above “Happy Holidays” is not in the context of a world where atheists and “secular” types give kind regards to nativity scenes and such. In such a world, we could easily wish a “Happy Holidays” to one and all.

      But unless you just crawled out from under a rock, Christmas and Christians are under assault. I also find myself wishing a “Happy Holidays” now and then — but usually simply to avoid repeating myself, having already wished someone a “Merry Christmas” — including the faux pas of doing so to a Jehovah’s Witness.

      “Merry Christmas” is an offensive word to many on the Left. Although the motivation might be somewhat un-Christian-like, I don’t believe that giving offense should be a one-way street. And either you realize that you are in a battle for your culture, or you do not.

      So Merry Christmas, one and all! It’s the festive version of an f-bomb.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:


        “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas”? Which is one to use without stepping on the sensitive toes of our diversity dazed, super-sensitive secular citizens?

        As a compromise, I suggest we use a phrase which my British friends are wont to utter at this time of the year, to wit, “Happy Christmas!”

        Now isn’t that a Solomonic solution.

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      And I really couldn’t care less what anyone thinks of my word choice. This is another contrived issue serving to divide and label us

      Absolutely. I feel the same about the words male and female, man or woman. The use of such words is a contrived issue serving to divide and label us. We should simply call each other persons. Or perhaps “citizen” would do. After all, they tried that for a while in France after chopping off a few heads.

      • Stuart Whitman Stuart Whitman says:

        Not picking up anything thought provoking here beyond your lame attempt at sarcasm. Or is it smug condescension? If saying Merry Christmas authenticates your Christianity and puts you in good standing in “our culture” then so be it, citizen.

        The title of this piece suggests we are easily sorted into neat categories politically and otherwise. And to the extent that Christmas is “under attack” I agree. But I offered an alternative perspective and as usual you have proven to be disagreeable. Guess I haven’t passed your test of political or religious purity. Where did you say you’re from?

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          I hope you had a Merry Christmas Stuart.

          It is humorous that you find my sarcasm lame yet use the same sarcasm when trying to be clever in criticizing it. Be that as it may…

          Conservatives often encounter such nonsense as contained in your postings, but we normally let it slide. However, every so often, it is good to call out foolish philosophy by exposing the weakness and destructiveness of the ideas.

          One of the more silly ideas you wrote was “that this is a contrived issue serving to divide and label us.”

          Given the political climate which has prevailed over the last several decades, one must have a serious case of living-in-a-cave-itis not to notice that the Left has tried to push the use of “Merry Christmas” from the public sphere in the ongoing cultural battle with “secularism” which is actually driven by an intolerant atheism. This issue is contrived not by anyone on the right being obsessed by contrived labels but by the Left contriving this entire circumstance of trying to smother “Merry Christmas” with bland and dishonest notions of a faux “get-along-ism.”

          With this as a backdrop, this “no labels” nonsense you seem to prefer is the equivalent of waving a white flag and legitimizing this bullying.

          A few numbers might serve to enlighten you.

          A 2014 Pew Survey broke down the religious affiliations of the USA as follows.

          70.6% Christian
          1.9% Jew
          0.9% Muslim
          0.7% Hindu
          0.7% Buddhist
          1.8% other religions
          22.8% No affiliation
          0.6% not stated.

          A 2013 ABC poll showed 83% of Americans identified as Christians.

          In light of this information and the overwhelming percentage of Christians in America, where exactly is the division? Who is really trying to divide whom? Who exactly is offended by Merry Christmas? The atheists and agnostics, the Jews and Muslims, the Hindus and Buddhists? I have been lucky to know people in each of these categories and cannot recall one who even hinted that he might be made uncomfortable by the greeting. Suffice it to say that it is not a burning issue with them. On the contrary, I know many non-Christians who are quite happy to use the greeting themselves.

          The only people for whom this is a burning issue is Leftists, who wish to eradicate religion in general and Christianity in particular from America.

          You further state, “We are a pluralistic society founded on freedom of worship so this Merry Christmas religious test seems quite un-American to me.”

          I guess you are easily confused. No one is using the greeting “Merry Christmas” as a religious test. This greeting, or something like it, has been the traditional greeting in the Western world for centuries. And, by the way, being a pluralistic society does not mean any traditions which may have originated in religion must be erased. It also doesn’t mean taking religion out of the public square regardless of what you so mistakenly seem to believe. Hell, Europe these days is almost pagan and they don’t have idiots running around trying to erase Christmas greetings. There are even cities in Asia which have Christmas decorations.

          In truth, if there is any modern religious test in this regard, it is the Left’s demand that everyone substitute “Happy Holidays” for Merry Christmas, i.e. it is a test against religion. It is the fanatical PC crowd which likes to shove this rubbish down the throats of others. You, who have clearly drunk deeply of the draughts of Political Correctness, can swallow this garbage if you wish, but the rest of us don’t have to. We are sick of it and are using our free speech rights to push back and reclaim our traditions.

          You claim you use “Happy Holidays” to reference the time from Thanksgiving thru New Years. Then you say that you don’t care what anyone thinks about your using this term.

          I must admit, I laughed when this first caught my eye. The statement is somewhat less than believable. Does anyone really say “Happy Holidays” for Thanksgiving or for New Years? I was out today and heard Happy New Year a couple of times, but no Happy Holidays. In fact, I have never heard it used for Thanksgiving or New Years and neither have others I mentioned this to. Frankly, I doubt that you use it this way either. It is only used between Thanksgiving and New Years to keep from saying Merry Christmas.

          If you actually do constantly say “Happy Holidays” I apologize, but then several other questions arise. Is your memory so poor that you can’t keep track of the national holidays which occur on the fourth Thursday of November, December 25th and January 1st, not to mention the days of Hanukah? Is your sensitivity to others so refined that you do not wish to bruise their delicate egos by uttering the actual name of a holiday? Or is the truth that you do care what others think and by spouting an untraditional “Happy Holidays”, you can display PC self-righteousness so others like you will think you superior to those Rubes who cling to old traditions? The world wonders!

          A particularly laughable and uninformed remark of yours is, “ If saying Merry Christmas authenticates your Christianity and puts you in good standing in “our culture” then so be it, citizen.”

          To set the record straight, I am not a Christian and have never made the argument for the use of “Merry Christmas” on religious grounds. I have never celebrated Christmas as a religious holiday. So I am not trying to authenticate your, or my, Christianity.

          Your inquiry as to where I am from is also curious. Got a little bias going there? Well, I am from the U.S.A.

          In case you still don’t get it, let me sum things up for you. I see the “war” against Merry Christmas as much a political attack as a religious attack on Western culture. That should not be surprising because for the Left everything, including religion is politics. Such being the case, those actively pushing the use of “Happy Holidays” as opposed to “Merry Christmas” are the same people who actively wish to sweep Western traditions out the door, or are their useful idiots.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        There’s a place for being polite and not offending people gratuitously. This is one of the main gears that drives civilization.

        However, how the act of “giving offense” is defined and perceived is what is at stake. And if one isn’t willing to stick up for “Merry Christmas,” even if it gives offense, then one may as well wave the white flag on all the other issues.

        One can certainly fight this cultural war with a smile and with good cheer. I said “Merry Christmas” to about every fellow traveler I met on the snow-covered mountain yesterday after doffing my shut-in status after three weeks due to rain, rain, and more rain. But on Christmas Eve, the sun was shining and the top of the mountain had over seven inches of new-fallen snow. What a site. What a beauty. And, I can tell you, what an effortful hike through that stuff, although it was, of course, thinner near the bottom.

        I said “Merry Christmas” to everyone I met, but with good cheer, not as a Jihadist would. And most said it back with equal good cheer, with one child adding a PC-ish “Happy Hanukkah” sort of as an afterthought, surely long indoctrinated in the most important art “not to offend.” Or perhaps topped with my ski cap I looked Jewish. I don’t know.

        And had anyone told me to “stuff it,” I would have shaken the dust off my feet and moved on. But, good god, people, if you can’t defend “Merry Christmas,” what will you defend?

        By the way. Merry Christmas to you and your lovely family, Mr. Kung.

    • Rosalys says:

      I believe that the “War on Seasonal Greetings” is a push back against the godless left’s making a big stink about it. These great proclaimers of “tolerance” are the most intolerant people on earth.

      Merry Christmas, and God bless us every one!

      • Stuart Whitman Stuart Whitman says:

        I get it. Similar to so many other things, the left makes the issue to put conservatives on defense. Now we have the circular firing squad and even though the left is wrong, they continue to set the agenda. Conservatives, traditionists, and Christians need to stop taking the bait and go on offense for a change. It’s what Trump did successfully and was able to defeat the Bushes, the Clintons, and the media establishment. Washington and the UN are next. The best defense is a strong offense.

  6. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    The term “Happy Holidays” has been around for a hundred or so years. But it was little used until the late 1960’s-1970’s.

    Like much of what has to do with the retail business in the USA, I am pretty sure the term was picked up by New York department stores as a way to advertise for Christmas sales (generally something like a third of a store’s yearly sales revenue) to a population which was not majority Christian. This then spread across the country.

    The fact that this change took place at the same time the Left started its massive assault against our culture, may or may not be a coincidence.

  7. Glenn Fairman says:

    As Progressivism is merely the contemporary happy face of Marxism, it should come as no surprise that an aversion to the sacred is the movement’s default judgment. And despising pie in the sky for that earthly citadel is revelatory of a crisis of a soul that harbors a bitter unhappiness. Indeed, the pursuit of personal redemption can find no currency in a heart wedded to the Draconian vision of remaking the earth out of whole cloth, and of the accumulation of power to make it so. Having made the personal into the political, have they not wrung the joy from life and despised the precious and common things that animate good men to good deeds? Having traded humility for the curse of perpetual dissatisfaction, have they not painted themselves into a corner–becoming paradoxically the most affluent and miserable souls on the face of the earth?

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