My wife said something interesting to me yesterday. She said usually when you are out and about and you say “Merry Christmas” first to someone they respond naturally back, “Merry Christmas.” She said sometimes (like at a persons work place) they may be use-to-saying “Happy Holidays,” but even they, if you break the ice first with “Merry Christmas” respond in kind. Sant [my wife] mentioned that only one person this season went out of their way to stop, and purposely say “Happy Holidays.” [We watched the first and the last videos in my post dealing with the issue]
Now… Christmas is a real Federal holiday. And I noted with the wife that February has the most official holidays out of any month — the disingenuous of people who do not say “Happy Holidays” during this month but do during Christmas is telling.
It is a form a Christophobia – a fear of anything related to Christianity/Christ, A bias against one “particular” religious expression. A word like the one I used in one of my first “conversation series” posts on my old blog (November of 2006): “theophobia” – a fear of “the belief in one God as the creator and ruler of the universe”.
If I personally run into the person who insists on “Happy Holidays” it should be mentioned that it means “Happy Holy Day.” And it is worth mentioning that they are still referring to a set of HOLY DAYS… here NATIONAL REVIEW discusses the matter well:
…A few people who avoid saying “Merry Christmas” may do so out of scruples passed down to them from John Knox, but these days that’s rare. More common, sad to say, is the fear that public acknowledgment of a holy day peculiar to a particular religion will be interpreted as a dog whistle to imaginary theocrats plotting to overturn the establishment clause of the First Amendment. Some people outright hate the particular religion and therefore any proper nouns that are sacred to it; although the separate elements of “Christ-mas” are muddled when glued together in that composite, they’re still discernible, and those who loathe the faith tend to be rigorous, no less than those who hold to the narrower doctrine of strict religious neutrality.
Recall that devout Jews kept a respectful distance from the Holy of Holies and that Gentiles respectful of Judaism kept a respectful distance from the Temple’s inner courts. Devout Jews to this day preserve the Tetragrammaton from contact with hand or mouth — and hence their references to “Adonai” (Lord), a hedge against the Ineffable, and “HaShem” (the Name), a hedge against the hedge. Recall also that the first of the seven petitions that Jesus formulated in the prayer that he taught his disciples, including us, is that the name of “our Father” be “hallowed.” Christians translate the Tetragrammaton as “Kyrios” (Greek), “Dominus” (Latin), “Lord” (English, with small caps in the King James Version), and the equivalents in other languages.
“Throw not your pearls before swine,” the Lord teaches, meaning, among other things, “Be grateful wherever the character string ‘C h r i s t — ’ isn’t flashing next to underwear ads on Jumobtrons in Times Square.” Then redouble your gratitude if the word “holidays” enables us to smuggle into secular consumer culture a hint of anything like the transcendent. Most people now think of holidays as primarily days on which they don’t have to work, but even that much takes us halfway to the principle of the Sabbath, the very prototype of the holiday, or holy day.
Next, be grateful for the plural in “Happy holidays,” because people need to be reminded, or informed, that Christmas is a whole season, of which the Feast of the Nativity is not the end but the beginning. It extends to the Octave, on January 1, when traditional Catholics still observe the Feast of the Circumcision of Christ, but it doesn’t stop even there. On the twelfth day of Christmas, Christians observe the Feast of the Epiphany, when the Magi finally reach Bethlehem and present their gifts, a bit of metal and a couple of jars of stems and leaves — you think that’s not enough? It’s holy. It’s enough…