‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘Happy Holidays’?


KYLE DAY, Opinion Columnist

A Controversial Carol

So, every year, Thanksgiving comes and brings,

With it a sense of peace and gratitude

That unifies our country, ‘til it leaves

In its wake much more hostile attitudes.

For soon after, we always reignite

The conflict over whether one should say

The word “Christmas,” or greet each other with

“Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays.”

The debate often seems quite personal,

Because it speaks to what one values most.

(Though sometimes it seems as silly and quaint

As arguing which side to butter toast.)

“Yours isn’t the only holiday, you know!

There are other cultures that celebrate

Their own sacred pasts during December,

Don’t neglect them!” some say, sounding irate.

Others reply, “We know there are. So what?

We’ve never observed them as a culture.

Much more of us observe Christmas than not,

So stop snipping at us like a vulture!”

The main concern seems to be inclusion,

To make sure that no one feels they’re left out

But those who are concerned fail to see what

The other greeting’s really all about.

To be “merry” is just to be jolly,

To be festive, cheerful and even gay.

A “Merry Christmas,” then, is nothing more

Than experiencing joy on that day.

So far from excluding, the greeting’s great!

It wishes joy for both Gentile and Jew.

It proclaims the reason one has joy, hopes

The greeted will experience it, too!

When you’re in love with someone, or even

If you just love a new ice cream flavor

You want to tell the whole world about it

After all, you’re doing it a favor!

Such is the Twenty-Fifth of December

To all who celebrate the virgin birth

Of a first-century Jewish teacher

Whose life and love is of infinite worth.

You don’t have to believe in Christian claims

Regarding the Christmas story, you see.

If their belief is sincere, then so is

Their wish for your satisfaction and glee.

So, the next time you hear somebody say

“Merry Christmas!” don’t be mad, just realize:

“This person wants me to be happy and,

To me, they cared enough to vocalize!”

So, with love of the season (and for you),

And without guilt or shame or doubt or fear

I wish you a very Merry Christmas

And also a very Happy New Year.