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Merry Christmas versus Happy Holidays? Really?

Updated on December 18, 2016

Are these two just celebrating life without a reason?

This was taken during a special occasion. And that was us being together in love.
This was taken during a special occasion. And that was us being together in love. | Source

Could it be that the Holidays should be your kind of holiday?

What a strange phenomenon. Are there really Christians that take offense at happy holidays as a greeting? Is Christ really the reason for the season? For one this author takes no offense at words. Interest yes offense no.

Here is a funny notion to consider. Many of us do not care for this new concept of “taking offense” at just about anything. The PC thing is just a crock of nonsense. But this is where it gets weird. In reality criticism of the offense taking mentality is a quite conservative stance in general. Evangelical and other Christians make up the bulk of conservatives. And yet here we are with Christians taking offense at the use of Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. If you just step back and look at it, it is hilarious.

Let us be certain of two things; Christmas is not mentioned in the Bible, Old or New Testaments, and the most likely thing is that Christmas is not Christ’s birthdate. Just face the fact that the Roman Catholic Church does not claim this to be Christ’s birthday. And that certain “Christian” sects believe that “celebrating” a birthdate is basically blasphemy. Man celebrates a birthday not God.

Interesting but our US notion of church and state clearly prohibits school mandated Christian centered worship and prayer. It should. Schools should not mandate a single darned thing about spirituality. But they should tolerate those who practice their spirituality wherever they want to. No prohibition and no sponsoring. Banning spiritual practices in order to prevent the offending someone is dead wrong. Banning burning the flag because it makes someone uncomfortable is dead wrong. Funny again. Progressives encourage a tolerance for wearing a Burka yet attack a football player in college for displaying the crossing of body. Seems a Christian Coach cannot pray with his team. But there are Muslim places of worship on campus. As a society we are in la la land. In my son’s school they hit it hard and some kids wear crosses and some burkas. And they truly celebrate diversity not a conditioned celebration.

Hopefully the above helps get you into a mode of getting comfortable with YOUR reason to celebrate Christmas while allowing others their reasons. In my home, mom and dad are a bit divided on the concept. Mom was born and grew to about 30 with no concept of Christmas. Dad heavily grew up in it and was a Lay Eucharistic Minister with a degree in philosophy at the time mom got a clue. Dad had basically rejected most secular traditions and a whole bunch of “Christian” traditions. We’ll address how that has worked out with a small child in the mix.

Check out the story of Amal and the Midnight Visitors. A great story.

I appreciate the road you took to get here, but it was not my route.

This hat now resides on my honorary father in Saigon. Only about 90, dad, not the hat. He told my honorary sister that it was the best Christmas gift he ever got. It was in September. Right on dad.
This hat now resides on my honorary father in Saigon. Only about 90, dad, not the hat. He told my honorary sister that it was the best Christmas gift he ever got. It was in September. Right on dad. | Source

Dig Deep for your reason for the season and then embrace it!

Amal and the Midnight Visitors and A Christmas Carol and Charlie Brown and the Grinch and the song Tanenbaum are not at all Christ oriented. Jesus kind of gave some wine at a wedding, and kind of gave loaves of bread and fish, and kind of filled nets with fish. But I just cannot seem to recollect any material gift to someone individually. Correct me if I am wrong in the comments. Gifts given to God yes, in folklore and not biblically recalled. Again sacrifices were to God not a man. A gift from you to me is not Christ oriented. Standing in lines at a retailer or hours spent internet shopping is not charity.

Look hard at all this negative stuff. It is not worth an old shirt. The spirit of Christ is not in the doing but in the love of doing. If one so chooses every single tradition of man if done in love is done in God’s name. God makes very clear that God is Love. God makes very clear we are to love others as ourselves. Don’t know about you but I love giving me a gift! We make a jump and say that Christ is the reason for the season. But we forget that Christ is Love. And by golly jingle bells love had better be your reason for the season.

Welcome and bless all you agnostics and Atheists. I hope you get way into the traditions of man and go hog wild giving from your heart. All you secular humanists, I hope I can join with you in the heartfelt spirit of giving and making others feel loved.

This song was not part of my traditions, the genre was wrong. Until my live in Nephew, Atheist gave it to me for Christmas, 2009. Thanks Kanh!

I used to think that Christmas only resided in this traditional home of my birth.

One time my Doctor/dad in about 1962 loaded me into his car. It was Christmas Eve. He had to go out in the snow down a hard dirt road onto the Navajo Res. House Call I suppose. He delivered a baby while I played in the snow with my Native Americans
One time my Doctor/dad in about 1962 loaded me into his car. It was Christmas Eve. He had to go out in the snow down a hard dirt road onto the Navajo Res. House Call I suppose. He delivered a baby while I played in the snow with my Native Americans | Source

I think it was the day before Christmas eve. I got some work from Rancher Doc. Yard. We actually loaded hay on a horse drawn sled carriage to get it out to the

And so I am just overjoyed to wish you Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas. And oh baby I mean both. I really really hope and pray that each person gets joy and love during this season that in fact can represent Christ my Lord. I hope you get the love I do from just lifting my young son up to place the star on top of our Christmas tree, and then run for the goodies.

Now back to our interesting mom and dad and their young natural born US citizen and Christian. The dad steeped and mired in the Western Rite of Christmas was amazed. The wife without preconceived notions and still a Buddhist in her first encounter, without any thought or training in the Zen sphere simply instructed when asked “it is what it is, let us enjoy it”. Her next newly Christian experience with it was a simple response; “I love Jesus, it is good to celebrate His birth”. Over a decade later, she calmly – and I do mean calmly goes about with presents from the heart, charitable work and great happiness with her congregational family. And here is the really cool part about our lady mom. The love that she shows at Christmas time really makes one reflect on all the Love she has all year ‘round but is effusive about at her celebration of Christ. Perhaps a mother’s love is the closest to God’s love we can grasp.

So let us cut through all the crap. Our hearts are not dictated to by traditions. Our mind takes care of that. Maybe our enforced feelings of guilt and “must” and “should” creeps into that space between our ears. My elder brother is both a skeptic and a profound scoffer of Christianity. But he and my wonderful sister-in-law do the greatest acts of kindness during this season, and do them with so much love that it makes me have tears of joy knowing of such wonderful people. When we receive their wonderful gifts at Christmas we hug mightily and thank God for such miraculous folks. (of course do not tell my brother that)

So just who owns Christmas? It is clear that no one does. And yet everyone does. It is the coolest gift. We can do it secular. We can do it as a Jew. We can do it as a Christian. We can do it as a son and as a mother. We can do it in any language. We can do it like our mama and our grand mama. We can do it all retail. We can do it like in any stage of Scrooge’s transformation. For sure dudes and dudettes we can do it like a child or like a bride’s first year of marriage. How about doggie treats and extra seed for the birds during the cold chill?

So maybe you can take a page from my book, I do not care except that I care.

Instead of closing with wishing you something, let me close with this; Thank you for being a part of my world as we celebrate how and what we choose. Your special youness makes this a wonderful world.

It is good for me to be Care Full to learn when I should speak no more. Let me know in comments if you feel that might be right.

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    • Paul K Francis profile image

      Paul K Francis 4 months ago from east coast,USA

      That good old Christmas Spirit radiates from your hub. Christmas is for everyone, and "by golly jingle bells" a very merry one to you and yours.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 months ago from Olympia, WA

      I can't get caught up in this controversy. Love to all...that's my new holiday greeting.

      Love to you, Eric, and your family.

    • Tamarajo profile image

      Tamarajo 4 months ago from Southern Minnesota

      I liked your take on this hotly debated topic. I think the offense comes from fear. Fear that, like a favorite football team, Christianity appears to be losing ground on the homefront. I think we would do well to try and discover what the problem is, because I think how we express a "Holiday" greeting is the absolute very least of "Christianity's" problems. Not to mention you are correct Christmas is not even a Biblical holiday and I'm having a hard time with the cultural traditions that are sprinkled with a little bit of Jesus to justify them...and wow do folks get upset when you mess with their traditions no matter how unbiblical they are. I have seen store clerks sneered at and rebutted with an angry "Merry Christmas" because they said "Happy Holidays. I like your prescription as well because we don't need to protect a tradition as much as we need to protect the greatest of commands to love God and love others. Christianity is losing ground because we are most lacking in these two vital things.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 4 months ago from Southern Illinois

      Every time I see your son's smiling face, I feel I was given a gift. I'm listening to the video.. Hopefully we all will learn to speak with more kindness. Merry Christmas, Happy holidays, to me the words mean the same. That's another example of the Christ's teaching, " Remove the plank out of your own eye. " It is difficult for me to be full of cheer when so many are starving and running for their lives in Aleppo. I know Godly people who never enter a church. Some people have become so critical in the churches, love is on the back burner. Merry Christmas and Happy holidays to you and your sweet family. God bless..

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 4 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Eric, I will always wish someone a Merry Christmas. That's how I roll--but I don't get offended or all uppity if someone says "Happy Holidays" to me. Life is too short for being to petty. This is not showing the love of Christ. Actions speak louder than words.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 4 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Hi Paul, I must admit I had to turn off the "Christmas" music. About an hour of it and I lose concentration and get real edgy ;-)

      A good thing going on here. While I do miss all of them -- There is a reason the call it "surrounded" by all your family. Thanks for coming by and letting me know.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 4 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Bill that is funny the way you said that. "Love to you and yours" just got blurted out at my favorite grocery store clerk -- she was taken aback and looked shocked. Recovered quickly and said "And give my love to that little guy of yours" She just remembered my little Gabriel. OK I admit I got misty eyed but I did not weep in public.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 4 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Tamarajo, When I first saw you commented my mind went right to your grandchildren, and I had not read your profile in a long time. It is nice to have friends here. I caught myself saying Happy Holidays to a long time friend who is Christian. This guy loves to party!! So I was really thinking about his drunken revelry on New Years Eve. It certainly did not slow down our warm embrace to say good-by. As he said "sweet dreams" knowing I am asleep by nine on that eve. I still "take' out the garbage but I don't "take" me so seriously.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 4 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Ruby I hope you have a wonderful time this year with family and friends. I get the impression that you always do. That gut feeling that suggests to us not to celebrate while others suffer, was a big part of why My wife and I are doing charitable work in other's names for presents this year. (don't worry that does not extend to small children) And don't tell anyone but now we are feeling guilty that we are getting so much pleasure for ourselves out of it. We have Happy Holidays around here but seemingly not a happy medium

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 4 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      So good to hear from you Linda. I have to confess this to you before Christmas. Hearing from you always makes me smile immediately for a funny reason. Around these parts we say "Que linda". Which at least in Spanglish means "how beautiful". And your soul matches up just right with that. I had a buddy years ago who was going all radical Atheist on me. I fully confess I would say Merry Christmas to him to get a rise. I repented. And of course he is now a devout Episcopalian who chastises me for not going to at least three services this week.The only real constant is love.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 4 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Eric, you made me smile, mist up a little, laugh (almost out loud), and smile again--all in the same comment.

      I always look forward to your sermons, and to hearing from you in your comment and aside. Although we will probably never meet this side of Heaven, I consider you a friend and brother in Christ--hence the smile and the tears.

      The story of your buddy made me laugh--you are such a devil (and I say that lovingly). And, you know what? You did the work our Lord told us to do. You didn't "convert" him. That's the work of the Holy Spirit. You just planted that seed, and over time (and time, and time, and time....) it grew and flourished.

      And I smile (again) knowing that your house and home are filled with love. And now I know that the "little man" is named Gabriel which in Hebrew means "my strength is in God". How perfect!

      Love to "YOU AND YOURS" today and always.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 4 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      That buddy called me tonight Linda. All he really wanted to know was when he could come by to share the love. I dust my pride up and off my shoulders like dandruff. And I am ever humbled by God's grace.

      Oh boy we had it again today,,,, What about Santa being real? Is what you think real? Is what you feel real? Are miracles real". Is there love within you that is not touchable? Can you see, touch, smell, hear my love? Is it real?

      Well son you tell me, is Santa Claus as real as my love for you? Magic and Miracles are not that different are they?

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 4 months ago from New Delhi, India

      Interesting hub and lovely pictures!

      I would like to wish you both --Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! The whole purpose is to feel blessed, extend Happiness and joy to everyone.

      Thanks for sharing!

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 4 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you ChitrangadaSharan. One thing is for sure, you share your love with me all the time even as far away as we are.

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 4 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Eric - Look at my page on HP. I know we're not supposed to promote ourselves in the comments, but there is a story that you should read about Santa. It's the #1 story that cycles through at the top. Maybe Gabriel is ready for it.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 4 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Ah yes Linda I remembered it and reread it. A wonderful piece. Well we do not have a problem with Santa.

      I reckon in a house where there is not Spirit of Santa -- he just does not go there.

      Where there is, he goes there.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 4 months ago from San Diego California

      You have outdone yourself as drugstore sage and armchair philosopher. I mean those as deep, heartfelt compliments. Sometimes I get lost in the legal complexity of your barrister's arguments, but the spirit of your thesis shines through the beautiful flow and cadence of your words. I get a little tear looking at the picture of your lovely little family. Merry Christmas to you, yours, and all in the Sprung Valley!

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 4 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Mel, that is a really nice compliment coming from a man I respect even though he lives even closer to TJ than I. Yesterday at my son's school they had "Spirit Day" kids were supposed to wear a holiday hat. So be it. 3 out of 4 wore Christmas stuff.

      We have a council meeting coming up and I have already requested a report from the administration. We need to know and counsel the poor children traumatized by it.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 4 months ago from The Caribbean

      No matter how the greeting is composed, this is a season of joy, and I will not be offended by anyone who is gracious enough to express a greeting. I say "Christmas," to remind myself and others of the "Christ" part of the celebration and I hope no one is offended. You said it right Eric, it's all about sharing the love.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 4 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Dora.

      That is such a great statement: .... I will not be offended by anyone who is gracious enough to express a greeting"

      I think I will really enjoy going out of my way to greet people today. One of my favorite parts of this season is the ladies getting dressed up all holiday like - a license to break out in happy dress. I will let them know that I appreciate it. Starting with my wife.

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 4 months ago from LOS ANGELES

      I always say Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I'm not offended by anyone who feels they should not say Merry Christmas but Happy Holidays. I won't infringe on their rights if they respect mines. Have a Merry Christmas, and Happy New year to you and your family.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 4 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      We are battling tension in our home. It must be left with our shoes at the door. I cotton no Merry Christmas stress.

      And we do celebrate but it takes some effort.

      Thank you for reminding me that all that is important is love.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 3 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      I'm not offended at all by the term "Happy holidays." But when it becomes politically incorrect to say, "Merry Christmas", that' s a different story. When the attempt to remove Christ from the public, I, for one, get a little upset. If people can say, "Happy Holidays", I expect to be allowed to say "Merry Christmas. But like I said, the term doesn't offend me.

      Thanks for a good article. You brought it well.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 3 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      William I just went over and started following you. Silly me for not already doing it. I just wrote another piece and it dealt with "why is it Merry Christmas and why is it Happy Holidays?" So I started saying Merry New Year. And it just made me realize that words really do not do justice to Christmas. Handshakes, door openings, giving a place in line, a warm hug, a warm smile these are the true words that define what is in our hearts.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 3 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Eric

      I take it some folks don't 'appreciate' using a greeting other than 'Merry Christmas' in December, despite the idea Hannuka and Diwali (or even Ramadan) might fall at the same time (Ramadan is 'lunar' so it moves a bit every year!)

      I'm with you on this one, yes it's the time I celebrate Christmas, but others don't, they let me celebrate Christmas (and we've been known to follow a lot of the traditions, but forget about the old light thing, that AIN'T HAPPENIN' BRO) so I'll let them celebrate the things they want to!

      Enjoyed this thought, even if I was late getting here.

      Lawrence

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 3 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Lawrence you are in fact timely. We here celebrate one of the most spectacular and effective Civil Rights Leaders the world has ever known - maybe up there with Ghandhi and Mandella. It is monday. All day yesterday there were greetings of happy MLK day. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I preferred to say Merry Martin Luther day. Although out this way we also say Felice dia de MLK.

      It reminded me that just about any cool greeting of any occasion opens up some connection between folks. And that is very good.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 3 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Eric

      I've heard of MLK day, have a good one.

      Over here we've got 'Auckland' anniversary day on 30th Jan and 'Waitangi day' on 6th Feb when we celebrate the founding of the country.

      Waitangi day is always a bit controversial because of the way in the past the local indigenous population were treated, and the fact the government has tried to fix the issue, some say they've given too much away, others say not enough has been done, but most of just enjoy the day out in the sun!

      Have a great one

      Lawrence

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 3 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Cool Lawrence our Columbus day and Thanksgiving day are compromised by truth of destruction of our brothers and sisters of indigenous ethnicity. Christmas also due to very bad destructive behavior to probably 20 generation subsets of Mongolia and your Aborigines. I reckon it is what it is. I still love my Muslim brothers and sisters regardless of the Moorish invasions and my Scandinavian people regardless of Viking invasions. I live near San Juan Capistrano - and I love sparrows just the same.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 3 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      Amen to that!!

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 2 months ago from Philippines

      Well said, Eric:). It is more honest and true to be open to all faiths, because they all exist, than to censor all of them out of fear of offending someone. By being open we also gain the ability to learn of what inspires and motivates others, while all of us enjoy the pleasure of openly celebrating the faith that we all hold so close to our own hearts.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 2 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Mona, your comment is timely for us here. We basically have historically President Lincoln's day and George Washington's day. But now some like schools celebrate both days with a holiday, and most now have a consolidated President's day.

      It seems that some don't so much love those two presidents and like others. So in essence the "President's" day now exists so as not to offend.

      Well no matter what Mona - Happy Valentine's Day!!!

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 2 months ago from Philippines

      Hahaha, thanks so much Eric:). Happy Valentine's Day to you, too.

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