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Is Saying Merry Christmas Rude?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
I was wondering what everyone thinks of this. Do you think it's rude to say Merry Christmas rather than happy holidays? I'd love to hear your opinions on this.
post #2 of 28
I voted "No. Who cares what people say as long as they're being kind?". I don't see what the big deal is. Sometimes I think people are too touchy. If someone said "Happy Hanukkah" to me, I wouldn't be offended because I'm not Jewish, I'd simply thank the person. The same if someone said "Happy Ramadan", for that matter. In my mind it's the holiday season's version of "Have a nice day". (Of course, then, some people are offended by that too...)
post #3 of 28
I don't think it's rude, but in the business I work in, there is a very big cross section of jewish people, and so I personally make it a point to always say happy holidays. I don't think anyone would be offended if I said Merry Christmas, but I just try to cover my butt. First and foremost I represent my company, so I'm extra cautious. The cards we send out to clients say Seasons greetings and happy holidays.

That caution bleeds over into my personal life as well, and I find it just as easy to tell some one to have a safe and peaceful holiday as to say merry christmas.
post #4 of 28
Personally,I think this "political correctness" is getting ridiculous. These people need to get a life. If someone is "offended" when I wish them Merry Christmas" that's THEIR problem. let's remember the real meaning of Christmas and wish each other peace and happiness. If that's offensive somebody's got a few screws loose.
post #5 of 28
I don't feel ridiculous telling someone happy holidays, and I don't say it because I'm afraid that they are going to go off on me because they don't have a life, I do it out of respect. To me happy holidays encompasses the entire season, from now and until new years. The whole world can say merry christmas, I don't have a problem with that, as I celebrate christmas. I personally just prefer to wish someone a happy and healthy season. I have a lot of jewish friends, who wouldn't be the least bit ruffled if I wished them a merry christmas, but if I know that they don't celebrate christmas, then I'm not going to wish them a merry christmas and think tough noogies if it bothers them.

I guess in a nutshell I choose the words I do, out of respect and not fear. I just try and be considerate, I'm not worried about someone with a loose screw being offended.
post #6 of 28
Well, when it's someone I know, I try to be aware of when their holidays are and use an appropriate greeting. A friend of mine in Boston is Jewish, for example, and I try to actually tell her Happy Chanukah or Good Purim or whatever. But I probably know what my friends believe and I can't tell from looking what people's religion is. It might be ethno-centric to greet them based on my practice, but if I say "Merry Christmas" to a Moslem, why can't she reply "Eid Mubarak"? Doesn't bother me.

I do think it's different in my private life than it would be if I was representing a company. If I individually offend one person, that's not such a big deal. If I offend several people and it reflects badly on my company, that's gonna come home to roost.
post #7 of 28
I think it depends on individual people and what they consider acceptable. You should be respectful and act accordingly when you do know someone who doesn't share the Christian beliefs about Christmas. When personal religious beliefs are unknown, Merry Christmas could probably be considered a general festive greeting.
post #8 of 28

I say Merry Christmas, because it's a beautiful thing when in my belief that Christ my Saviour was born. This is my belief and to many others I know, I don't live in a very cosmopolitan area where I have to wonder if it's going to be taken the wrong way...I don't think any reasonable person's going to go off if they don't have the same religious beliefs I do. I've sent out Happy Hanukkah cards with no problem while still receiving Christmas cards from my Jewish friends! :laughing2 So, I guess it's all in how relaxed the area you're from. I certainly would never mean to disrespect anyone. If they take it that way, than that's on them.

post #9 of 28
Thread Starter 
You make me feel a lot better. Let me tell you why I posted this poll. There's a current debate site on another board that I like to lurk in. I personally think a lot of those people have gone off the deep end, but someone posted something yesterday that I just had to respond to. This lady posted an article from her school district saying that the school superintendent was making it against the rules for teachers and other school workers to wish anyone a Merry Christmas. They would have to say happy holidays instead. Now, this school superintendent saw nothing wrong with saying Happy Hannukah (sp?) or anything else for other religions, just not Merry Christmas because it "promoting Christianity." So, the lady that posted it was concerned because it's her school district.

Well, the other posters on the board were giving her a very hard time saying that she needed to lighten up. So I came out of lurkdom and posted that I think it's my right to be able to say "Merry Christmas" and I've been getting pretty upset lately with so many "politically correct" people saying that Christianity is so offensive. I also mentioned that I have no problem with people saying happy holidays or anything else that their religion warrents. It's just that Christmas is the time of year that I celebrate the birth of Christ, and that's why I want to say Merry Christmas. I also have no problem saying Happy Hannukah to Jewish people, but generally speaking, unless I know someone is another religion, I say Merry Christmas. I was very careful in my post to not be rude or obnoxious. I just wanted to put in my 2 cents.

Well, I got slammed up and down for being rude, inconsiderate, unintelligent, unfeeling, and even unChristian for saying that I want to say Merry Christmas because I'm celebrating the birth of my Lord. Even when I tried to explain my ideas more, it just got worse. So I went away feeling pretty shell-shocked, and I wanted to see if I'm so out of line to warrant this reaction.

You have made me feel alot better, so thank you!!!
post #10 of 28
I'm with AP. I stick with Happy Holidays at school, or even a more generic Have a Good Vacation. I have gotten a lot of flack from Jehovah's Witness parents in the past, and we teachers all become masters at avoiding specific holiday activities or disguising them as generic activities. If you pass out a cupcake with Santa on it, 6 kids have to get up and leave the room. So you try to do stuff that all can participate in.
post #11 of 28

I just say Happy Holidays. Cat is right when she says that if people have a problem with anyone wishing them a Merry Christmas or whatever, that is THEIR issue, not yours. There is absolutely nothing wrong with trying to be cordial to people. And if they are offended, too bad.

Happy holidays everyone!
post #12 of 28
I try to cater my greeting to the person I am talking to. I generally say Merry Christmas or happy holidays. The occasional happy HO HO. I think people appreciate the sentiment
post #13 of 28
That's the whole point. I grew up and went to school with kids from all faiths. My best friends were jewish and I spent as much time in their house as they did mine. The Kashetskys loved all us kids and we thought the world of them. Religion was never something we thought about. We were all very interested in the Jewish celebrations and were told whatever we wanted to know. The elder Mrs Kashetsky was Gram to all of us and she fussed over and spoiled us all rotten. Max K owned a large antique store that was loaded with decorations every Christmas and he was very proud the year he won first prize for commercial display.We were all known collectively as Max's kids around there.

We concentrated on enjoying each other..whatever "differences' there were was unimportant. We and our collective families would have been horrified if it were suggested that someone didn't "fit".

This whole mealy-mouthed "political correctness"is a recent phenomena which,while originally having a point,has been made rediculous by people who know nothing about other folks.

I can see your point AP about business dealings,etc. where you are dealing with a wide variety of people you wouldn't know real well. But I would like you to ask one of these folks if he/she is offended by being wished a Merry Christmas. I'm willing to bet they are a lot less 'fragile' about it than you think. what you feel comfortable with,but allow me the right to be myself and not a "correct" clone.
post #14 of 28
This is intersting to me - as I attend meeting at the local Kingdom Hall and have chosen not to celebrate Christmas as such. Many of my friends know this, and still wish me Merry Christmas - I enjoy their concern and appreciate their festive moods. It was difficult to 'give up Christmas' as such - but we do 'winter day' and my son goes back to school with many new gifts and clothes. Difference is what makes us special and interesting individuals. So happy 'Winter Day to all"
With repsect and love
Deb Myers
post #15 of 28
I voted for "No, it's not rude, just festive." I think it's also nice to say it to someone, regardless. Happy Holidays is a nice thing to say, too, but I like to say Merry Christmas!
post #16 of 28
I know I've come on a little strong on this question. But let me explain something. I was raised to know Jesus was a symbol of love for everyone. When we said Merry Christmas to someone it was NOT saying my faith is better than yours. It WAS saying "This is a season of renewed LOVE for me and my family. I want you to be a part of that family and partake in that love."

All the people I grew up with knew that meaning and respected it. I would draw the same message if someone of another faith greeted me with a salutation of their religion. Happy holidays to me is an impersonal,throw-away thing that says "I dont care about you,I just want to look polite." It's what the CEO would say to the mail boy.
Merry Christmas has hundreds of years of SOUL in it's expression.

The political bunch is trying to turn something BEAUTIFUL in it's true meaning into something shabby and I RESENT THE HELL OUT OF THAT!!! I don't hear them admonishing other faiths that their expressions might be offensive.

So I will end by wishing one and all a TRUE Merry Christmas in it's REAL sense and may God bless you with Peace and Joy in your life.
post #17 of 28

Hi Wayne :angel2:
I totally understand where you're coming from; honestly, I never thought about it, but it does make me think about it now!

Well, my wishes still remain as yours, to wish all a very Merry Christmas regardless of what is or isn't politically correct. :angel2:

Love & Hugs,
post #18 of 28
Christmas is as much about Christianity as the Electoral College is about democracy in the U.S.A. Christmas is a rip-off of the pre-Christian winter-solstice celebrations. And, its chief reason for existing in our culture today has all to do with making money and little to do with observing the birth of Jesus (since nobody knows what time of year he was born anyway).

So, I think saying "Merry Christmas" is as innocuous (and as genial) as saying "Have a good weekend." If I visited Pakistan, where a friend of mine lives, I wouldn't be offended if somebody said "Have a nice Eid." Nor would I fall into splenetic paroxysms should I visit Israel and somebody were to wish me a happy Chanukah/Hanukkah. We're often admonished to be considerate of other cultures when visiting foreign nations. If you're living in a culture which observes Christmas, you deal with it!


post #19 of 28
You've made a very good point. The idea of celebrating this time of year does originate in the Pagan celebrations of Winter Solstice. Since then it has become a symbolic time to observe the birth of Jesus, but its extremely doubtful he was actually born at this time of year. I think of Merry Christmas as a pretty general term and I don't attach any religious meaning to the phrase in and of itself. If people really want to get techinical and correct about it, they should be saying 'Happy Winter Solstice',since thats where it all began. I do wholeheartedly agree that people need to lighten up and take the phrase for what its meant..a wish of happiness and peace during this time of year.
post #20 of 28
Thread Starter 
Kittyfoot - I truly understand your frustration! Let me just say first off that I have absolutely no problem with people saying Happy Hannakah or whatever to me, and if I knew a person was Jewish, this is what I would say to them. What's very frustrating to me is that so many people (thankfully not on this board) expect Christians to alter their greeting, but have no problem with other religious greetings. An example of this is the elementary school in my mom and dad's town. They live in Lakeway, with is a suburb of Austin, which is very liberal. So anyway, the local elementary school recently had a Happy Hannakah greeting on their street sign. However, now that it's Christmas time, they have Happy Holidays, rather than Merry Christmas. If a public school, where there's supposedly separation of church and state, can say Happy Hannakah, why can't they say Merry Christmas? And if they want to include the New Year holiday, why can't they simply say Merry Christmas and Happy New Year?

So that's what typically bothers me. Other religions have complete right to say what they want (which is the way it should be I think), but so many people expect Christians to diguise their religious beliefs in compromising words.

Off my soapbox now. I have to go clean the house...
post #21 of 28
I agree that there seems to be a sort of prejudice that only Christianity is a religion. Perhaps people understand on some deep level that Jesus and God are unique and really do belong in a different category from Buddha or a guru? Although it is the only holiday that mentions the name of the religious figure involved. I mean, there is no Moses Day, or perhaps we just aren't as offended if a holiday is named in a foreign language, probably because we don't understand it.

Even though there are more and more people practicing other beliefs, most Americans are still some form of Christian. We have a majority culture that is forced to deny itself in deference to assorted minorities. There is a lot of that in American politics these days. Now maybe there needed to be some changes to achieve parity, but we have just about managed a 180 on this. I wonder what happens when the majority decides they won't take it any more? Is it still a revolution when the people who supposedly have all the advantages are the ones who do it?

I will say though, I want my government to either acknowledge everyone's religions or nobody's. "Happy Holidays" for the month, or change the sign as required. Of course, Chanukah came at a slightly different time this year. Solstice and I think Yule were the 21, Christmas is the 25, Kwanzaa starts the 26, New Year's on the 1st. That's a lot to put on one sign for school break. Probably someone got lazy and went for the sort message.

I understand the best guess is that Jesus was born some time in the spring. Apparently the shepherds were most likely to be hanging out on the slopes together during lambing season. Otherwise, there was probably only a youngish child out there in case of disaster. The symbolism of Jesus being born at this time is a little more complex.

Most pagan religions celebrate the Solstice, which is the day of the year with the longest night and shortest day. They usually have both a god and a goddess. The goddess tends to symbolize something eternal that gives life (birth). The god is different between traditions, but in cultures where the god was associated with the sky or the sun, this is the time of year when he is born. That is, this is when light returns to the world. So there were already lots of people celebrating pagan holidays at this time, and the church needed to compete with that. Of course in it's earliest form Christmas really was a Christ Mass, but it reminded Christians who they were and gave recent converts something to do on a day they were used to celebrating already. Not to mention that in an agrarian culture, there isn't much to do in the winter, compared to spring planting or fall harvest, so there is time and opportunity for observing holidays.

I also understand that the Romans had 2 festivals around the new year that relate to Christmas. One was Juvenalia or the feast of youth. People gave presents to the children or youngest people in the family. I forget the name of the other, but it was essentially the same thing for elders. They were paired to represent the old year and the new year. So when we talk about secular Christmas and Santa Claus being for the children, we're not far off from some of the roots.

So the early church adapted local customs to its own purpose and added a Christian gloss to many holidays people celebrated anyway. These days we have grown up with the theological reasoning behind these observances and our culture no longer keeps the old holidays, so we don't even think of it.
post #22 of 28
I was going to post my thoughts on this subject but after reading your first post.
You said it all!!! If people want to say "Happy Holidays" then that's fine for them but no one should knock another person for saying Merry Christmas...and by the way.

post #23 of 28

Merry Christmas, my dear friend Loretta!!!

post #24 of 28
Yes, I agree w/ Kittyfoot and Loretta. If some people want to say Happy Holidays that is fine. But I still say Merry Christmas more often than not it seems. I've never been accused of being "disrespectful" as of yet.......lets hope it doesn't come to that.

So Merry Christmas KF, Loretta, Cat, and the rest of the board members!!!
post #25 of 28

post #26 of 28
I don't mind when people wish me Merry Christmas in their emails and I usually wish it back

There are not many Christians living in Israel. Roughly 85% of the population is Jewish and 15% is Moslim. However, in a rare coincidence I have two Christian sisters-in-law (Hubby's brother's partner and my brother's wife). In Hebrew we never say Happy Chanuka anyway. It's the same greeting for all holidays and it's basically "Happy Holidays" for all Jewish holidays. So saying "Happy Christmas" in Hebrew sounds weird, just like saying "Happy Chanuka" sounds weird. If I greet my sisters-in-law in Hebrew I use the standard "Happy Holidays" and if I happen to be talking to them in English (they're both English who also speak Hebrew), I use "Merry Christmas". It's just what comes naturally in the langauge for me.

We're secular Jews so we don't usually celebrate the Jewish holidays as such, unless we're invited to some family event where there are kids and then we join the proper celebration. It so happens that in the past 3 years we are invited over to celebrate Christmas with one of the in-laws We're happy to join in and celebrate with them and have no problem with it. This year we're going to Hubby's brother's house and we're bringing this big chocolate Santa


to all of you who celebrate it!


to everyone else!
post #27 of 28
Thank you! And the same to you!

post #28 of 28

Ahhhhh...what a beautiful Christmas eve I spent with my brother and our family!

Thanks Anne! It's now just 12:04 am...Merry Christmas! I'll have to post some pics of the kids! They're gorgeous and made it all so complete :angel2:

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