Sound Off: Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas?

Should "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays" be the official greeting of the season?

It's a debate that now seems to arise every year around this time: Should people use the term "Merry Christmas" or something more generic such as "Happy Holidays" or "Season's Greetings"?

The so-called "War on Christmas" has rallied conservatives in recent years who say people who insist on "Happy Holidays" in light of a variety religious holidays this season are being too politically correct. 

“Christmas became a dirty word,” Mount Sinai resident Candace Donin at a packed meeting Tuesday night as residents there voiced their concerns about the naming of an annual “Holiday tree” lighting, according to an article on Port Jefferson Patch.

A poll taken last year showed Americans were split on the issue, with 44 percent in favor, and 49 percent opposed, on whether retailers should use the generic holiday greetings out of respect for people of different faiths.

What's your take? Should "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays" be the official greeting of the season? Is there really a "War on Christmas" or has the media blown the issue out of proportion? Vote in the poll below and share your thoughts in the comments.

PNC December 02, 2011 at 04:49 PM
So true Linda everyone always wants to change the good ole fashion traditions, they can try, doesn't mean they will ever change anyone's mind or tell them what "they have to say." Going back and forth on this subject is ridiculous,Ada you're right we're all from different countries, different parts of the world and we all need to understand that how ever we all choose to celebrate and what we choose to say quite honestly is "our own business". I have plenty of Jewish friends and enjoy their Chanukah traditions as well, and they have no problem wishing me a Merry Christmas! Linda is right, everyone just take a happy pill and enjoy this happy time of the year!!!
johnny December 02, 2011 at 05:14 PM
christmas has been around for thousands of years and in the united states During Reformation and up until the middle of the 1800s, Christmas was often not celebrated because partying and merry making was seen as unchristian. From about 1840, celebrating Christmas became more widespread. December 25 was declared a federal holiday in the United States in 1870. Since then Christmas Day has become a steadily more important holiday.We should not have to change our saying because of other religon it was here way befor other religon or ethnic backrounds started coming here. By the way MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!
Ada Mam-Pey December 02, 2011 at 05:44 PM
lol oh boy read your rude comment to me and then write about happy pills. enjoy your holidays!
Ada Mam-Pey December 02, 2011 at 05:48 PM
johnny Lol you do know chrstianity started from Judiasm right?? of course to you christmas is a "more important holiday." you do have to change your saying if it means making it official! wishing people merry xmas is diff than making something official. I would like to see if someone tried making happy hanukkah an official saying. Then we will talk!
Deborah F (Nesconset) December 02, 2011 at 06:03 PM
I agree with Happy Holidays. My children were always offended that everywhere we go, there are Merry Christmas signs and decorations and no mention of Hannukah. They want to feel as if their holiday is full of good spirits from everyone too.
Theresa Margaret December 02, 2011 at 08:18 PM
Ada, Happy Hanukkah will not be an official saying until it is a federal holiday. It has nothing to do with "more important". Rather, it has everything to do with Christmas being so ingrained in our culture. Even the stock market, banks, schools, businesses, etc. celebrate it by closing.
Theresa Margaret December 02, 2011 at 08:29 PM
Ok, if this comes up twice.. sorry. Anyway, I was saying that people need to calm down. The bottom line is that CHRISTMAS is a federal holiday. So there is nothing wrong with saying Merry Christmas to its citizens. If I say Merry Christmas to someone as a gesture of friendliness, and they don't celebrate it, they are more than welcome to say another greeting back. Also, Christmas has its roots in the Pagan holiday Yule. That is a well known fact. The holly and ivy, the Christmas tree, the yule log, etc. are all pagan. However, when you think about it, if the early church didn't adopt these customs and the holiday, (as it also did with Ostara (Easter) and Samhain (Halloween) then those traditions and holidays would have fallen into obscurity the way Litha, Lughnassadh and Mabon did. So, I guess we can truly say Jesus IS the reason for this season!
Theresa Margaret December 02, 2011 at 08:34 PM
Ada is missing the point that Merry Christmas IS official. It's a FEDERAL HOLIDAY. Everything is closed for CHRISTMAS, banks, schools, the stock exchange, etc. The government even celebrates it!
Linda December 02, 2011 at 11:01 PM
Joseph LoSchiavo December 03, 2011 at 04:43 AM
Good points one and all...again here is my 2¢(probably worth a penny these days), I believe those of the Christian faith, with no reservation should greet with "Merry Christmas". For us Christ should be kept in Christmas, For our friends of the Jewish faith, they should feel free to use the greeting Happy Haunakkah. There does appear to be a covert op to lessen Christmas .ie, Xmas, crossing Christ out of Christmas... Howerver this is entirely indicative of a greater problem: Lack of Truth in the reason for these Holy days(holidays). Need proof. How many people line up Thanksgiving eve at 12 pm to welcome in the blessed event of black friday, the joyous kickoff this holiday season. Crazy huh? How many folks push through the malls for thier holiday shopping on that special religous day known Shopping Day. My point is that a little more greatfullness and thought should go into the reason behind these holy days. For all those who say tradition is being lost, I would say that tradition is empty without the true meaning behind it. ....Now I've got to sign off, my flyer containing all the mall sales just came...gotta go beat the crowds.....
Tre December 03, 2011 at 01:20 PM
First off it is twelve days of Christmas not two!!! This is our biggest celebration. All other religions celebrate like crazy. We have good Friday Easter and Christmas period!! And Christmas is the biggest for christians and that is also the biggest for companies. Christians spend the most right now so yes the stores should be geared to where their profits are. I def respect and wish everyone happy holiday when their holidays arrive and isn't the biggest Jewish holiday in sept it is not chaukah!!
Suzanne December 03, 2011 at 02:22 PM
I think a Christmas tree shouldn't be called a holiday tree and a menorah shouldn't be called a holiday candle stick. It's offensive to both religions. Greet people however you seem fit with a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays or Seasons Greetings. Unfortunately, there are worse things we can say to each other. We do however, have to stop changing names of sacred religious titems to be politicaly correct. So, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!
Ada Mam-Pey December 03, 2011 at 07:02 PM
Theresa Im not missing anything. yes the holiday sure is official but the the greeting is not and never will be an official greeting for december. noone was arguing that the holiday itself isnt official lol.
Ada Mam-Pey December 03, 2011 at 07:08 PM
lol well said!!
Ada Mam-Pey December 03, 2011 at 07:11 PM
actually rosh hashana which you are referring is our new year just like there is the secular new yr. Hanukkah is just as special to us. Who in the world is anyone to tell other religions whats their important holiday is in the first place!
Barbara Dullaghan December 04, 2011 at 07:30 AM
Yeshua was a Jew and celebrated The Festival of Lights known as Hanukah. John 10:22. He was born around the Hebrew month of Tishri. Tishri 15 to be exact. This is during the festival of Succote which means in Hebrew "To dwell among us". It is during our months of Sept- Oct. Just the meaning of the festival is more reason to believe he was born at this time then Christmas. There were more than three wise men who came to see him. The church dictates three because only three gifts were mentioned. The shephards would not have been in the fields during winter. Christmas is a pagan holiday. Just read any book about the holiday itself.
Irene December 04, 2011 at 01:14 PM
Pagan holiday is an insult. So you just insulted people of the Christian faith. I am not a heathen, I give to charity and work as a volunteer for many causes among many things my Christianity teaches. Christians don't talk the talk they walk the walk. The church is the very essence of generosity and the outpouring of good. At Christmas time more than any other time Christians are alive with the spirit of giving and good works and good deeds. The beauty of Christmas and the solemnity of Christmas are the driving spirit of the season. Christmas time has a certain warmth that each person seems to radiate with and people do get down to basics and what's important and most of all helping thy fellow man.
Irene December 04, 2011 at 01:20 PM
In fact, our country is faced with a great opportunity this Christmas season, a blessing if you will. To reach out where there is a real need and bring the light and the spirit of Christmas to anothers heart, the hearts of those who are worried about being without a job this year, or without enough this year, it's a blessing alright to struggle a little, to get back to basics a little, it's a time to do some inner soul searching and be quiet and listen to your own spirit tell you what is really really important. Quiet your spirit, focus on giving, focus on the simple and you will be at peace, bring peace, and most of all find the way back to the truth about life. Corporal works of mercy, the seven practices of charity toward they neighbor.
Theresa Margaret December 04, 2011 at 04:30 PM
Actually the Bible doesn't say three wise men. It just says "wise men" so we have no idea how many there were. And I think it's common knowledge that Jesus was Jewish. Whether he was born in Nisan or Tishri or Kislev, it doesn't matter. As I said above, Jesus actually IS the reason for the season because the church adopted Yule as the time to celebrate Jesus' birth. Yule is the pagan holiday where the god is born again, the turn from darkness to light as the days now begin to grow longer. As we know the OT mentions how the people walking in darkness have seen a great light.. a perfect time to celebrate Jesus' birth. Without the church, Yule would have fallen into obscurity and probably not been celebrated at all except for those that continued to follow the old ways. What we celebrate as Christmas may have begun as Yule, but it has evolved into something different.
TedR December 05, 2011 at 03:38 PM
Of course there is nothing wrong in saying merry Christmas to someone. I don’t believe there is anything wrong with saying happy holidays to anyone either. Or wishing someone of another faith a happy whatever name their holiday is. No matter what way we say it, we are offering people a hope that they, their families and friends will experience the peace and joy of the season. If we meet someone who we do not know what their faith, I don't think it is wrong to offer them a wish of "happy holidays". (Which by the way, can also include the New Year) At heart we each share the hopes and dreams of all Americans and the peoples of all countries, that of health, happiness, and prosperity……..(Pretty sappy, huh) What is a shame is the anger I hear and even the hate and prejudice being spoken by people about such a trivial thing as wishing someone a Merry Christmas or a Happy Holiday. Lastly, (begin rant) when typing in all capital letters it is considered YELLING by many. People should STOP YELLING at each other, especially this time of year. I find it very rude, hard to have a civil discussion or to take someone seriously when someone is YELLING at me. (end rant)
KC December 05, 2011 at 06:12 PM
Merry Christmas! and may God bless you all.
Shana Braff December 05, 2011 at 06:50 PM
As someone who comes from a mixed denominational family, and grew up having both a Christmas tree and a menorah (and a very festive season), I'd like to wish everyone a Happy Chrismukkah!
Theresa Margaret December 06, 2011 at 11:26 AM
True! But I think people are just very frustrated that their "right" to say "Merry Christmas" is slowly getting squeezed out. Some people in the Land of the Free are losing some freedoms. I agree it's sad that this is such an argument, But people want to hold on to their liberties.
Theresa Margaret December 06, 2011 at 11:26 AM
Theresa Margaret December 06, 2011 at 12:43 PM
Thanksgiving is an official holiday, we say "Happy Thanksgiving." Christmas is an official holiday, why NOT say "Merry Christmas?" I have no problem with someone saying "Happy Hanukkah" or "Merry Yule" or "Shana Tova" or "Happy Kwanzaa" or "Habari Gani" etc. The issue here is tolerance. In fact, if more people greeted each other with their holiday greetings it would be chance to explain their celebrations if the other person asks. Sometimes understanding is the basis of tolerance.
johnny December 07, 2011 at 02:26 PM
Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ,[5][6] celebrated generally on December 25[2][3][4] as a religious and cultural holiday by billions of people around the world. A feast central to the Christian liturgical year, it closes the Advent season and initiates the twelve days of Christmastide.[7] In many of the world's nations Christmas is a civil holiday,[8][9][10] is celebrated by an increasing number of non-Christians,[1][11][12] and is an integral part of the Christmas and holiday season.
johnny December 07, 2011 at 02:26 PM
The precise day of Jesus’ birth, which historians place between 7 and 2 BC, is unknown. In the early-to-mid 4th century, the Western Christian Church first placed Christmas on December 25, a date later adopted also in the East.[13][14] Theories advanced to explain that choice include that it falls exactly nine months after the Christian celebration of the conception of Jesus,[15] or that it was selected to coincide with either the date of the Roman winter solstice[16] or of some ancient winter festival.[15][17] The original date of the celebration in Eastern Christianity was January 6, in connection with Epiphany, and that is still the date of the celebration for the Armenian Apostolic Church and in Armenia, where it is a public holiday. As of 2011, there is a difference of 13 days between the Julian calendar and the more generally used Gregorian calendar. Those who use the Julian calendar or its equivalents thus celebrate December 25 and January 6 on what for the majority of people is January 7 and January 19. For this reason, Ethiopia celebrates Christmas, both as a Christian feast and as a public holiday on what in the Gregorian calendar is January 7.[18]
johnny December 07, 2011 at 02:26 PM
Many of the popular celebratory customs associated in various countries with Christmas have pre-Christian or secular themes and origins. Popular modern customs of the holiday include gift-giving, music, an exchange of Christmas cards, church celebrations, a special meal, and the display of various decorations; including Christmas trees, lights, garlands, mistletoe, nativity scenes, and holly. In addition, several figures, known as Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas, and Santa Claus, among other names, are associated with bringing gifts to children during the Christmas season.[19] Because gift-giving and many other aspects of the Christmas festival involve heightened economic activity among both Christians and non-Christians, the holiday has become a significant event and a key sales period for retailers and businesses. The economic impact of Christmas is a factor that has grown steadily over the past few centuries in many regions of the world.
Linda December 08, 2011 at 07:51 PM
Brandy wohaooo nice talk re a Christmas discussion. You need to take a chill and you get a clue that people can disagree about OPINIONS with out anyone getting completely insulting over in and very inappropriate!!
Daniel December 08, 2011 at 10:48 PM
Dear Parents, Can anyone explain the absence of Christmas or Chanukah decorations in Paumonauk? Is this district wide? In this country, 91 percent of us celebrate these two holidays. Yet, they are being ignored. While I do understand that some may not celebrate either, why is it that tolerance only seems to be flowing in one direction? These two faiths make up the very fabric of our founding. It is in both religions that we have survived and we have thrived for so long. It's principles, are what make us Americans. It keeps us strong and keeps us united in our families and communities. America is great because America is good. Help me to get this out. Remember, We, are the clients. The schooling of our children is the service we are paying for. Both holidays should be recognized district wide. Let's restore America to what she once was. Let's continue to teach our children what Lincoln taught us, " With Charity towards all, and Malice toward none."


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