A Politically Correct Christmas

on Dec 03, 2009 @ 01:33 pm

So yet another email arrives in my inbox this morning, sharing the news of yet another local government's initiative to remove "Christmas" from the season in favour of "Holiday". While I didn't forward the email to 20 of my friends as the request demanded (not because of the subject matter; I never forward anything), I was still a little annoyed, because to me Christmas is Christmas, no matter what you try to call it.

I understand and respect the fact that many do not view the upcoming holidays in a religious way, or if they do it's not necessarily in a Christian context. I don't have an issue with someone wishing me "Happy Holidays", though I know it rankles others.

My question is simply (and yes, this is controversial, I know):

If you are not a Christian, does it offend you to be wished a Merry Christmas, see Nativity Scenes, or hear traditional carols with a Christian theme (Joy to the World, Silent Night, etc)? Does it make you "feel better" to remove all religious themes from the season (and of course we must include other faiths' traditions in that)?

As a person of another faith, does it offend you to be wished a Merry Christmas, or to see/hear Christian themes during the season?

Or do you say "Hey! Christmas is Christmas, with the Baby Jesus in it or not!"

Do we all just have our panties in a knot and should get over ourselves? Or is this very important to you?

Feel free to answer anonymously! But please keep your responses respectful, as per the rules of this forum ;)

11 Replies

Ali de Bold
Good discussion on Dec 03, 2009 @ 02:47 pm

I still wish people a Merry Christmas because that's what it is. The part that doesn't make sense to me is that there are plenty of other religious holidays that don't need to get their name changed for politically correct reasons.

I think Christmas gets controversy because it is a North American wide holiday. It's not like we all get Yom Kippur off or other religious holidays. Still I don't think that means the name should be changed. What should we call Easter then? Happy Bunny Day?

It doesn't bother me if people say Happy Holidays, I just don't want to be told we can't say Merry Christmas.

That's my 2 cents ;)

Happy Holidays on Dec 03, 2009 @ 10:06 pm

If I don't know the person, I'll say Happy Holidays. But if I know that person, then I'll say Merry Christmas.

I think by saying Happy Holidays, I'm not rubbing my holiday in their faces if they don't celebrate Christmas. However, Christmas will always be Christmas to me. I choose to celebrate this holiday with my friends and family. Just as other people can choose not to celebrate this holiday. Just as others who can choose to celebrate special holidays that are particular to their religion or race.

Take Chinese New Year for example. You probably won't hear anyone complaining about Chinese people celebrating their new year and wish everyone (including non-Chinese) a prosperous year to come. So if Chinese people are allowed to celebrate their holidays in the public, then why can't Christians do the same?

I think the madness of Christmas is a byproduct of Christianity's domination the Western societies. We have years and decades to create this magical holiday. Christians have been celebrating this holiday for centuries whereas the time in which we embrace multiculturalism is short in comparison. So it's no surprised that Christmas is so dominant compared to other religious holidays. I believe other religious holidays (or traditional holidays) will be more and more celebrated and in time, our holidays will all be equal.

Happy Winter...? on Dec 03, 2009 @ 10:43 pm

I like Christmas. But I won't say "Merry Christmas" to people who I know don't celebrate it... or to strangers. People who don't celebrate it can get really offended, so I stay away from saying it to people I don't know too well just in case. When people say Merry Christmas to me... it sounds so much more special than Happy Holiday. That's probably because I celebrate it ;)

I agree with BB and MissChickie here! Christmas is "Christmas", and shouldn't be changed to "holiday". But I still say "Happy Holidays" to people. I know there's a bit of a contradiction here... but I'm always afraid of saying the wrong thing to the person and then feeling embarrassed after.

culture on Dec 06, 2009 @ 08:27 pm

For what its worth, I am not religious. However, I do celebrate Christmas. I certainly do not observe the Christian aspect of Christmas, but I do celebrate Christmas in the cultural sense. It is impossible to deny the stronghold that Christmas has on North American culture. I get in the mood. I buy gifts. I receive gifts. I wish people Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays equally, w/o even really thinking. So even though I'm not religious, I do not take offense to "Merry Christmas" probably b/c I do not have any particular allegiance to a faith.

Miss K
PC on Dec 08, 2009 @ 05:58 pm

I'm not Christian and don't celebrate Christmas, but that's what we grew up with, we've been socialized this way and there's no reason to take it away from us. Are we going to stop watching all the movies that have been made and putting up trees? Doubt it! I like that nowadays I can walk into Hallmark or Carlton Cards or even a dollar store and it will have cards and decorations for all the holidays of the season.
You could argue that Christmas is a religious holiday and since religion is separate from the state, holidays should be too, but looking at the season these days, there's very little Christian about it.

At work, I just say Cheers! and everyone can take it to mean what they wish. It's neutral and still means the same.

On this note, Season's Greetings Chickies!

good points! on Dec 09, 2009 @ 08:39 am

You chicks are definitely at describing this X'mas thing. I think you
are all correct in saying that Christmas is just a holiday, a time to
spend with your family and friends. Many non-Christians celebrate
Christmas for that reason and that reason only. Many Christians,
including myself, see Christmas as more a big don't-have-to-work kind
of holiday rather than a religious holiday.

To be perfectly honest, the best things about Christmas are the food
and the presents. :P It's childish, but I'll wholesomely admit it!!

Christmas is Christmas on Dec 09, 2009 @ 06:43 pm

I will say Merry Christmas to people without really thinking about it because to me it is not like rubbing a what could be seen as a religious holiday in someone's face, Christmas is just called Christmas! If I were not Christian, I wouldn't take offence to someone saying Merry Christmas because it is a greeting and meant to be a good thing, no one says Merry Christmas to be mean...it would be like getting angry at the way someone says hello to you. Having said that, if someone got that offended at a Merry Christmas from me, then I would make a mental note to leave out the greeting next time I guess.

I agree with Bubblybunny's comments on Chinese New Year above, I never get offended when someone wishes me a Happy Chinese New Year because it is meant as a greeting and a good thing, even though I am not Chinese.

On my end, my favourite part about Christmas is the 'togetherness and warmth' that comes with people making the effort to spend time with the ones they love etc. The presents and food are obviously an added bonus!! ;)


make-up junkie
I say both... on Dec 16, 2009 @ 03:45 pm

I don't really think about it when I'm saying it - just say whatever comes to my mind. To me, Christmas is just Christmas and I don't think people should be offended either way with Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas. Like many of you have said, it's not meant to be negative. It's a special holiday like so many other ones we celebrate. Whether you celebrate for religious reasons or not, we should all be able to celebrate however we want and call it what we want.

They actually touched on this on an episode of The View I think. If you believe in Christmas you greet others with "Merry Christmas" and if the other person is say Jewish they will respond with "Happy Hanukkah". Done. No one gets offended - we're all expressing our beliefs or whatever.

For me, it's about being with the ones you love - and eating - a lot!


i love this season on Dec 23, 2009 @ 02:34 pm

I live in Canada and am not Christian, but I really do love this season. I love seeing everyone happier, friendlier, I love the decorations and just the general warmth of the season. I am happy just seeing others be more cheerful, considerate, loving, etc. I don't really think too much about it, don't really delve into how its a religious holiday, etc. and even if i do it doesn't bother me, because i'm happy that my christian friends are enjoying their religious holiday. I enjoy the "season" and all that it entails.

Not saying canada is a christian country, but we feel Xmas much than say Hannukah or Eid.... if I lived in a muslim country, the season would be Eid time, if I lived in a Jewish country the season would be Hannukah, etc.

I like seeing everyone happy, regardless of the title that goes behind it. I have no problem wishing someone a merry christmas - i may not celebrate it but i also wish people "happy birthday" when i don't necessarily celebrate their birthday either... wishing someone a "happy" something is just wishing that they enjoy themselves in their special time. i don't think wishing someone happiness demeans my own beliefs, religion or religious holiday in any way at all.

Oh and i absolutely ADORE how work slows down to a crawl in this season! ;-) hehe


Merry Christmas, chickies! on Dec 24, 2009 @ 12:44 pm

I'm glad to see you all are totally cool with being wished a Merry Christmas, despite your diverse backgrounds! As someone for whom Christmas does have a significant meaning, it is unfair in my humble opinion that many in society expect us to pretend that Christmas is only about Santa and reindeer - as though we should be embarrassed of our beliefs which goes against the grain of most faiths. Yes, yuletide or whatever was originally a pagan festival that the Christian church revamped into the Christ Mass hundreds of years ago... but since then it has always been associated with faith-based celebrations, as Becky mentioned.

I certainly don't wish to offend, but frankly it offends me when someone wants to deny my right to celebrate the "reason for the season". I have no problem with someone celebrating Chanukah or Eid, and so the same should apply for everyone else. I love also what Makeup Junkie said about simply responding according to what you are celebrating in this season!

Just because Canada and the US were at one point dominated by Christians (and in many cities/regions, that is certainly still true) and by consequence we adopted many Christian celebrations into the secular calendar, doesn't mean that the gradual secularization of society should deny those for whom those holidays are still "holy days" the right to celebrate and in good faith wish those around them well in the spirit of the season.

In the words of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, "tidings of comfort and joy" to you all, regardless of your background!

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